PROS / This DVD player supports the widest range of digital and physical media.
CONS / It lacks parental controls and a digital coaxial output for audio.
VERDICT / Because it relies on HDMI connections, this DVD player is great for newer TVs with HDMI inputs.
The Panasonic DVD-S68 is a standard DVD player that can play DVDs on high-definition televisions designed for Blu-ray discs. It converts each frame from the 480-pixel resolution native to all DVDs into a larger 720 or 1080 resolution. Although it cannot compare with actual Blu-ray discs in clarity or image quality, an upscaled DVD has a sharper image than would otherwise be possible on a high-definition TV set.
Unfortunately, the Panasonic DVD-S68 sips more electricity than most competitors, with a rating of 12 watts. It certainly will not triple your electricity bill, but buyers looking to minimize energy expenditure can find other DVD players that are more energy efficient. Like many other DVD players, it is capable of upscaling to resolutions of 720 or 1080 to match most HDTVs on the market.
In order to stand up to Blu-ray in recent years, DVD players have evolved quite a bit. Upscaling and HDMI connectivity have rapidly become an industry standard. More and more players come with USB and SD card compatibility. The best DVD players must also double as home media centers. We are happy to report that the Panasonic DVD-S68 delivers on all of these features. It supports upconversion and progressive scanning, which make or break DVD players in a world of HDTVs. If you purchase a DVD player that can't upconvert, the image quality of your DVD collection will be inferior or even completely incompatible with your HDTV. We also like the USB connection, which allows the DVD player to double as a media center. No longer will you have to endure the tedious process of burning CDs to be able to listen to the music stored on your computer.
Unfortunately, this DVD isn't a perfect bed of roses. It lacks parental controls of any kind, which is a disappointment. Most competitors provide at least some measure of parental filtration. This weakness can be mitigated somewhat if your TV comes with built-in parental controls, but it would have been nice to see it built into the player.
Furthermore, connection options can be problematic. It has an HDMI connection, which is the quickest and easiest way to wire things up, but it lacks an S-video connection. If you own a television that requires this type of connection, this DVD player is not going to work for you. Fortunately, most TVs these days come with the highly desirable HDMI cable slot, which is much easier to set up. Perhaps more crippling is the lack of a digital coaxial output, which is a very common connection for home audio systems.
This standard DVD player touts the best and widest multimedia options of any other DVD player we reviewed. It is adept at playing music and photos via the USB drive. In addition to DVDs, DVD-Rs and DVD-RWs, this standard DVD player can also play dual layer DVDs, CDs, VCDs and SVCDs, some of which have a reputation for problematic playback in other DVD players. Best of all, it plays NTSC discs and PAL discs, which gives you the freedom to watch movies purchased anywhere in the world without fear of format compatibility (though you may still encounter problems with region codes.) No other DVD player we reviewed plays as many different disc types or supports as many different types of digital media.
Although it is not massive or unwieldy, the Panasonic DVD-S68 is not exactly dainty when compared with rival DVD players. It weighs 3.44 pounds, which is a little bit heavier than the industry average. It is a standard size over all, measuring 16.93 x 8.21 inches, but it looks comparatively slim with a height of only 1.5 inches.
This standard DVD player comes with a one-year warranty on parts and labor, which is pretty good. Even the smaller accessories (such as the rechargeable batteries) are covered by a 90-day warranty. As always, if you encounter a problem, try troubleshooting with the manual and the FAQs section online before you submit a warranty claim. For the quickest possible response, try the online live chat feature or the provided phone line. You can also send an email for additional assistance.
The Panasonic DVD-S68 is a good choice for buyers who own a newer television with HDMI connections. The good support system provided by the manufacturer and the fantastic media capability are just a few reasons for you to consider this standard DVD player. However, if you need parental controls or an S-video or digital coaxial connection, this DVD player may not be the one for you.