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Panasonic DMP-BDT160 review

Katharine Byrne
15 Jun 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
79
inc VAT

A cheap 3D Blu-ray player that's easy to use and has good picture quality

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If you're looking for a basic 3D-ready Blu-ray player, the Panasonic DMP-BDT160EB could be for you. It's almost exactly the same as the next model in Panasonic's range, the DMP-BDT260EB, but the DMP-BDT160EB doesn't have built-in Wi-Fi. Instead, you'll need to buy a Wi-Fi adapter to connect the DMP-BDT160EB to your wireless network, or simply use the player's wired Ethernet port instead.

Panasonic DMP-BDT160

You'll certainly want to get the DMP-BDT160EB online, as it supports DLNA playback and has a few smart TV features. These include access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer, as well as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube portals.

Panasonic DMP-BDT160EB Smart Services

The selection of online services is basic

It would have been nice to see a few other catch-up TV services, as other slighty more expensive Blu-ray players, such as the Samsung BD-F6500, have a more extensive range of smart TV apps. Even so, it's good to see iPlayer and Netflix on a player this cheap. There's even a Netflix button on the remote control for easy access.

Panasonic DMP-BDT160

Sadly, there’s a lot of flex on the top panel, so you don’t wouldn’t want to put your TV or another piece of AV gear on top of it. Indeed, placing the DMP-BDT160EB in between other bits of kit will probably obscure the four control buttons on top of the player. These let you play, stop and eject discs, and switch on the player, but are of course replicated on the remote control.

On the back of the DMP-BDT160EB is just a single HDMI output and an Ethernet port. We'd normally expect to see at least one type of audio output on a Blu-ray player, so to see none at all was disappointing. Still, it's hard to complain too much at this price.

Panasonic DMP-BDT160

The only other connection on the DMP-BDT160EB is a single USB port on the front for playing files from a flash drive or external hard disk. The DMP-BDT160EB supports all the main file formats, including MKV, XVID, AVCHD, MP4, MP3, FLAC, WAV, WMA and JPEG, and you can also stream content over your home network via DLNA.

We’re not huge fans of Panasonic’s interface for its 2014 range of Blu-ray players. The home menu consists of five main panels (Setup, Network, Photos, Music and Videos), but each of them are unhelpfully controlled by the main direction buttons on the remote. Pressing down, for instance, will instantly load a video, while pressing up will take you straight to the Network menu. This can make navigating the DMP-BDT160EB’s menus a frustrating experience if you accidentally press the wrong button, and it's a shame the video option isn't more prominent.

Panasonic DMP-BDT160EB Interface

The menu system is rapidly navigated, but don't press the wrong button

Unsurprisingly for a cheap player, menu options are rather sparse, so you're better off adjusting the picture on your TV rather than relying on the DMP-BDT160EB's picture settings. There are four picture modes to choose from, but the difference between them is minimal. Normal, Soft and Fine are fixed, while User lets you adjust the contrast, brightness, sharpness and colour. We’d stick with either Normal or User for films, as switching to Soft lost some detail while Fine introduced a white haze across the screen that made colours appear rather washed out.

On Normal, our Blu-ray test footage of Star Trek and Avatar looked great in both 2D and 3D. Visuals were clean and crisp and darker scenes showed plenty of detail. We were also pleased to see menu options for dynamic range control. This helps enhance speech at low volume levels, making it easier to watch films at night without having to crank up the volume just to hear the dialogue.

DVD upscaling was less impressive, as there was a fair amount of noise, and jaggies were evident. Also, Star Trek's pronounced film grain effect was practically non-existent in motion. When it was visible, it simply looked like unwanted noise. There aren't any detail enhancement settings either, but on the whole we couldn't see too much of a noticeable difference in quality between the DMP-BDT160EB and our reference player.

For £79, the Panasonic DMP-BDT160EB is a good Blu-ray player. The £110 Samsung BD-F6500 has more smart TV features and integrated Wi-Fi, but if you just want something cheap the DMP-BDT160EB won't disappoint.

Details

AwardBudget Buy
Price£79
Rating****

Buying Information

Price£79
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.richersounds.com
Detailswww.panasonic.co.uk

Features and Connections

Blu-ray profile2.0
HDMI outputs1
HDMI Version1.4
Component outputs0
S-video output0
Composite outputs0
Stereo phono outputs0
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs0
Optical S/PDIF outputs0
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless standard802.11n (optional)
USB ports1
Mass storage supportyes
Supported memory cardsnone

Video, Audio and Photo

Video playback formatsAVCHD, XVID, MKV
Image viewing formatsJPEG
Audio playback formatsMP3, MP4, WMA, WAV, AAC, FLAC
YouTube streamingyes

Audio

Dynamic Range Controlyes
Dolby TrueHD supportyes
DTS-HD MA supportyes

Physical

Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption on14W
Size312x180x43mm

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