I'll still wading through all the CES news, and didn't want to forget mentioning the new Blu-ray players from Panasonic and Pioneer, including the world's first portable Blu-ray player, the Panasonic DMP-B15 (pictured above). It includes an 8.9-inch screen, an HDMI port to connect it to an HDTV, an SD card slot, and even BD-Live (Profile 2.0) support. Pricing wasn't announced, but Panasonic says it's coming in May.
The company also has three component-sized players in the works for this year, including a nod to the not-so-old days with the DMP-BD70V Blu-ray/VHS combo unit. It promises upconversion for those VHS tapes as well as standard DVDs, though it will be interesting to see just how well that taped video quality can be improved. The main differences between the DMP-BD60 and DMP-BD80 are that the latter has analog out for 7.1 surround sound audio, along with a playback information window that displays image info during video playback. These three players also support BD-Live technology and Panasonic's Viera Cast Internet-based services like streaming content from Amazon Video on Demand. No pricing or availability dates have been disclosed.
Sadly, Pioneer wasn't introducing any new plasmas in Vegas, having released its latest ones at CEDIA last fall. It did announce three new Blu-ray players, however, all of which will support BD-Live interactive features. Closer to the value end of the spectrum, the BDP-120 (pictured above) comes with a 1GB flash drive that you can connect to the player's USB port for BD-Live-related storage, while the step-up BDP-320 has its gigabyte of storage built in. It also comes 48-bit deep color support, a suite of video adjustment options, and advanced noise reduction circuitry. For those looking for an even higher-end unit, the Elite BDP-23FD has an RS-232C interface to make it easier to link with home automation systems often used with custom home theater installations as well as precision quartz lock system (PQLS) that reduce jitter from high-definition audio transmission. All come with a built-in Ethernet port, which is necessary for any Web-based BD-Live features. The good news is you won't have to break the bank for the BDP-120it's being reported to be priced at $249 when it arrives in April. According to CE Pro, the BDP-320 will cost $399, and the Elite BDP-23FD is priced at $599.