Panasonic’s Next Steps in Blu-ray & Audio Tech
Panasonic is showcasing its latest audio and video technology performance enhancements in its newest two Blu-ray player models and in its first new A/V control receiver.
The flagship DMP-BD55 and the DMP-BD35, which replace the BD50 and BD30, respectively, in October at prices yet to be announced, feature built-in BD-Live capability and SD Memory Card slots. Their PHL Chroma Processor Plus technology offers higher image delineation and clearer differences between color borders, said Tetsuya Itani, chief engineer of Panasonic’s Advanced Development Team/Product Engineering Group, who gave a demonstration of the players’ technical merits at a New York briefing yesterday. They use a new LSI that Itani said represents “an evolution in vertical chroma upsampling.”
Both decode HD Audio, and the 55 decodes 7.1-channel analog; it is also endowed with gold-plated connectors and other top-grade construction features.
Both models are also “greener” than their predecessors, consuming 20 percent less power by virtue of their new chipsets, according to Itani.
The players also carry i/p conversion technology, which helps improve rendering of 1080i source material such as music videos in 1080p.
The SA-BX500 A/V receiver (October; $799.95), said Paul Sabo, national marketing manager for audio, is “Panasonic’s first significant component A/V receiver in three years…We’re long overdue with this type of product,” he added. “This is a first step for us.”
Sabo said that receiver was the first of its kind in the industry to provide an automatic bi-amp/bi-wiring scheme – proprietary to Panasonic – that makes it unnecessary to physically reconfigure wiring to switch from 7.1 to two-channel. The receiver also has Automation Lip Synchronization, which matches the image to the audio, when necessary. An added convenience is the choice of using wireless rear or multi-room speakers with the component, with the addition of an optional transceiver.