Panasonic announces Sonos Beam-rivalling SC-HTB490 Slim Soundbar

Panasonic announces new SC-HTB490 Slim Soundbar
(Image credit: Panasonic)

As well as unveiling the remainder of its 2021 OLED and LCD TV range, Panasonic has also announced the new SC-HTB490 Slim Soundbar.

The HTB490 has two full-range, forward-facing 4.5 x 12cm drive units, two bass reflex ports adjacent to the drivers to help enhance lower frequencies within the narrow chassis, and a total power output of 160W. Designed to be wall-mounted, the svelte soundbar should fit directly under most TVs without leaving a large gap. 

The package also includes a compact 160W Bluetooth subwoofer that can be “tucked away, out of sight” and uses new smaller circuit boards to increase the space inside the cabinet for sound to reverberate.

The SC-HTB490's connectivity options are fairly limited: you get HDMI (ARC), optical input, Bluetooth and a USB socket, but no wi-fi connectivity or streaming service support. For those looking for a tidy, discrete soundbar this slender option might just fit the bill. 

Its £349 (about AU$699) price puts this new Panasonic soundbar in direct competition with the Sonos Beam, which lacks a discrete subwoofer but sounds great and is packed with music streaming options. It will be interesting to pit the two soundbars against one another once the SC-HTB940 is released, but there's currently no date for that.


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Mary is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and has over a decade of experience working as a sound engineer mixing live events, music and theatre. Her mixing credits include productions at The National Theatre and in the West End, as well as original musicals composed by Mark Knopfler, Tori Amos, Guy Chambers, Howard Goodall and Dan Gillespie Sells.