Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blu Ray Media: Panasonic Review

Blu Ray blank media guide : Best Blu Ray media brands
Best Blu Ray Media Brands Part 10: Panasonic Media/ Discs Review

Panasonic manufactures its own media, and, like most Japanese media brands, has an excellent record in the DVD blank media market. It is not densely implanted in the US market, probably because quality media costs more, and the US market for DVD media is more focused on price. Panasonic Blu Ray media is rather expensive in the US market, and can be found mostly in jewel case distribution packs, often on the high end of the Blu Ray market, i.e. in DL (Dual Layer, i.e. double capacity to 50GB) and BD-RE (rewritable, rather than write-once, media) formats, both of which are more expensive than the run-of-the-mill BD-R format (write-once, 25GB capacity).

To our surprise, we found that Panasonic gets a poor uncorrected rating of 43%, almost solely due to problems with BD-RE and BD-RE DL formats. Panasonic rewritable media appears to frequently fail at rewriting after a small number of rewrites (20-30), when the Blu Ray specifications call for 1,000 rewrite cycles. Users who pay the premium price required of the highly thought of Panasonic media are understandingly upset at the disappointing result. The brand's poor performance was all the more surprising to us that Panasonic actually scores highest among all DVD media in quality, even higher than the traditional leader among aficionados, Taiyo Yuden/ JVC.

Because of Panasonic's spotty distribution in the US, we were only able to find 14 user reviews for its Blu Ray media. This was not an unexpected find, since, in our research on DVD media, Panasonic had shown the lowest number of reviews in the industry among the brands we surveyed. As mentioned above, Panasonic averaged a low uncorrected rating of 43%. To create our predictive quality rating for Optical Quantum Blu Ray media, we added an equivalent of 10 user reviews with the brand's excellent DVD media rating of 95% (best of all DVD media), according to our standard Blu Ray media process. Because of the low number of user reviews available for Panasonic, we took down the resulting rating by 14% to bring it within 5% of the low end of the statistical margin of error (at 95% certainty).

Panasonic's predictive Blu Ray quality rating is 51%, a shockingly low rating for the brand. Clearly, we expect this rating to go up, as user reviews accumulate and the statistical correction decreases, and as Panasonic fixes its problem with rewritable media. Until then, or until we can find a statistically significant number of reviews for Panasonic's BD-R (write-once) media, we cannot recommend Panasonic for Blu Ray media.

  • Panasonic's Blu Ray media predictive quality rating is 51%, a poor result for this high end brand, which OEMs its own media.
  • The rating should trend up by 10-20% as more user reviews appear, but is limited at this time by a significant problem in Panasonic BD-RE technology.
  • Panasonic Blu ray media failure mode primarily affects BD-RE media, which appears to fail after a low number of rewrite cycles (20-30).
  • At this time, despite Panasonic's outstanding record as a manufacturer of DVD media, we cannot recommend the brand's Blu Ray media products. We expect this to change in the future, when Panasonic fixes its BD-RE production problems.
Next we review Ritek blank Blu Ray media... So come back soon!

To understand Blu Ray lingo, check our lexicon of Blu Ray vocabulary. Our Blu Ray brand predictive quality rating process is explained here. Our statistical analysis practices are described here, which is also where we discuss's predictive quality rating.

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