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1/8/2009
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Panasonic Unveils First Portable Blu-ray Disc Player

The device can also be connected to a digital TV via an HDMI cable and used as a standalone player.


Panasonic DMP-B15 Portable Blu-ray Player

Panasonic DMP-B15 Portable Blu-ray Player
(click for larger image)

Panasonic has introduced what it said is the first portable Blu-ray disc player.

The DMP-B15, unveiled Wednesday at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, features an 8.9-inch LCD screen and a three-hour rechargeable battery. The device can act as a portable player or it can be connected to a digital TV via an HDMI cable and used as a standalone player.

The device also features a slot for SD memory cards that can be used to view digital photos, as well as recorded HD video. The player includes Panasonic's Viera Cast application, which gives consumers with a broadband connection access to select entertainment Web sites. Supported sites include Amazon's video-on-demand service, YouTube, Google's Picasa photo service, the Bloomberg financial news site, and a weather channel.

The DMP-B15 is scheduled to be available in May. Pricing was not disclosed.

Panasonic also introduced at CES three camcorders each with a 70x optical ultra-zoom lens, which the vendor claims is not available from competitors. Two of the camcorders, the SDR-H80 and SDR-H90, have hard disk drives; and the third, the SDR-S26, uses an external SD memory card.

Panasonic said consumers are ready for magnification beyond the maximum 50x available on other camcorders. "Panasonic understands that consumers sometimes need that extra zoom to truly capture dynamic colors, expressions and motions when the subject is far away, such as during an on-stage school play or sporting event," Dennis Eppel, VP of Panasonic's Network Business Group, said in a statement.

Other features include software and a Web recording mode that enables users to record in a format and resolution optimal for posting on video sites, such as YouTube. The camcorders can upload Web-ready video to a PC through a USB port.

Panasonic does sell an optional DVD burner, called the VW-BN1, to record video onto a DVD directly from the camcorders.

All three camcorders are scheduled to be available in April. The SDR-H80 has a suggested retail price of $450; the SDR-H90, $500; and the SDR-S26, $330.

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