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Panasonic SC-BTT590 review

Brilliant all-in-one home cinema solution for those on a budget Tested at £500

Our Verdict

An excellent all-in-one Blu-ray home cinema system

For

  • Nicely put together
  • easy to use and plenty of features
  • great remote control app
  • class-leading picture and refined sound

Against

  • Sub not as controlled as some

At around 40cm tall, this Panasonic SC-BTT590 system’s four slim satellite speakers, each complete with a little integrated stand, need a bit more room than some packages.

However, with a tall, slim subwoofer and smaller centre channel completing the package they’re still reasonably easy to tuck away – and if you want, you can remove those bases and hang the centre, front and surround speakers on-wall using the keyhole cutouts provided.

The manual even tells you how to create a failsafe system to stop the speakers dropping – perhaps with an eye to earthquakes – using 'string (not supplied)'!

But whether you hang the speakers on walls or find space to accommodate them free-standing, it's worth the effort: although telling the best budget Blu-ray players and systems apart on picture is now quite a tough task, after comparative testing the Panasonic does stand out as a touch above the competition.

Panasonic SC-BTT590: Picture quality

Pictures have a greater sense of depth thanks to increased detail, there’s better texture to skin tones and subtlety to colours, and neither fast motion nor dark scenes cause the SC-BTT590 any problems.

As we know from its TVs, Panasonic’s 3D pictures are highly competent too – stable and easy to watch,, with a good balance between the 3D experience and a realistic picture that hangs together well.

Panasonic SC-BTT590: Sound quality

The handover between speakers is smooth, making for a convincing surround sound. It’s a smooth sound, too, remaining controlled and easy to listen to even at high volume, and with a sense of refinement that’s not often found in systems such as these.

The sub has a tendency to sound a little loose and unclear when pushed, but otherwise there’s little to argue with.

Panasonic SC-BTT590

Panasonic SC-BTT590

Panasonic SC-BTT590 remote control

Panasonic SC-BTT590 remote control

Panasonic SC-BTT590: Tech specs

And there’s plenty more to this system, with an integrated iPod dock that sits in a push-to-open drawer on the front of the main unit, an FM radio, and USB and SD card inputs.

You’ll also find two HDMI inputs and an output, an optical digital audio input, analogue aux in and Ethernet connection for BD Live functionality, accessing internet content and streaming from a home network .

In line with the design of the main unit, the remote control will be familiar to anyone who has used any Panasonic AV kit recently, albeit with the addition of the odd button – such as dedicated keys for Netflix and Skype.

But if you’re after something more exciting, you can try the latest version of the free Panasonic Viera Remote app for Android and iOS devices.

This gives you full control from your phone or tablet, and looks smart into the bargain – we like the retro rotary dial style controls.

Panasonic SC-BTT590

Panasonic SC-BTT590

Panasonic SC-BTT590: Verdict

Simple but effective rather than showy in terms of design and performance, the Panasonic is a brilliant all-in-one Blu-ray system that will turn any TV into a cutting-edge home entertainment system.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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