Pros: Great picture quality, quick start-up, quiet, SD/USB input(s), nice looking aesthetics, dedicated Netflix button
Cons: "Miracast" feature is a bit misleading, no built-in storage, poor menu system, "ads" are on by default, requires (1.40) firmware update to fix bugs
I recently picked up a Panasonic 60" ST60 plasma, and was looking for a "matching" blu-ray player. I was hoping to find a "famed" 2012 Panasonic DMP-BDT220 (because of the great reviews), but was a couple of weeks too late. The store had sold out and would not be getting any more in. The new 2013 "230" model was in stock however, and after looking it over I decided to take a chance and take one home.
Setup- Setting the DMP-BDT230 up was pretty simple. In the box was a manual, remote, batteries, power cord, and the BD player itself. The player also has a good amount of inputs/outputs, and was very happy with the fact that it had SD-card and USB inputs. The player does come with ads enabled as a default (Just like my ST60), but these were easily "hidden" though the menu. The BDT230 does NOT come with built in storage (for BD Live, etc), so I was glad that I had a spare 2GB SD card lying around for me to use. Setting up netflix/vudu/hulu were simple. Just logged in my information and the apps were good to go. To download additional "apps", you must do so in the Vierra store, which unfortunately makes you sign up for a Panasonic account (if you do not already have one), even for free apps. I was not able to set up Miracast, even though I have an android device that supports the Miracast functionality. The player currently only supports the stock Android Nexus 4 phone. I find this a bit misleading, as this is listed as a major feature of this model. I personally don't care too much, as I'd probably never use the function... but others should know that their device (unless it is a stock "Google Nexus" device) will probably not be supported.
Performance- The player has a "quick boot" option that really makes it power up very fast. Switching between menus is also fairly fast, as well as playing/loading up an actual blu-ray movie. Blu-ray picture quality is superb on the BDT230. There are a lot of picture "enhancing" options, although I kept most of these off (I prefer a more pure "stock" image). Netflix and other apps are pretty quick to load, and performance is great. Built in WiFi seemed to work excellent, though I personally chose to hook up via ethernet (I always do this to get the best connection on a "streaming" device). 3D performance was also spot on, and there are a few options to dial in your preferred 3D depth/image settings. As mentioned in the header of this review, you will definitely want to update the firmware (as soon as you can) to the newest firmware. It fixes some major "bugs" people (including myself) had been having with the original "shipped" firmware. My main problem with performance is, I really wish the menu system was laid out differently. To get to Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, you have to go into the "Network Services" submenu, when I feel they should just be on the home screen. It's a minor gripe, but somewhat of an inconvenience to have to go through several menus to get to such frequently used apps/services. DLNA performance was also PAINFULLY slow (although it did find/connect to my DLNA server rather quickly). It took over 2 minutes to start playing my test movie. I actually had almost given up on connectivity, when the movie finally came on.
Value- So, is the Panasonic DMP-BDT230 worth the current asking price of $129.99? The answer is... kinda. It really depends on what you are looking for in your blu-ray player. If you are looking for a solid, quick loading, simplistic (yet stylish) 3D BD player with excellent picture quality, then I would recommend it to you. If you are looking for a little more from your blu-ray player, the BDT230 is probably not for you. The DLNA performance was very slow, Miracast won't work with most Android devices, and the apps (although performed well) are hidden behind more menus than they need to be.
Features (3/5), Value (4/5), Design (4/5), Video Quality (5/5), Audio Quality (5/5), Remote (3/5)
4 out of 5 stars overall