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Panasonic DMP-BDT330 3D Network Blu-ray Disc Player Review

Don't Let The Compact Size Fool You

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Panasonic DMP-BDT330 Blu-ray Disc Player - Front View Photo with Included Accessories

Panasonic DMP-BDT330 3D and Network Blu-ray Disc Player - Front View with Included Accessories

Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
The Panasonic DMP-BDT330 3D Network Blu-ray Disc Player is compact, stylish, performs well, and is very reasonably priced. The DMP-BDT330 provides 2D and 3D playback of Blu-ray Discs, DVD, and CD, as well 1080p and 4K upscaling when used with a 4K UltraHD TV. The DMP-BDT330 is also able to stream audio/video content from the internet, as well as content stored on your home network. Keep on reading for all the details.

Panasonic DMP-BDT330 Product Features

1. The DMP-BDT330 features 1080p/60, 1080p/24 or 4K (via upscaling) resolution output, and 3D Blu-ray playback capability via HDMI 1.4 audio/video output. Built-in 2D-to-3D conversion also provided.

2. The DMP-BDT330 can play the following discs and formats: Blu-ray Disc/BD-ROM/BD-R/BD-RE/DVD-Video/DVD-R/+R/-RW/+RW/+R DL/CD/CD-R/CD-RW, MKV, AVCHD, and MP4.

3. The DMP-BDT330 also provides DVD video upscaling to 720p, 1080i, 1080p, and both DVD and Blu-ray upscaling to 4K (compatible TV or video projector required).

4. High definition video outputs include: Two HDMI. DVI-HDCP video output compatibility with adapter (3D not accessible using DVI).

5. Standard definition video output: None (no component, S-video, or composite video outputs).

6. Besides audio output via HDMI, a Digital Optical audio output is also provided. There are no analog audio outputs.

7. Built-in Ethernet, WiFi, and Miracast Connectivity.

8. One USB and SD Card Slot for access to digital photo, video, music content via memory card or flash drive.

9. Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) functionality (addition of 1 GB or more of USB flash drive based memory required).

10. A Wireless Infrared Remote Control and full color high definition onscreen GUI (Graphical User Interface) is provided for easy setup and function access.

Additional Capabilities

Viera Connect - Employs a menu that provides direct access to online audio and video content sources, including Netflix, VUDU, Amazon Instant Video, and Pandora. More content services can be added via the included Viera Connect Market.

DLNA - Provides the ability to access digital media files from compatible network connected devices, such as PCs and media servers

Additional Components Used this Review

Panasonic DMP-BDT330 3D and Network Blu-ray Disc Player - Rear Panel Connections Photo

Panasonic DMP-BDT330 3D and Network Blu-ray Disc Player - Photo of Rear Panel Connections

Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Blu-ray Disc Player: OPPO BDP-103 (used for comparison).

Home Theater Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR705 (used in 5.1 channel mode)

Loudspeaker/Subwoofer System (5.1 channels): EMP Tek E5Ci Center channel Speaker, four E5Bi compact bookshelf Speakers for left and right main and surrounds, and an ES10i 100 watt powered subwoofer.

TVs: Panasonic TC-L42E60 (2D) and Samsung UN46F8000 (2D/3D) (both on review loan)

DVDO EDGE Video Scaler used for baseline video upscaling comparisons.

Darbee Visual Presence - Darblet Model DVP 5000 Video Processor used for added observations.

Audio/Video connections made with Accell, Interconnect cables. 16 Gauge Speaker Wire used. High Speed HDMI Cables provided by Atlona for this review.

Blu-ray Discs, DVDs, and Additional Content Sources Used In This Review

Blu-ray Discs (3D): Adventures of Tintin, Brave, Drive Angry, Hugo, Immortals, Oz The Great and Powerful (3D), Puss in Boots, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Underworld: Awakening.

Blu-ray Discs (2D): Battleship, Ben Hur, Brave, Cowboys and Aliens, The Hunger Games, Jaws, Jurassic Park Trilogy, Megamind, Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Oz The Great and Powerful (2D), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, The Dark Knight Rises.

Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Outlander, U571, and V For Vendetta.

CDs: Al Stewart - A Beach Full of Shells, Beatles - LOVE, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me, Sade - Soldier of Love.

Netflix, Audio and Video files stored on USB flash drives, and PC hard drive.

Video Performance

Whether playing Blu-ray Discs or DVDs, I found that the DMP-BDT330 did very well in terms of detail, color, contrast, and black levels. Also, video performance with streaming content looked good overall with Netflix delivering a DVD quality image. However, it is important to note that consumers may see different quality results in this area as factors such as video compression used by content providers, as well as internet speed, which are independent of the video processing capabilities of the player, does affect the quality of what you finally see on your TV screen. For more on this: Internet Speed Requirements for Video Streaming.

Digging into video performance further, the DMP-BDT330 pass all of the important DVD upscaling tests on the Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark DVD.

The upscaling test results revealed that the DMP-BDT330 does very well on jaggie elimination, detail, motion adaptive processing, and moire pattern detection and elimination, frame cadence detection. Video noise reduction was also very good on poor source material, but some background video noise and mosquito noise is visible. For a photo illustrated look at some of video performance test results for the DMP-BDT330, check out my supplementary Test Results Profile.

3D Performance

To evaluate the 3D performance of the DMP-BDT330, I enlisted a Samsung UN46F8000 LED/LCD TV that was provided to me for another review, which gave me the added opportunity to check out the 3D functions of the DMP-BDT330 Blu-ray Disc player.

I found that the 3D Blu-ray discs did take a little longer to load than standard Blu-ray Discs, but the DMP-BDT330 is a fast loading machine. Also, once the 3D content was accessed, the DMP-BDT330 had no difficulty playing the disc. There was no playback hesitation, frame skipping, or other issues.

Based on what I could determine, the DMP-BDT330 lived up to its end of the bargain in terms of supplying the correct native 3D signal to the connected 3D TV. With native 3D sources, the player is essentially a pass-through conduit, so it should not (and the DMP-BDT330 did not), alter native 3D signals coming from Blu-ray Discs.

It is important to note that the Blu-ray Disc player is only part of the 3D mix. What you see on the screen also depends on the quality of the source content, the HDMI cables used (they must be 10.2 Gbps High-Speed rated), the 3D signal decoding of the 3D TV, and, finally, how well the 3D glasses used synch-up with the 3D TV.

The DMP-BDT330 also features real time 2D-to-3D conversion. This feature can add a sense of depth and perspective if used appropriately and sparingly on some 2D sources. However, the 3D depth cues are not always right and the image ends up not being properly layered. On the other hand, 2D-to-3D conversion can look somewhat acceptable when used with 2D Blu-ray and DVD content that it does when viewing broadcast and cable/satellite TV content.

In my opinion, on-the-fly 2D to 3D conversion isn't such a great experience and gives viewers the wrong idea on how good 3D can be - so go with native 3D content, if possible.

Dual HDMI

One important feature the is provided on the DMP-BDT330 is the availability of two HDMI outputs. Here is what you need to know about how they function. The following list is a result, in part, by observation where I had the ability to do so, as well as further confirmation by Panasonic Tech Support were I was unable to observe within my own equipment setup - reader comments welcome if you experience a variation of the dual HDMI function in the following DMP-BDT330 setups outlined:

- You can watch 3D on two video display devices at the same time (two TVs, two projectors, or a TV and projector), provided both display devices are 3D compatible.

- 1080p resolution is available on both HDMI outputs simultaneously, provided both video display devices are 1080p compatible.

- 4K resolution output is available on both HDMI outputs simultaneously if both video display devices are 4K compatible.

- If you are using two video display devices with differing display resolutions at the same time, the DMP-BDT330 will output the lowest common resolution via the two HDMI outputs. In other words, if you are using a both a 1080p and 720p video display device at the same time, the both HDMI outputs will supply a 720p resolution signal to both display devices.

- Both HDMI outputs can send Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio bitstreams to two separate receivers at the same time, provided both are Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio equipped and the HDMI audio output options are set to "Normal".

- You can configure the HDMI outputs so that the main output will supply a video-only signal, and the second HDMI output (labeled SUB) will ouput only audio. This is practical when using a 3D or 4K TV in conjunction with a home theater receiver that is not 3D or 4K compatible.

- The HDMI (SUB) output is not compatible with HDMI-CEC control commands.

Audio Performance

On the audio side, the DMP-BDT330 offers complete onboard audio decoding, as well as undecoded bitstream output for compatible home theater receivers. In addition, the DMP-BDT330 comes equipped with two HDMI outputs (both of which can be pass both audio and video, or you can assign one for video only and the other for audio only) and on digital optical output.

Both of the HDMI connections allow the DMP-BDT330 to supply Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio access via HDMI, and multi-channel PCM, but the digital optical connection is limited to standard Dolby Digital, DTS, and two-channel PCM formats, which conforms to current industry standards. So, if yuou want the benefit of Blu-ray audio, the HDMI connection option is preferred, but the digital optical output is provides for those cases where a non-HDMI equipped home theater receiver is used.

The DMP-BDT330 demonstrated versatility as both an excellent 2D/3D Blu-ray Disc, DVD player, and CD player, with no audio artifacts that can be attributed to the player. On other hand, the DMP-BDT330 does not offer any analog audio output option, which limits its audio connection flexibility with stereo or home theater receivers that do not have digital audio inputs.

Internet Streaming

Just as with most Blu-ray disc players available these days, the DMP-BDT330 provides access to internet streaming content - in Panasonic's case, this is referred to as Viera Connection.

Using the oncscreen Viera Connect Mneu, users can access streaming content from sites such as, Netflix, VUDU, CinemaNow, YouTube, and more... by scrolling through two or more pages of listings, which what you are currently viewing displayed in the center of the page.

Also, you can add and customize your content service listings (apps) via the Viera Connect Market. However, keep in mind that while most of the available services can be added to your list free of charge, the actual content provided by some services may require an actual paid subscription.

Of course, you also need good high-speed internet connection to access good quality movie streaming, and there is a lot of variation in the video quality of the streamed content, ranging from low-res compressed video that is hard to watch on a large screen to high-def video feeds that look more like DVD quality or slightly better. Even the 1080p content streamed from the internet will not look quite as detailed as 1080p content played directly from a Blu-ray Disc.

In addition to content services, the DMP-BDT330 also provides access to social media services, such as Facebook and Twitter.

The DMP-BDT330 also provides access to a full web browser, but the downside is that the player does not recognize a standard windows USB keyboard. This makes web browsing cumbersome as you have to use the onscreen virtual keyboard that only allows one character to be entered in at a time via the DMP-BDT330's remote control. It would be great if Panasonic gave their Blu-ray Disc players the same ability to accept a USB keyboard as their USB-equipped Smart TVs.

Media Player Functions

Panasonic DMP-BDT330 3D and Network Blu-ray Disc Player - Remote Control Photo

Panasonic DMP-BDT330 3D and Network Blu-ray Disc Player - Photo of Remote Control

Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
An added convenience incorporated into the DMP-BDT330 is the ability to play audio, video, and image files stored on USB flash drives or external hard drives (up to 2TB), SD cards, or content stored on a DLNA compatible home network. I found using either a flash drive or SD card was very easy, the onscreen control menu loaded fast and scrolling through menus and access content was fast and easy.

However, keep in mind that not all digital media file types are playback compatible - a complete list is provided in the user guide.

What I liked about the DMP-BDT330:

1. Excellent 2D and 3D Blu-ray Disc playback.

2. Very good 1080p upscaling (4K upscaling not evaluated).

3. Dual HDMI Outputs.

4. A good selection of Internet streaming content.

5. Easy-to-Use Onscreen Menu system.

6. Fast loading of both 2D and 3D Blu-ray discs.

What I didn't like about the DMP-BDT330:

1. 2D-to-3D conversion feature not that effective.

2. No analog video or audio outputs.

3. External memory required for BD-Live access.

4. Remote Control not backlit.

5. You cannot use an external USB Keyboard for web browser navigation.

6. The provided printed user manual doesn't always provide enough explanation detail, such as with dual HDMI operation.

Final Take

The DMP-BDT330 isn't perfect, but it is still a pretty impressive Blu-ray Disc player. Starting with its slim, compact design, and overall video, audio performance, and then moving into its internet streaming and network content access, this unit is worth consideration for just about any home theater system, especially if you have a 3D or 4K UltraHD TV or video projector. On the other hand, even if its 3D and 4K upscaling capabilities are not important to you, the DMP-BDT330 still offers a lot for the price.

For additional perspective on the Panasonic DMP-BDT330, also check out my Product Photos and Video Performance Test Results.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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