Price Paid: $399
Purchase at: reviewer
read review below
read review below
I acquired a Sony BDP-S550, Sony BDP-S350, and PS3. In the 3 weeks that I’ve had this player, it’s done a good job on video and audio quality. I’m running it on a 37″ Hitachi connected through HDMI. I’ve never had any of the stutters or other audio/video glitches that others have mentioned. I can say right off that Panasonic has taken the sting out of the higher price of Blu-Ray players with a good offering of features you won’t find in other models.
The BR players are all updatable so it’s possible to play the latest movies. However, this player has a VERY weak failure mode and upgrade procedure. But once you get that 1080p flat screen there’s just no other way to watch video. Even with the problem it is worth getting this player for 1080p picures.
I have only had significant problems with one disk that I own and that was “Lord of War”. It played the first 3/4 of the movie just fine and then started freezing up every 1-2 minutes making the movie unwatchable. For those who wonder if it will play homemade Blu-Ray DVDs I can report that I have sucessfully created a Blu-Ray DVD with menus on a 25G Single Layer BD-RE (Rewritable) disk using the LG GGW-H20L burner. One drawback that keeps this unit from being perfect is no ethernet connectability for firmware upgrading. It is my opinion that this player was released prematurely based on its feature set. This player did a great job on the Bluray compatibility & picture quality and the DVD upconversion quality.
This player is good as far as disks that work on it but it does not support 48kHz/24-bit HD true sound that other blu-ray disks come with. The sound will pop out of sync with the visual. Before you buy call the manufacturer and ask if they have solved this problem by issuing a firmware (disk to put in the machine to update the harddrive) or not.
Upconversion on this player is mediocre, which is very important if you have vast library of DVDs. I figured instead of spending $100 or so on upconvert DVD player to work with my new TV, I decided to go directly to Blu-Ray, since the Blu-Ray is now standard of HD DVDs. The upconversion is wonderful! Best part is I can use optical and take advantage of the new audio codecs. Overall, I found this player to be competent Blu-ray player and a great upconverting DVD player