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Panasonic BD655 Review

The Panasonic BD655 is an entry level Blu-ray player with online connectivity and streaming apps but suffers from minimal file format in spite of having both USB and SD card slots on the front panel. If you have a lot of DivX material and other formats you’re out of luck. The BD655 only supports mainstream file formats such as JPEGs, MP3s and AVC lite from Panasonic digital cameras.

The BD655 does turn on quickly and is ready to play both Blu-rays and DVDs in seconds rather than minutes. The sound and picture is pretty much perfect as you would expect from Blu-ray. It’s also easy to pop in an SD card for watching the dailies. However, beyond the basics the performance rapidly deteriorates.

Launching the online apps is painful. The menu structure is clever and easy to navigate but it just takes too darn long to refresh the screen. Many Blu-ray players run on Java and while that’s good for updates and such these systems are often underpowered. So software feels like you would expect software to feel running on an underpowered system. Slooowww.

The firmware update was also painful. It just took a really long time. We confirmed it was not our network just a slow process. We didn’t notice any performance improvements with the latest firmware either.

If all you’re interested in is playing shiny discs than the Panasonic BD655 is a solid choice simply because it loads so quickly and comes with a decent remote. But if you’re interested in the online apps such as Pandora and Netflix we’d recommend looking elsewhere. Samsung is a better choice with much richer file format support despite the slow boot and touch controls on its fingerprint happy glossy products.

Visit Panasonic for more information.

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