New from British speaker company Bowers & Wilkins is what's being described as "a new breed of soundbar": it's called Panorama, goes on sale in April at £1500, and is designed to "do for your flatscreen TV what the iconic Zeppelin did for your iPod".
Panorama is a true one-box surround system: B&W says it uses nine drive units and digital signal processing to create a package able to deliver deep bass without the need for an external subwoofer, as well as surround sound from a single housing.
Of those drivers, no fewer than five are used in the centre channel section: an aluminium dome tweeter using the company's Nautilus Tube Loaded technology, two midrange drivers and two woofers.175W of Class D amplificationThe other four drivers are used to provide the other channels, each in its own housing to avoid interference, and the whole unit is driven by six Class D amps, with a total output of 175W. The company says this design, housed in aluminium just like the Zeppelin, produces sufficent bass for even quite large rooms, and only in huge spaces will a subwooofer be needed.
Panorama is also designed to sound good in stereo, and even integrate into multiroom installations: it has three digital inputs - two optical and one electrical - and two stereo analogue inputs. But the company has avoided video switching, in the quest for audio quality.
Designed to suit flatscreen TVs of 37in or larger, Panorama can be used on its own feet or using the wall-mounting bracket provided.