Panasonic’s DMP-BDT300 enters 3D Blu-ray market

We’ve already reported on how Samsung were first out of the blocks with their 3D Blu-ray player, but as you might expect their competitors have not been far behind and so it comes as no surprise to see Panasonic enter the fray with the launch of their very own player.

The DMP-BDT300 will be the company’s first Full HD 3D Blu-ray player as the home entertainment giants jostle to provide us with an increasingly immersive entertainment experience. Panasonic boast that their player features the brand new, exclusively developed UniPhier LSI chip, which helps to process the large volume of Full HD 3D movies. This new UniPhier enables the player to output Full HD images in 1920×1080 resolutions in the so-called frame-sequential method. With this method, the images for left and right eye are displayed in alteration in order to create 3D images, which all sounds pretty impressive.

As you might expect Pansonic promises unrivalled picture quality whether you’re watching movies in all three dimensions or the customary two dimensional output that we’ll one day get nostalgic about. Like seemingly all modern players though, Panasonic have furnished the device with a wireless connection with which you can access a world of apps and widgets to keep you constantly connected with the outside world. It’s a strange idea that seems at odds against the totally immersive home cinema experience that they’re pedalling, and one which I imagine will rely heavily on the type of content they’ve got up their digital sleeves, but for those with the set up the ability to stream content direct from your home network will be appealing.

Whether Panasonic will trump Samsung in the battle for your living room remains to be seen, but we can only welcome the competition and hope that more players will come on the market to drive down what will undoubtedly be an expensive piece of kit.

Samsung first out of blocks with 3D Blu-ray

Unless you’ve been living underground for the past month, you’ve probably heard or read about Avatar, James Cameron’s 3D epic that’s been wowing audiences and breaking box office records around the globe. This visual masterpiece is the latest in a number of fully immersive offerings as Hollywood seeks to up the entertainment stakes. With the increasing popularity of 3D on the silver screen the race has been on for manufacturers to bring the technology to our living rooms.

Currently leading the field is Samsung. The manufacturer was the first to introduce the technology in 2007 with the launch of the world’s first 3D capable plasma television, and over the past two years has been investing heavily in 3D image processing. Now, entertainment enthusiasts can enjoy the fruits of this labour in the BD-C6900, one of five new Blu-ray players launched by the manufacturer in Las Vegas last week and winner of the 2010 CES Best of Innovations Award.

With Blu-ray players now starting to become old hat, 3D Blu-ray is the next big thing in home entertainment and Samsung’s new player will be the first to feature built-in 3D playback. The player is compatible with Samsung’s new 3D HDTVs and upcoming 3D Blu-ray disks, but as you’d expect from a top of the range model it’s also a big step up from current 2D players and promises unrivalled picture quality and faster loading times. It even looks the part and alongside its sleek and stylish design it’s even got a transparent cover that allows you to see the disk spin as it plays. Like the manufacturer’s new TVs the player also shows off the latest incarnation of the Internet@TV platform which provides viewers with a gateway to a multitude of entertainment ranging from Video, Music, Social Networking, News and Games.

It’s the first out of the blocks as far as 3D Blu-ray goes and the finer details and price are still to be announced but the BD-C900 certainly offers a tantalizing glimpse into the future of home entertainment.

Toshiba Freeview HD Blu-ray recorder?

Though it’s somewhat late to the Blu-ray party after nursing the HD-DVD hangover, Toshiba is ready to lead the pack when it comes to Freeview HD. The company has revealed that it plans to launch a Blu-ray recorder with twin DVB-T2 tuners and a hard drive to cover all your free HD recording needs in 2010.

toshiba-hd-bluray-freeview

Keen AV gadget-watchers will probably notice that this set up will make it a kind of spiritual brother to Panasonic’s DMR-BS850. Yes, that’s right, Panasonic really did have the temerity to release a £1000 TV recorder with the letters ‘BS’ in the name, no doubt echoing the thoughts of most Curry’s patrons when it’s suggested to them.

Toshiba’s confirmation of support for Freeview HD comes as perennial early adopter Humax announces its first DVB-T2 receiver. The earliest version will have no PVR, but you’ll be able to record to a hard drive attached over the USB port. 3view just about bested Humax though, with a twin-tuner receiver including 320GB of storage and an Opera web browser.

Freeview HD broadcasts began in earnest in London and Manchester on December 3rd, but it seems those in the right area will need to be patient for some time longer. It is expected that over 50% of the UK will be able to receive the HD broadcasts by the time the World Cup begins, if you’re willing to upgrade your equipment.

Initially, Freeview HD’s offering will be limited to BBC HD, Channel 4 HD (or S4C HD for you Welsh types) and ITV HD, with Channel 5 expected to join them later. Not all programs will be in HD, but the broadcasters are beginning to take advantage of the technology for those shows that would benefit from the boost. At the BBC alone, several studios have been upgraded and 2009’s Children in Need was the first ever available in HD. Other shows to get a video bump are Strictly Come Dancing (fair enough; it’s pretty glamorous), Ready Steady Cook (well, it’ll make the food look nicer I suppose) and Eggheads (wait, what?).

Look, it doesn’t matter that Eggheads is pointless in HD. Keep your eyes on the real prize: The World Cup. In free high definition. And England have got a fairly easy group. I’m experiencing the highs already. Does this mean a horrendous low in 10 days’ time? Damn.