I get tons of e-mails saying "Eric, I love Blu-ray almost as much as I love you, but when will I be able to take it on the go in a smallish all-in-one package?" Now, these e-mails are usually from my fiancee, my mother, or whomever else I've paid off to make me feel good about myself that week, but I'm sure a lot of you have been wondering the same thing.
On Monday, Panasonic announced that its DMP-B15, the world's purported first portable all-in-one Blu-ray player, will be available in June for a suggested retail price of $800. OK, my initial reaction to that price was probably a lot like yours--a mixture of loud obscenities and some crying. Then I remembered the portable DVD players that came out early this millennium at about the same price. Doesn't really make me feel better, just slightly less surprised I guess.
The B15 features a 8.9-inch WSVGA LCD screen and includes Panasonic's Viera Cast Internet accessibility and BD Live functionality, as well as an SD Memory Card slot.
Panasonic says the portable player includes all the technology found in its standalone counterparts, the DMP-BD60, DMP-BD80, and the VHS/Blu-ray dual player DMP-BD70V.
The player features PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus technology, an image-processing technology that processes each pixel of the Blu-ray Disc video signal in the vertical direction. According to Panasonic, this reproduces color data with twice the accuracy of conventional systems, supposedly resulting in faithful and sharp colors.
The DMP-B15 also includes Viera Cast functionality. The feature requires an Internet connection and gives the player access to select Web sites, including Amazon Video-on-Demand, YouTube, Google's Picasa Web Album, Bloomberg, and a weather channel.
Unfortunately, Panasonic rates the reachable battery at 2.5 hours, so no one-charge "Lawrence of Arabia" viewings I guess. The player can also be used as a standalone BD player via its HDMI connection and can connect to an AV receiver to deliver HD audio.
OK, so they did throw a lot in there for the price, so those of you that can justify spending $800 on this will probably be satisfied just as I'm sure those of us with not as much disposable income will find features missing.
Check out the video below to see the player in action.