Panasonic DMP-BDT160 review

3D and wired access to Netflix justify the price, but other apps are in short supply

Panasonic DMP-BDT160 review
Great Value

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Though it indulges in basic wired networking and digital file layback, there's not enough in the way of versatility or app content to make the DMP-BDT160 a bona fide smart machine. Instead, it must live or die by its core Blu-ray playback skills and, as usual, that's exactly where Panasonic excels.

We liked

The DMP-BDT160 works fast, taking about four seconds to load a disc when in Quick Start Mode. That's impressive, and so is its picture quality, which from the moody intro to the Netflix-sourced House of Cards to the rich landscapes of 12 Years A Slave on 2D Blu-ray produces pin-sharp yet smooth and warm-looking images.

Gravity from a 3D Blu-ray disc impresses, too, as do low quality MOV files taken with a smartphone. Digital file support is via a basic GUI, but file support is wide enough.

Though it's a very basic user interface, I enjoyed using only the directional buttons - there's far less need to keep pressing the OK button compared to most machines. The DMP-BDT160 has a more solid build quality than most, and it's very quiet in operation, too.

We disliked

There are few must-have apps on the DMP-BDT160, and using the apps that do exist demands insertion of a minimum-1GB USB stick into the front of the machine, which is a bit of an unsightly hassle.

Without WiFi, too, the DMP-BDT160 will be harder to position than most decks costing this much - unless you invest in Panasonic's DY-WL5 wireless LAN adaptor, which rules out USB stick playback. There's no web browser and no SD Card slot, which is unusual on Panasonic kit.

Final verdict

While 2D, 3D, upscaled DVD and digital video files all impress, it's a jump to call the DMP-BDT160 good value. Being priced higher than all other entry-level Blu-ray decks isn't the negative it could be, but the DMP-BDT160 lacks WiFi.

That's problem because the WiFi dongle costs about £50, while the step-up DMP-BDT260 - which merely adds WiFi - costs just £109. If WiFi isn't important and you're looking for the best quality images, and perhaps Netflix and BBC iPlayer for good measure, the DMP-BDT160 is a good option.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),