Panasonic's DMP-BDT100 Blu-ray 3D player is currently one of the least expensive options for 3D Blu-ray playback, but this doesn't mean it sacrifices performance for the sake of cost savings. The player offers a robust set of streaming options (Netflix, Amazon VOD, YouTube, Pandora, etc.) as well as very good DVD upconversion and outstanding Blu-ray playback, for the same price as many standard 2D Blu-ray players. UPDATE: VUDU is now also available on the BDT100 via a recent firmware and server update.
The player lacks some features compared to the top of the line DMP-BDT350: no dual HDMI output (only needed if you are using this with an older non 3D-compliant receiver), no multichannel analog outputs (for use with non-HDMI receivers) and no built-in WiFi networking (can be added via the Panasonic Wireless LAN Adapter). It also offers a fairly clunky user interface lacking the modern graphic-driven GUI that you see on current LG and Samsung Blu-ray players, though it is superior to the user menu on the Pioneer players. But the DMP-BDT100 provides all the basics, and several advanced features, as well as strong high def video and audio performance. The player passes all the upconversion and film cadence detection tests on the "Spears and Munsil" and "HQV Benchmark" DVDs and Blu-ray Discs with flying colors and also offers enhanced 4:4:4 color output with 24p (24 frame/second) output options for both DVDs and Blu-ray Discs. If silver discs are primarily how you watch your movies, then there is little to fault in the BDT100.
We did notice a peculiarity with Netflix streaming on the BDT100. Streaming SD content from Netflix, we observed something called the "CUE" (chroma upsampling error or "chroma bug"). This is something that can occur when a compressed video source has its color information upconverted to restore color detail lost in the compression process. On the BDT100, this upconversion is imperfect, which can cause visible color banding or jagged edges on the borders between colors. The problem is only noticeable on standard definition Netflix streaming content. Netflix HD, standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc playback do not exhibit this issue. And frankly, those with untrained eyes might not even notice it. It becomes more evident as you move to larger screens (e.g., front projection systems), but it can be viewed on some Netflix SD content even at the more common 42-inch and up screen sizes. As to whether this issue is a deal-breaker to you or not, that depends on how much standard def streaming you do from Netflix, and whether the chroma bug is something that bothers you. But we would be remiss not to mention it. According to our contacts at Panasonic, they are aware of the issue and are working toward a fix.
If Netflix SD content is not a part of your streaming media diet, then we give the BDT100 an unqualified recommendation. But if you do find yourself watching a lot of standard def streaming content on Netflix then you may want to look elsewhere or wait to see if Panasonic can deliver a fix to this issue on the BDT100.
Our more detailed review of the player is available on our web site at Big Picture Big Sound (dot com).