Panasonic SC-BT100
Panasonic reveals Blu-ray player and cinema system line-up for 2008

Panasonic showed its new Blu-ray range at Abbey Road studios last night, alongside a full range of Freesat TVs, a new AV amp and a preview of the first ever Disney Blu-ray release with BD Live functions. Introducing the new range of Freesat TVs, UK Marketing Director Andrew Denham showed an impressive live BBC HD broadcast of the Russia v Spain Euro 2008 match. Commenting on the new range, Denham said: "It's about the home network, it's about the home hub" before showing some HD camera stills and footage passed to the TV using the SD card socket. He went on to explain that the range features two tuners, both Freesat and Freeview, mentioning that the Freeview tuner also analogue capability built-in. Recordable Freesat products were talked about, too, Panasonic saying it was considering PVR options for the future. It pointed out that, at present, Freesat HD broadcasts can only be recorded in standard definition. In the famed Studio 2, once home to recording sessions by The Beatles and Pink Floyd, Panasonic revealed the SC-BT100 Blu-ray-in-a-box home cinema system (below). Due for release later this month at £99, It's a 3.1-channel system, upgradable to 5.1- or a 7.1-channel with the addition of SB-HS100A speakers and a SH-FX67 wireless kit. As well as Viera Link technology, the system has a simple set-up mode and an iPod link, which allows you to place your iPod in front of the Blu-ray slot and control it via the main remote. Playlists, albums and all MP3s are sucked from your iPod and displayed on the TV screen in an iTunes style format. The new £500 DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player includes Profile 2.0 BD Live capability, and also has an SD card slot which can store downloaded content. The first film to offer download functions will be Disney's Sleeping Beauty, which will also allow email style chat and video messaging functions during playback. We're expecting a sample of the DMP-BD50 in the office tomorrow and a full review will follow. Completing the line-up is the SA-BX500 AV receiver, due later this month. Claiming 7 x 130W output, it can handle both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA audio formats and allows both biwire and biamp configurations. Three HDMI inputs are accompanied by six more AV inputs, and the receiver is billed as iPod ready, though you'll need a dock.