BD-Live Lives in New Gen-3 Panasonic Blu-ray Player
Panasonic will in late spring begin shipping the DMP-BD50 ($699.95), its third-generation Blu-ray player and its first to offer BD-Live functionality. At the same time, it will also ship its first Blu-Ray-centered multi-channel home theater system ($999.95) the SC-BT100, which resurrects some proprietary Technics audio-enhancement technologies, if not the actual brand name.
The BD50 is a step-up model rather than a replacement for the BD30, introduced in the fall of last year. Its most profound difference is in offering BD-Live, which, through an Ethernet terminal on the player, will in time provide a gateway to Internet connection and interactivity with other BD-Live users for gaming and other activities available as bonus content on BD discs. The player also supports four modes of interactive Picture-in-Picture, and Audio Mixing (the ability to listen to either or both soundtracks on a title simultaneously), when the viewer is watching Blu-ray discs carrying such content.
The model adds full 1080/24p output via HDMI, reproducing movies on Blu-ray discs in their original 24p form with no need for conversion. On the audio side, the BD50 has the capability of decoding Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.