updated 09:00 am EDT, Wed October 31, 2007
Panasonic late yesterday uncovered the DMP-BD30, a Blu-Ray movie player that adds what the company claims are several world firsts to HD video playback. The device is the first to ship with support for Blu-Ray's Final Standard Profile and will support enhanced features on upcoming discs, including picture-in-picture commentary and blending audio between the two sources. The BD30 is equally unique in carrying an SD card slot that will display AVCHD video and JPEG photos, allowing viewers to sample their shots at up to 1080p without first uploading them to a computer.
As a video player, the new Panasonic system occupies the higher end with HDMI 1.3b that allows both 12-bit 'deep' color output and newer 7.1 surround audio standards, native 24 frames per second playback to avoid jittering in some movies, and CEC control that allows the BD30 to control a TV over an HDMI connection. A release date was unannounced at press time, but the reader was expected before the end of the year at a price of $500.