World's First Portable Blu-ray Player

Panasonic at CES introduced the world’s first portable Blu-ray Disc player. Sure, Blu-ray on-the-go isn’t completely new thanks to high-end laptops, but this one’s purpose-built for watching movies.

Designated the DMP-B15, the player differentiates itself from the slew of portable DVD players in its form factor. Instead of opening like a “clamshell” laptop, the DMP-B15 unfolds and stands up like a picture frame, with support behind the display. Think of a tablet PC with a stand. Along that line, it appears that the display can also be rotated like many tablets and be used in the traditional “clamshell” manner.

“Blu-ray technology came together with HDTVs to bring exciting High Definition viewing into the living room.  With the introduction of this unique portable Blu-ray Disc player, the consumer can take this HD entertainment experience when they travel,” said Richard Simone, Director, Entertainment Group, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company.

Now here’s the thing: those who are into Blu-ray typically enjoy the movies on as large and high-resolution HDTV possible. This portable player has a 8.9-inch WSVGA LCD screen that isn’t even running at 720p resolutions, wasting away much of the “high-definition.” Still, it should look better than DVD.

Panasonic estimates that the included battery should last for about three hours, making it fit to play at least one full-length feature. We find the battery life disappointing, as it's not even enough to watch two movies on a cross country flight.

The DMP-B15 will also have utility when not traveling, as it has HDMI out for use as a standalone Blu-ray Disc player. The built-in SD card reader can also be used for viewing pictures and HD video files. Once connected to the Internet, the player can also access Panasonic’s Viera Cast service for Amazon Video-on-Demand, YouTube, Google Picasa Web Album, Bloomberg and a weather channel.

Panasonic didn’t reveal pricing, but we’ll know all when it ships this May.