It does everything youd expect from a Blu-ray deck, such as playing 3D discs, CDs and DVDs, but with built-in Wi-Fi you can also stream video content from a few online services and play your own media over a network. You can also play these from USB devices and external hard-disk drives FAT32 and NTFS.The DMP-BDT260 is one of six new players in the range, offering a better spec than the entry-level DMP-BD81 and DMP-BDT160, neither of which offer Wi-Fi. A series of tiles arranged in a cross corresponds with the direction pad on the remote, and a single press of the up, down, left or right keys takes you to the relevant function.Predictably though, the decks build quality isnt particularly impressive.
If youre after Miracast screen mirroring and 4K upscaling, youll have to step up to the DMP-BDT360.Its slim and relatively compact too, measuring 312mm wide by 44mm high, and the curved corners are a nice touch. On the front of the player is a USB port that allows you to play media from external HDDs storage devices and a red LED that glows when switched on. This is only the simple version though well check out the full Internet Apps menu when we review the DMP-BDT360.
Theres BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube, Picasa, Facebook, Twitter, BBC News and BBC Sport.The deck also loads discs quickly. The only flaw is that the Home and Netflix buttons are placed too close to the direction keys, and when youre navigating without looking its very easy to press it accidentally. Regular discs with little Java content take as little as 10 seconds to start playing, while the trickier Terminator Salvation took 33 seconds.
Theres a 3D-capable HDMI output and an Ethernet port, which is handy if you prefer a wired internet connection.SEE ALSO: Panasonic DMP-BDT220Panasonic DMP-BDT260 Design and ConnectionsBudget Blu-ray players arent usually known for their looks, but as weve seen from the Sony BDP-S5200 and now the DMP-BDT260, manufacturers are putting more effort in these days. The unusual lack of digital audio outputs means youll need a receiver with HDMI sockets if you want to enjoy multichannel sound.Hit the Options button while a disc is playing and a menu is superimposed over the picture, offering a range of disc navigation tools and picture adjustments.
Panasonics deck features a striking brushed silver top panel, which contrasts nicely with the gloss black side panels. Being one of Panasonics lower-priced decks, the BDT260 offers a simple array of apps, whereas the DMP-BDT360, 460 and 700 bring you a wider selection.VerdictA likeable Blu-ray player with some pleasing features and eye-catching looks, but similarly-priced rivals offer a bit more for your money.On the back are even fewer sockets than the Sony BDP-S5200.
Its quick and easy to follow, plus the colourful graphics and crisp, modern text make it easy on the eye. Its a shame Panasonic makes this distinction, given that Samsung and Sony offer the same content across the range. Above it are the DMP-BDT360, DMP-BDT460 and the flagship DMP-BDT700. The subsequent menus carry on like this until you reach your destination.
Panasonic has also revamped its internet content portal, ditching the clunky multi-layer Viera Connect menu for a grid of large tiles. DLNA performance is sluggish, plus internet content and features are limited compared with the Sony and Samsung. You can even fiddle with 3D pictures, with a distance setting that affects depth perception.Next, read our Best Blu-ray players roundup.
Theres no display panel, so if you want to find out disc running times and the like youll need to hit the Status button and view it onscreen. Theyre slow and uncooperative in places though, particularly when scrolling through pages of music tracks, for instance.If the picture isnt quite to your taste, theres a range of adjustments in the Options menu.Panasonic DMP-BDT260 PerformanceThe DMP-BDT260 does a faultless job of pulling pixels off a Blu-ray disc, resulting in stunning hi-def picture quality on your TV.
The silver top panel has a cheap plasticky feel and its so light were worried it might float away. Moving onto the Silicon Optix HQV disc, the DMP-BDT260 displays the torture tests with admirable stability.Its not a bad selection though. Its much easier to navigate and easier on the eye.
The Desolation of Smaug disc looks resplendent, bursting with crisp CG detail and natural looking colours. To be fair though, lightweight build quality is par for the course at this price so it would be churlish to judge it too harshly. Theres some flickering in the vertical striped boxes of the Film Resolution Loss test, but the jaggies and Video Resolution Loss tests look solid and stable, which suggests theres some decent video processing at play, despite its budget price tag.Panasonic DMP-BDT260: What’s it like to useLike Sony, Panasonic has taken an if it aint broke approach to the main menu, sticking with the same layout as the past few generations.
You can also stream videos, music and photos from devices PCs, NAS drives etc connected to your home network. When browsing DLNA menus or USB content, the displays are drab and simplistic large blocks of yellow on top of grey backgrounds but they get the job done.The remote sticks to the usual Panasonic blueprint, which means chunky rubber keys, foolproof labelling and an intuitive layout. So if youre after a Blu-ray deck for the bedroom or living room the DMP-BDT260 is a decent purchase, but you can get more for your money it might also be worth waiting to see what Panasonics step-up players have in store.
These include three presets Normal, Soft and Fine and a User mode that lets you adjust the levels of contrast, brightness, sharpness and colour.Should I buy the Panasonic DMP-BDT260The DMP-BDT260 is a solid Blu-ray player that ticks most of the boxes, but overall it falls short of the quality shown by the similarly-priced Sony BDP-S5200 and Samsung BD-H6500.Elsewhere the DMP-BDT260 offers decoding and bitstream output of Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio, plus a multi-user mode that lets different people tweak the look of the Home menu. Its also disappointing that our hi-def videos would only play in SD, and often froze when we tried to fast-forward them.
This is a case of quality over quantity, although ITV Player and 4oD would have made it even better. However, it does offer sparkling picture quality, a slick menu system and stylish looks. It handles MKV, XviD, AVCHD, MP4, AVI, JPEG, MP3, FLAC, AAC, WMA and LPCM.Panasonics latest budget Blu-ray player offers a cost-effective way of bringing hi-def movie playback and online content into your living room or bedroom.
Bright outdoor scenes obviously bring the biggest wow factor when Bilbo climbs the tree and looks across at Lake Town, the clarity and colour subtlety in the scenery is eye-popping but the deck also picks out all the shadow detail and shades of black in the gloomy surroundings of Dol Guldur.SEE ALSO: Samsung BD-H6500Panasonic DMP-BDT260 FeaturesThe DMP-BDT260s feature list is headlined by a range of Internet Apps, which Panasonic is no longer calling Viera Connect. Panasonic calls this a Multi-directional Visual Design, which means you get the benefit of the elegant styling no matter where youre sitting. Thank you for reading.