Panasonic's DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player gets US release

If you're looking for a standalone Blu-ray player that hits all the checkmarks, make room for the Panasonic DMP-BD50 on your list. After being teased with this unit at CES, only to see it go to European consumers first, it's finally official in the US of A. BD-Live support gets tops billing in the press release, so rest assured that once the floodgates of internet-enabled additional content are opened, you'll be ready to surf. Considerably more usable right now, the next-gen Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA audio codecs (also with in-player decoding) are there as well. Good stuff, but the $700 MSRP is little extreme for what amounts to an internet-enabled disc spinner, and won't exactly be invigorating those struggling Blu-ray player sales.

[Thanks, Mike S]