If the Panasonic SC-BT775 looks familiar, we’re not surprised: its elegant speakers bear a remarkable similarity to those supplied with last year’s impressive SC-BTT755, and if the electronics have been rather more comprehensively revised, well, it’s not the most outwardly dramatic of makeovers.
Most usefully, the new unit sports twin HDMI inputs for other sources, addressing one of our only key concerns with Panasonic’s 2010-spec systems.
It also provides wi-fi and ethernet, which should ease some installation worries (although we’d always use the ethernet option if possible: it delivers more stable results with video streaming).
There’s a useful array of additional media support too, with SD card, USB and iPod inputs, the latter as part of a neatly integrated dock hidden behind the fascia.
When we initially tested it, the SC-BTT775 was hamstrung by Panasonic’s now-outdated Viera Cast online portal, a clunky offering comfortably bettered by rival offerings from LG and Sony, and also by Panasonic’s own, newer and much better Viera Connect system.
More after the break
However, a recent firmware upgrade available on the Panasonic website enables owners to upgrade the SC-BTT775 to provide Viera Connect, which is good news indeed.
Top-drawer picture and soundThe Panasonic’s excellent picture and lusty, well-integrated sound impress.
There’s plenty of scale and weight to the balance, and speaker-to-speaker cohesion is excellent, despite the apparent sonic mismatch between the hulking front speakers and the ultra-slim centre channel.
As with the SC-BTT370, calibration can be a bit of a trial: there’s no automatic set-up system, and the adjustments available are somewhat crude. But persevere and you’ll find that your sonic rewards are considerable.
Excellent motion handlingPanasonic’s Blu-ray players have romped to success after success in our tests in 2011, so it’s no surprise that the SC-BTT775’s picture is full of life and colour too.
Its grasp of motion is excellent, detail definition is outstanding and images appear at once beautifully crisp and indulgently lush, even in 3D.
Taken together, these strengths are enough to ensure the Panasonic runs off with the full five stars.