Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Started to misbehave after less than a month, 14 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Panasonic DMP-BDT230EB Smart Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player - Black (discontinued by manufacturer) (Electronics)
This could have been good - I am of the "things should work from off, and stay working" school of consumers. Unfortunately, although it started by working fine, after less than a month it started to refuse to play Blu-ray discs it had played fine before, and also lock up when playing other Blu-ray discs. We've now sent it back, to exchange with a Sony BDP-S5100 - we haven't got it yet, and I'll write a review about it once we've used it for a while.

We bought a Panasonic DMP-BDT230EB to go along a brand-spanking-new Panasonic Viera plasma 3D TV, and having seen the reviews and read about problems playing discs, I was a bit nervous; but the video quality was supposedly great, and if the problems had been fixed by the latest firmware update, I was willing to try. When the player turned up, we plugged it in, configured the wi-fi network connection, made sure it had the latest firmware, and started playing 3D Blu-ray discs - they all played fine; no problems. The 3D quality is excellent. The upscaling of DVDs to HD (regular 2D) is brilliant; "Avatar" looks almost like HD when played! We didn't try the "Smart" features like internet-based downloads, so I can't comment on that, and the menu system could be better (too much clicking to go anywhere, but big and clear icons), but at its main job (for us) - playing discs, this excelled.

Then, after about a couple of weeks, one 3D disc that we had already watched successfully about 3 times ("Despicable Me 2" - DM2) simply would not play. The player's display would just say "Play" instead of showing the time counter. No amount of disconnecting the power lead, leaving overnight, playing a few other discs before going back to that one, checking the firmware, again, resetting to factory settings, hard-resetting to factory settings, would fix it.
A week later, a different Blu-ray disc which had also so far played fine suddenly locked up the player. That problem was fixed was taking the power lead off for a few seconds, and then power back on; the disc then played correctly.

For those justifiably concerned that maybe my DM2 disc refused to play because the disc itself was faulty, I took my entire collection of 3D Blu-ray discs to a friend's, and played them all on his 3D Samsung player - everything played properly. Of course, the Panasonic DMP-BDT230 had also started by playing all the discs properly, so maybe the Samsung player would also refuse the play any disc after a while; but at least it proved that the DM2 disc was not at fault, that the disc itself was not the reason why the Panasonic refused to play it.

The occasional lock-up and having to power off then back on, I can live with; but having bought a disc that I can't watch anymore because the player gets stroppy about it for no obvious reason, I can't accept - so this player has gone back to Amazon.

It may be of interest to note that the player remembers Blu-ray discs it has played, and will ask you if you want to resume where you left off when you put a previously played disc back in - good and typical feature (although this doesn't work at all for DVDs being played, for some reason!?!). I don't know how many Blu-ray discs it would remember in total, but that "memory" could not be wiped out: no power off, no factory reset would clear it. I suspect that if I had managed to wipe its memory, then it may well have been happy playing DM2 again; but I found no information on the matter, not even how many discs would get remembered (no even in the manuals).

EDITED 22/Jan/2014:

As a replacement, I got a Sony BDP-S5100, for which I had good hopes, but although no disc failed to play (freeze or whatever), image quality was bad with DVDs, and the player was making a racket when starting to play 3D Blu-ray discs, through a probably badly-aligned spinning mechanism. One thing that using the Sony made me realise was that Panasonic's upscaling of DVDs to HD resolution really is the best that there currently is, not only for sharpness when upscaling, but the colours are excellent too (Sony was really bad on that score). You can have a look at my review if you want.

So, off the Sony went, and after deliberating between getting the Samsung BD-F6500 or the Panasonic DMP-BDT220, and especially after reading up about DVD upscaling, I thought that I would give Panasonic another try. After all, the BDT220 is an older model, has gathered more reviews on Amazon, which are also better than for the BDT230, and I also heard that quite a few of the problems of Panasonic with their new 2013 line-up was that they had changed processing chips.

The Panasonic BDT220 arrived today. It's wider than the BDT230 (i.e. it's "full size"), quiet as a (slightly noisy) mouse, no problem playing 3D Blu-ray discs so far, and video from DVDs is excellent again. I'll post a proper review after I've used the player for a while.

EDITED 30/Nov/2014:

10 months on from receiving my Panasonic BDT220 Blu-ray player, and it has been brilliant all the way: no problem, no rattle, no shake, played every single Blu-ray 3D and 2D disc it was given without any complaint, brilliant visuals, and DVD playing (upscaling and colours) absolutely excellent too.

This player (BDT220) is the bee's knees, absolutely perfect. I can't figure out how Panasonic could have gone so wrong with the BDT230...
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