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Thursday, March 12, 2009
Panasonic's New Blu-ray Line Up Features VIERA Cast, BD Live and First VHS-Blu-ray Player


Panasonic recently introduced the successors to last year's DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55 players, as well as presenting the first Blu-ray-VHS dual player.

All three of the new Blu-ray players -- DMP-BD60, DMP-BD80, DMP-BD70V -- combine high quality images with enhanced networking functions, including VIERA Cast's internet functionality that provides access to Amazon VOD's selection of titles. The 2009 line of Blu-ray Disc players continue to incorporate VIERA Link, allowing the consumer to operate their audio/video components, via HDMI, with one remote. In addition, the new Blu-ray players have been designed to reduce power consumption.

The 2009 Panasonic Blu-ray line will be available in April. The DMP-BD60 will have a SRP of $299.95; the DMP-BD60 $399.95; the DMP-BD70V $399.95.

Each of the three models employs the PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus. Developed in collaboration with Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, this high image processing technology offer high quality video reproduction, while the a high definition audio decoder (Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio Essential) takes advantage of the high quality 7.1 channel surround sound now integrated in Blu-ray Discs. The DMP-BD70V distinguishes itself as the world's first dual deck VHS-Blu-ray player, providing the consumer with a video product that features multi-format playback allowing the user to play VHS, CD, DVD and 1080p high definition Blu-ray Discs. The BD70V allows for premium 1080p up-conversion for all video formats.

VIERA CAST technology, introduced in Panasonic's PZ850 2008 VIERA Plasma, is now available in Panasonic's 2009 Blu-ray players. The internet enabled technology lets the consumer access the internet without the need of either an external box or a PC and enjoy conmtent provided by sites such as Amazon VOD, YouTube, Google's Picasa Web Album, Bloomberg and a weather channel. The DMP-BD60, DMP-BD80 and DMP-BD70V include an SD Memory card slot and USB slot, making it easy to view and share both digital still images and HD video recorded with an HD camcorder in the AVCHD format.

For even better picture quality, Panasonic's Blu-ray players employ high precision 4:4:4 signal technology, which working in tandem with PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus processes each pixel of the Blu-ray Disc video signal in the horizontal direction, to compliment vertical direction processing. P4HD (Pixel Precision Progressive Processing for HD) is another technology that contributes to the picture quality of the Blu-ray players. P4HD processes more than 15 billion pixels per second and applies the optimal processing to every pixel. Panasonic's Blu-ray players further utilize 16-level motion detection to categorize the image motion of each pixel into one of 16 levels; diagonal processing to detect diagonals and correct the pixels accordingly; 1080p up-conversion to up-convert content recorded in the 480i/p or 720p format to 1080p. The Blu-ray players also provide 1080/24p output, thereby reproducing cinema images from a Blu-ray Disc and DVD in their original 24p form with no need for conversion. This allows the user to enjoy cinema images in the same format used in cinema with a 1080/24p compatible TV.

Complimenting the HD audio codecs the three Blu-ray players feature 96kHz surround re-master, a function that enhances the sound quality of CDs and other sources, and even improves the quality of the multi-channel audio data on Blu-ray Discs and DVDs. The DMP-BD80 further enhances the audio experience with 7.1 channel analog out to produce true 7.1 surround sound. The BD80 also includes a playback information window that can be used to display detailed image information while a movie is playing.

In order to obtain a reduction in power consumption the 2009 Blu-ray players use Auto Power Stand-By, a function that automatically turns off the player when you return to TV operation using the VIERA Link menu. In addition, the Stand-by Power Save automatically turns off the player's Quick Start function. When VIERA is turned on, Quick Start also turns on. In addition, the development of the UniPhiersingle chip LSI makes it possible to pack an entire video signal processing circuit onto a single chip. This helps lower power consumption, reduces the number of parts needed and allows for a more compact design. The BD60 consumes 16% less power in standby mode than last year's model, the DMP-BD35.

Blu-ray Home Theaters

Panasonic also announced suggested retail pricing for two new 7.1 channel Blu-ray Home Theater systems with wireless-ready rear speakers and integrated iPod dock. The models SC-BT200 and SC-BT300 boast seven speakers. The front and center channel speakers are made with a bamboo diaphragm which provides a tightly intertwined fiber to deliver greater rigidity and accuracy. The subwoofer features a Kelton system with a dual diameter structure. The Smart Set-up guide uses the help of GUI navigation to allow users to set up their SC-BT200 or SC-BT300 home theater for optimum performance.

Both the SC-BT300 and the SC-BT200 connect to the Internet for downloading bonus content available with Blu-ray Discs and for playing Internet games via BD-Live. This connectivity is further enhanced with the addition of VIERACast.

Both models are also equipped with a Universal Dock for iPod, making it easy for users to play their favorite music or video downloads.

The BT300 and BT200 offer improved environmental performance too. Refinements to the power board reduce power consumption in standby mode. And by adjusting power consumption as the audio signal changes, these models save power during operation as well. As a result of these improvements, the BT300 and BT200 consume about 20% less power than last year's SC-BT100 Blu-ray theater system.

The SC-BT300, which pumps out 1250 watts (1kHz, 3 ohms, 10% THD), will have a suggested retail price of $699.95. The SC-BT200, which delivers 1000 watts (1kHz, 3 ohms, 10% THD), will have a suggested retail price of $599.95. Both models will be available in April 2009.


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