The huge drawback of this player (like most) is that it's locked to region B for blu rays, meaning many of my import discs are unplayable on it. Or so I thought!
The player can be purchased from various outlets in a modified form allowing multi region playback, but this comes at considerable cost. Another option is "enhanced firmware" which will doubtless render your warranty useless and again doesn't come cheap. As it turns out neither option is necessary, as a simple sequence of button presses results in the player playing any blu ray you care to throw at it. When I say simple I mean simple, not like some remote control region hacks that require finger dexterity beyond the limits of reason. Press two buttons and that's that, region free nirvana!
Insert your region A blu ray, in this case Blue Underground's release of Django (the only one of their blu rays to be coded), and wait for it to spin up. Once it has done you will see an onscreen message complaining of a region mismatch as below.
When this happens press stop on your remote (one down and one to go), the message will disappear and then you need to press the Top Menu button. The player will spring back into action, and load the disc, and that's all there is to it.
|Title card while playing|
I have no idea how this has slipped through the net at Panasonic, but it seems unlikely to be accidental. It's something I've never come across before and qualifies as a fantastic bonus. It was something completely unexpected and really sweetened the pain of having to buy a replacement. So if you find yourself in a similar position of needing a new player with a region free option, this is going to be pretty hard to beat.
It seems to work across the full range, and I can confirm it works on the much more expensive mid range 330 model. I suspect it will also work on the brand's previous models in the same series, but cannot confirm that. Curiously it doesn't work with dvds, though this is pretty easy to circumvent with a remote control device available on ebay for around £12 which will make it region free for dvd. I see no reason why this wouldn't work on players from other regions such as the US, to allow region B playback. If anyone can confirm this please leave a comment.