Excellent feature list
It's great to see Panasonic back challenging the likes of Denon, Marantz, and Onkyo with a high-end, audiophile-focused Blu-ray player, and thanks to its superlative picture and sound quality, coupled with a killer feature list, it's better value than the brands above can offer although true audiophiles might be put off by the lack of DVD-Audio and SACD playback. Overall though, the DMP-BDT500 is an accomplished Blu-ray player, truly worthy of its flagship status.
Picture is terrific in both 3D and 2D
The DMP-BDT500 is a niche Blu-ray player in some senses. If you don't own home cinema kit and simply want to connect to a TV set, its extensive audio adjustment options aren't necessary: save your money and buy a cheaper Panasonic. The same's true if you're not into music, or prefer to use a separate component for music replay. But if you want one deck to do the lot, it's a must-try.
Excellent build quality
The Panasonic DMP-BDT500 marks a fine return to high-end Blu-ray for the Japanese brand. Its flagship disc spinner boasts a wide range of features, including Viera Connect, 3D support and DLNA streaming, not to mention its sophisticated audio components, robust build quality and generous connections.
Great with 3D and upscaling
Overall, is the Panasonic DMP-BDT500 worth the extra cash over the cheaper models in the range?
Definitely. Improving on an already brilliant line-up, it's a captivating player that will make you dig out all your discs and watch them anew.
Impressive video playback
The DMP-BDT500 certainly looks like a flagship player with an attractive, if rather traditional, design. The metal chassis, gloss black finish and brushed metal strip along the bottom of the facia give the player a suitably high-end look. The larger dimensions, solid feet and increased weight, also help provide a sense of high quality player and the BDT500 is very quiet in operation.
Excellent analogue audio performance
Overall, I rate Panasonic's DMP-BDT500 as a superior Blu-ray proposition, albeit one with some caveats. Its audio-visual performance is exemplary, both in the analogue domain and over HDMI. While the lack of support for Super Audio CD, and to a lesser extent DVD-Audio, will take some shine off it for those with legacy disc collections, mainstream users are unlikely to be disappointed.
A shame then that the DMP-BDT500 lets itself down with something quite so basic as the IR controller.
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