Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray Player Comparisons & Conclusion

Comparisons & Conclusion
I've spent much of this review comparing the BD50 to its predecessor, the BD30, and to the king-of-the-hill PS3. The PS3 beats all other players in responsiveness and produces an impressive 1080p/24 picture, but it isn't perfect. It doesn't have the hardware to allow bitstream output, it's incompatible with IR remotes without buying additional equipment, and it doesn't have 5.1 analog outputs. The fan can also be quite loud, which wasn't an issue until the December 2007 firmware update, so this is something that can be fixed via software.

The BD50 and BD30 are very similar in their performance and aesthetics, with the exception of Profile 2.0 and internal decoding of high-resolution audio on the BD50. It targets a much larger audience by offering more audio flexibility and delivers a great movie experience for those who own older audio equipment, but at a premium price.

With the PS3 currently selling for $399 and $499, it delivers lightning fast operation and Profile 2.0 support. But if a standalone player is in your sights and you want full Profile 2.0 capabilities, the BD50 is the only game in town. It won't win any speed races compared with the PS3, but it offers an upgrade in audio performance and stellar video playback of Blu-ray discs.

Stellar audio & video performance with Blu-ray
Bitstream output of Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD Master Audio
Internal decoding of Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD Master Audio

Only 5.1 analog outputs
Mediocre DVD performance
SD memory card not included