Though prices vary widely, the Panasonic DMP-BD60K is among the best choices for those shopping for a low-priced Blu-ray player. First and foremost, picture quality with Blu-ray Discs is terrific. The DMP-BD60K also does a great job with standard-definition DVDs. Though performance is not perfect, it is better than most Blu-ray players at its price point, and it's better than some more expensive options.
The mix of features has some hits and misses. On the plus side, this is a BD-Live-compliant player and offers streaming from the Internet. On the minus side, a 1 GB SD memory card is required for BD-Live features, and that costs extra. Internet streaming partners include Amazon Video on Demand, but not Netflix. However, if you want to enjoy Internet streaming -- or BD-Live for that matter -- you'll need to have an Ethernet connection close at hand because there's no Wi-Fi radio. Decoders for the latest HD audio formats (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio) are built in, but you will need a newer home theater receiver (with HDMI inputs) to enjoy those, because analog multichannel audio outputs are nowhere to be found. Operational speeds aren't terrible, but they are bested by many of the latest Blu-ray players, including the LG BD390. That LG player is fast, offers great picture quality and has tons of features including built-in memory, Netflix streaming, Wi-Fi and analog multichannel outputs. However, it is also notably more expensive. A step-up version of the Panasonic DMP-BD60K is available. However, while the Panasonic DMP-BD80K (*Est. $190) adds multichannel analog audio outputs and a few other minor pluses, performance and picture quality are identical.
We found a good selection of professional and user reviews for the Panasonic DMP-BD60K. It is included in a budget Blu-ray player comparison at Sound & Vision magazine, and is the subject of fairly detailed individual reviews at CNET, Home Theater magazine and PC World. The report at Bluray-Players.net is testing-based but not nearly as detailed. User reviews can be found at Amazon.com.
1. Sound & Vision Magazine
Sound & Vision magazine tests three relatively inexpensive Blu-ray players, including the Panasonic DMP-BD60K. Testing is comprehensive, though we would have liked to see a little more discussion of the pluses and minuses of each player. Though some disappointments are noted, the DMP-BD60K comes out on top in terms of image quality with both Blu-ray Discs and DVDs.
Review: Battle of the Sub-$300 Blu-ray Players, Al Griffin, July 2009
2. Home Theater Magazine
Though Kris Deering is uninspired by the Internet streaming offered by the DMP-BD60K, he says that for the price, "Panasonic delivers a Blu-ray player that's hard to beat." He adds that video performance is better than most higher-priced Blu-ray players he's tested, saying, "You'd be pretty hard-pressed to find material of any kind, standard def or high def, that doesn't look great on this player."
Review: Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray Player, Kris Deering, June 2009
Although the Panasonic DMP-BD60K makes CNET's list of top Blu-ray players, it finishes fairly far down. Image quality is fine, but Matthew Moskovciak dings the player for lacking features found in some competitors, such as Wi-Fi, Netflix streaming and built-in memory. He also complains that the player is slow compared with other new models.
Review: Panasonic DMP-BD60K, Matthew Moskovciak, March 27, 2009
4. PC World
Though not as detailed as some reviews, PC World's review of the DMP-BD60K is based on testing. Slow operation is noted, and some quibbles are made about unhelpful on-screen displays, but few other negatives are pointed out. Picture quality is called "stellar" and the design is called "terrific."
Review: Panasonic DMP-BD60K , Lincoln Spector, Dec. 21, 2009
After more than 390 user-written reports, the Panasonic DMP-BD60K has racked up an impressive record of owner satisfaction as almost all give it a rating of 4 or 5 stars out of 5. The few complaints center on freezing issues with certain discs and difficulties in updating the firmware to the latest version.
Review: Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray Disc Player, Contributors to Amazon.com
Though there are less than half as many user reviews here as at Amazon.com, the pattern of customer satisfaction is the same. Impressively, more than 90 percent of posters say that they would recommend the player to a friend.
Review: Panasonic DMP-BD60K, Contributors to BestBuy.com
This site publishes reviews that dwell more on features and appearance than performance, but it does seem that someone is at least looking at the players, including the Panasonic DMP-BD60K, which lands on second place on a list of top Blu-ray choices. Still, we see nothing here that can't be gleaned from any of the review sites we rank higher.
Review: Panasonic DMP-BD60, Editors of Bluray-Players.net