Panasonic DMP-BDT370 review

Netflix, Amazon Instant and 4K upscaling star on this 3D deck that's all about picture quality

Panasonic DMP-BDT370
Netflix, Amazon Instant and 4K upscaling star on this 3D deck that's all about picture quality

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Is 4K upscaling, 3D support and a dated smart TV OS enough for a Blu-ray player to succeed?

With Ultra HD Blu-ray players incoming, that's hard to argue, but there's no doubting the core talents of the DMP-BDT370 as a pure disc spinner fit for the 4K future.

We liked

4K upscaling is hard to fault, as is 2D and 3D playback on a Full HD telly.

Edges are well defined, colours and contrast are awesome, and there's plenty of app action going on with Netflix, Amazon Instant and (in the UK), the BBC iPlayer all featured.

While it's not the best smart TV system around – it's been surpassed by Panasonic itself on its latest Firefox OS TVs – it perhaps deserves a dedicated button on the remote control. That would help complement what is a very simple user interface to navigate.

On digital file handling, the DMP-BDT370 is competent in an old-fashioned kind of way. A bunch of regular HD and SD videos in the AVI, MP4, MKV, MPEG-2 and AVC HD video formats all played without hassle, as did an impressive array of audio files. MP3, M4 and WMA were expected, but the DMP-BDT370 also plays lossless music files such as WAV and FLAC music files.

I also liked the idea of installing – at the touch of a button or two – your own photo as a backdrop to the otherwise rather drab-looking Home page.

Panasonic DMP-BDT370

4K JPEG photos looked great on the DMP-BDT370, as did some 3D photos taken in the MPO format using a Panasonic compact camera.

We disliked

As the flagship deck for 2015, the DMP-BDT370 needs more features to persuade me that's it's worth the hike from the near-identical DMP-BDT270.

I would like to have seen a smaller physical size and perhaps an SD Card slot on the front alongside the dual USB slots. Besides, 2D-3D conversion isn't an add-on worth paying for.

The huge Netflix button, while understandable, is ill-judged. Not only will it make users of Amazon Instant jealous, but its placement just above the navigation buttons on the DMP-BDT370's remote is too close. It's so close to the 'up' button that it's far too easy to mis-press. Before you know it you could be binging on one of the hundreds of awful movies on Netflix when all you wanted to do was to check a setting.

Besides, that remote control is way too small.

A shortcut to the smart TV pages would have been much better, though that's another gripe; apps on the DMP-BDT370 are hidden too well and the language used in the OS is oddly formal.

I also had an issue with 4K file support; there is none. I tried to play a bevy of 4K files, including uncompressed MOV, MP4 and TS files all stored a on a USB stick. All I got in return from the DMP-BDT370 was 'cannot play this title. Video resolution not supported,' which underlines that this is not, in fact, a 4K deck at all.

Luckily, almost all Ultra HD 4K TVs themselves – which the DMP-BDT370 is surely destined to partner until the arrival of dedicated 4K Blu-ray players – can already handle such files.

It's also worth noting two slight niggles. The DMP-BDT370 is noticeably loud during playback, while the second USB slot under the flap on the front is overkill.

Final verdict

The DMP-BDT370 is as accomplished with Blu-ray – upscaled to 4K and otherwise – as it is underwhelming in so-called smart features. It's also got a rather confusing position in the Panasonic hierarchy.

The stiffest competition for the DMP-BDT370 comes from within Panasonic's own line-up for 2015. Compared to the step-down DMP-BDT270, the DMP-BDT370 adds only an extra USB slot on the front, 4K JPEG playback and 2D-3D conversion.

For those two features, there's a big increase in the physical size and, of course, the latter has a higher price. Oh, and the chance to buy a silver version, the DMP-BDT371, in addition to the black model we reviewed.

It's a fine deck judged purely on picture quality, but I'm not convinced that the DMP-BDT370 does enough to be considered the flagship model of 2015.

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),