Panasonic DMP-BD75 Blu-ray Player Review
The era of sub-$100 Blu-ray players is upon us. For $89 on Amazon, the DMP-BD75 from Panasonic has Internet streaming and just about all the basic features you’d want from a Blu-ray player.
Is it any good? We take a look.
The first takeaway from the DMP-BD75 is how small it is, at less than an inch-and-a-half tall and just over 7-inches deep. On the back are the barest of connections: HDMI, composite/analog stereo, and Ethernet. On the front is a USB connection for playback of images and video from flash drives. The lack of component video outputs isn’t surprising, now that the analog hole is closed. The lack of an optical or coaxial digital output for audio is interesting, though I guess forgiven considering the player’s price.
Setup is fast and easy, and it drops you into the new and stylish main menu. There was a reminder on screen to check for new firmware. My version was 1.07 and it upgraded to 1.19.
The remote is standard Panasonic fare, with big buttons but no backlighting. There is a dedicated Netflix button, which is great. Pictures are worth some words or something, so here’s a picture of the remote:
Pansonic’s menus have lagged behind the competition for several years. This isn’t a big deal performance-wise, but from a user experience standpoint, Samsung kicked their ass. Thankfully with the new models Panasonic has revamped the menus, much for the better. They’re easy to navigate, and while lacking the outright attractiveness of some of the competition, they’re no longer an eyesore. It’s important to note that while this player has Internet streaming and DLNA capabilities, it does not have the full Viera Connect interface of other new Panasonic models.
Boot times were pretty quick, not too surprising given this player’s billing as “Ultra-Fast Booting.” It takes about 20 seconds to get to the main menu. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl takes roughly 45 seconds. Inglourious Basterds takes about 1:10. Resident Evil: Apocalypse took about 35 seconds.
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Scaling and Deinterlacing
With DVD content, the DMP-BD75 was pretty good. Using the video tests off the HQV Benchmark DVD, the rotating bar test pattern showed small jagges at the start of the green area, which is decent. The flag test on this same test had small, barely noticeable jaggies on the flag and there was some noise in the bricks in the background. In all, I’d give this a B-/B compared to other Blu-ray players. The upconversion of DVDs is very good, with lots of detail and minimal noise.
Using the Spears & Munsil Benchmark Blu-ray, the SD Bridge pattern had minimal jaggies. The HD rotating bar pattern on this disc looked excellent, with only slight jaggies as the bar approaches horizontal. The HD Ship test didn’t look quite as good, with small jaggies visible on most of the horizontal rigging. C+/B- overall on this disc.
The DMP-BD75 was able to pick up the 3:2 sequence with 480i and 1080i content, as you’d expect.
Netflix and Streaming
The Netflix interface is the newer variety, with big art and search. Like most new Netflix-streaming devices, the DMP-BD75 will output a 1080p signal with Netflix content. Scaling performance is quite good, most notably the most recent Star Trek, which is only available in SD. It looked a little better than most of the dedicated network streamers. There was no chroma upsampling error, which was an issue with some early Netflix-enabled Panasonic BD players.
Presumably due to the price, though not likely due to any hardware limitation, there are only three Internet content providers other than Netflix. You get VUDU, CinemaNow, and Napster. Notably absent is Pandora and Amazon Video on Demand, found on other Panasonic products. This is somewhat limiting, and an odd choice given that it wouldn’t require more hardware or memory space to include these missing and rather important services.
For under $100, it’s hard to find fault with the DMP-BD75. Sure it could use more streaming providers, it’s not 3D, and it doesn’t have wireless, but in reality, for a value oriented Blu-ray player it’s excellent. It gets people in the door of not only Blu-ray, but Netflix as well, while doing a great job scaling SD content. What more could you ask for $100?
The Panasonic DMP-BD75 Blu-ray Player is priced on Amazon for $89.17 (11% off MSRP of $99). HDGuru.com awards the DMP-BD75 a ♥ ♥ ♥ ½ out of 5 heart rating.
Geoff Morrison Follow me on Twitter @TechWriterGeoff
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