Almost a month after we gave the Panasonic DMP-BDT210 our Editors' Choice Award, we've noticed an increasing numbers of users complaining about Netflix streaming issues.
The large number of user reviews on both CNET and Amazon complaining about Netflix problems makes us believe it's not an isolated issue. And the complaints about Netflix streaming have also showed up on other Panasonic Blu-ray players, too.
For our part, we experienced flawless Netflix streaming during our testing period and we also streamed a few Netflix titles on our Panasonic DMP-BDT210 review sample yesterday (using Wi-Fi) without any problems. And it's worth pointing out that there are plenty of user reviews also without Netflix issues and the overall "star" rating on Amazon is still relatively high at four stars.
This isn't the first time user reviews (especially on Blu-ray players) have contradicted CNET reviews. We examined why that sometimes happens back in 2009: our review periods are relatively short, dissatisfied users may be more likely to post a review, and products with Wi-Fi can often have issues in different environments. We consider user reviews to be an important part of CNET that provide additional perspective we can't include in our review process.
As it stands now, we're not rescinding the Editors' Choice Award or modifying the rating. The Panasonic DMP-BDT210, as we reviewed it, is the best Blu-ray player we've tested, but there are obviously a lot of owners having trouble with Netflix. If we had those kind of problems during our review, it would be a big knock--Netflix streaming is one of the most important aspects of a Blu-ray player these days. Still, it's tough to knock a product for an issue we haven't experienced.
We'll continue to monitor the issue and in the meantime we're adding an editor's note to the review linking to this story. If you own a 2011 Panasonic Blu-ray player, we encourage you to leave a user opinion (positive or negative) about your Netflix experience to give other buyers a better idea of what to expect.
We contacted Panasonic about the issue, but we did not receive a reply in time for this story. We'll update this post if we receive a response.