Blu-ray is also getting a boost this year, with new set-top boxes that offer more than just the ability to play back high-def media.
Available in June, Panasonic’s new DMR-BWT820 ($1099) offers 1TB of PVR storage as well as the ability to record Blu-ray and DVDs in 1080p Full HD, while also being able to playback both 3D movies and provide 2D to 3D conversion. A smaller 500GB version (DMR-BWT720) will be available in May for $899, with a slightly lower model ditching the Blu-ray recorder but still offering playback for $599 (DMR-PWT520).
Blu-ray players have also been put on a diet, with Panasonic slimming the technology down so much that it afforded one of them, the DMP-BDT320, a “Best of Innovations” award at the Consumer Electronics Show Innovations Design and Engineering Awards earlier this year.
That model will set you back $299, but offer 3D Blu-ray playback, 2D to 3D conversion, WiFi, slot-load drive, SD card slot, DLNA, Skype, and a touchpad remote control.
A couple of other Blu-ray players are coming out, ranging in price from $219 to $399 and offering the ability to control the players with a smartphone, affording customers the ability to ditch the remote and control the movies from their handset.
Finally, Panasonic TVs will also receive access to Quickflix through the VIERA Connect platform, meaning customers can grab access to streaming movies for $14.99 per month.
You’ll find many of these products heading to stores now, although some may be arriving in stores from May.