Panasonic have entered the soundbar-type speaker market, with the release of the SC-HTB10.
Soundbars work in essence like this. Under the mesh, there is an array of speakers. The array ‘fires’ the sound across the array of speakers, in sequence, which combined with some more electronic trickery, attempts to make a single box produce something akin to surround sound.
Some soundbars work better than others, and there is a bit of snobbery about this type of speaker. It is not true surround sound, but soundbars will sound better than pretty much any speaker system built into a TV. That, and they manage to do so in a reasonably small footprint, making them a good choice for small rooms.
Back to the Panasonic SC-HTB10. Installation is as easy as placing just forward of the TV, and connecting via HDMI.
If you’re looking to buy this, or indeed any other soundbar, do try and give it a listen in a store that has it set up in a smaller listening room, to give you a better sense of how it will perform in your home theatre environment.
Panasonic SC-HTB10 specifications
Output power Home Theater Mode (RMS): Total Power: 120W; Front: 30W + 30W (1kHz, 4ohms, 10% THD); Subwoofer: 60W (100Hz, 4ohms, 10% THD)
Dolby® Digital Decoder / Dolby® Pro Logic® II: Yes
Output Channel: 2.1ch
ARC (Audio Return Channel): Yes
Dolby® Virtual Speaker: Yes
Clear-mode Dialog: Yes
Full HD 3D compatible: Yes
1080p Output (x.v.Color™, Deep Color): Yes
Auto Lip Synchronisation Function: Yes
Wireless subwoofer: No
DTS™ Digital Surround: Yes
VIERA Link™ 1: Yes (HDAVI Control 5)
Remote control: Yes
HDMI terminals: Yes (1 X input [BD/DVD] / 1 x output [TV])
Digital input: Yes (1 x Optical [TV])
Front configuration: 1-way 1-speaker, Bass-reflex
Front speaker unit: 2-1/2 inch Cone Type x 2 (Advanced Bamboo Cone)