Play high-definition videos from your camcorder
Backside connections include an HDMI v1.3 output; coaxial and 50Mbps optical digital audio outputs; component, S-video and stereo phonos; and a six-pack of analogue audio outputs for routing high-res surround tracks to a receiver with matching inputs (required if you don’t have a receiver with HDMI v1.3 input).
The BD30 even sports an SD card slot able to display high-resolution digital still images, as well as HD video shot in AVCHD format from a high-def camcorder.
An SD card can also be used with so-called Virtual Package-enabled BD discs. This is where a BD copies data to local storage, so that it can stream both the copied data and on-disc data simultaneously.
We’ve yet to see an application that uses this, but BD30 owners will find it worth investing in an SD card specifically for the player. This is formatted within the deck and should be left in situ (only swap it out when you want to playback digital images or movies).
Although most will rightly focus on the player’s HD playback capabilities, this is actually a very capable CD player as well, offering a high level of sonic integrity.
In our Labs we measured just 91.1ps of audio jitter; an audiophile-grade performance when it comes to stability. The player utilises a 192kHz 24bit DAC and sports Panasonic’s proprietary Remastering audio algorithm.
Introduced for CD playback, and now tweaked for use with both DVD and Blu-ray, Remastering restores lost high-frequency detail.
The Blu-ray revolution starts here
Overall, the Panasonic DMP-BD30 is an outstanding piece of HD equipment.
In the past, I’ve withheld Best Buy recommendations to first-gen Blu-ray hardware because it was clear those machines were heading for early retirement. This player is much more like the real deal. Its audio-visual performance is as huge as its dimensions are slim.
Visually, there’s nothing to beat it at present and to finally get a Profile 1.1 machine out in the UK is a major relief.
The only question mark hanging over the player is whether to buy now, or wait for the updated Panasonic BD50 (or similar), which adds Ethernet and online interactivity.
For what it’s worth, none of the BD Live applications shown to date are particularly compelling, so you may not feel inclined to wait. The real Blu-ray revolution begins here.