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.
Generous feature list
Quite simply, the BDP-S790 is a brilliant Blu-ray player. Its top-drawer feature list (headlined by Sonyâ??s generous range of internet apps and futureproofed 4K upscaling), its slim, living room friendly design and nigh-on flawless pictures make this one of the best Blu-ray players around, if not the cheapest.
Versatile network media player
Based on the test results, the Sony BDP-S790 is a very good performer with regards to video processing and upscaling of standard definition DVD (which can also apply to internet and network streamed video content - minus any artifacts generated as a result of slow internet speeds), as well as deinterlacing 1080i content to 1080p, that can match a native 1080p video display.
Excellent video playback
While pricier than the competition, this is an excellent player that is positively brimming with excellent features. It's unlikely that the 4K upscaling will come into play for some time, but the internet video and music capabilities of the BDP-S790 are excellent. If we had to complain, we would point out that the remote feels rather light and plastic-y at odds with the nice construction of the player itself, but at this point, we're be splitting hairs.
Impressive specs & superb usability
Sony's put the lot into the BDP-790, and it shows. Its picture performance is simply outstanding, as good as that of any player available, and it's an enjoyable listen too. It's also great to use, either with its simple, effective remote handset (take note, Panasonic) or via its excellent control app. Add in the promise of its future-proof upscaling and you've got a simply brilliant buy.
Future-looking 4K upscaling
The BDP-S790 rightfully deserves the title as Sony's flagship 3D Blu-ray player. With features like dual HDMI outputs, a dual core processor, and the future-looking 4K upscaling, the S790's $250 price tag should be compared with niche Blu-ray players often costing at least twice as much.
Outstanding image quality
If you took the engine of a Lamborghini and shoved it into a Lada, you'd end up with a Sony BDP-S790 (not literally, you understand). Reflecting its price, build quality is average with operating noise and vibration endemic. By contrast, the dual core picture processing engine beneath the bonnet is cutting-edge, allowing for an exemplary picture performance from both Blu-ray and upscaled DVD.
At face value the Pioneer DBP-150 is a decent Blu-ray deck, offering wonderful hi-def pictures and some tasty features like 3D, Netflix, YouTube, DLNA and SACD playback. But up against decks in the same price bracket, things don't look quite so rosy the Sony BDP-S490, LG BP620 and Samsung BD-E6100, for example, offer built-in Wi-Fi and web portals bursting with content (including BBC iPlayer).
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