Panasonic launches new soundbars and a 'speakerboard'

Panasonic has confirmed three new, tidier form-factor soundbars and a 'speakerboard' for 2014.

The new products (the SC-HTB18, SC-HTB480 and range-topping SC-HTB880, which was first previewed at CES) are slim enough to be wall-mounted and, according to the company, represent a big audio advance over the models they replace.

MORE: CES 2014 news review – the highlights

Each model is shaped on a triangular cross-section, designed to maintain a slim, wall-mountable profile while offering sufficient space for relatively large speaker drivers.

The SC-HTB880 features 3D and 4K pass-through, allowing it to deliver 3D and/or 4K images to a suitable display, and is configured to deliver 5.1 channels of sound.

The main unit houses front, centre and surround speakers, driven by Panasonic’s second-generation LincsD amplification to a claimed 500 watts power output. It’s teamed with a wireless subwoofer.

MORE: See all our soundbar reviews

Like the SC-HTB880, the SC-HTB480 features a wireless subwoofer and NFC functionality for simple Bluetooth pairing. Unlike the SC-HTB880, though, the SC-HTB480 is a 2.1-channel design with a total of 250 watts of power.

As befits an entry-level product, the SC-HTB18 is a stripped-down affair. 2.1 channel sound, powered by 120 watts of amplification, with a wired subwoofer, the SC-HTB18 is nevertheless Bluetooth-ready (although forgoes NFC).

And for those who’d prefer a physical as well as sonic leg-up for their TV rather than a wall-mounted alternative, Panasonic has announced the SC-HTE180 speakerboard, pictured above (we’ve been calling products like this ‘soundbases’, but no matter).

Designed to support TVs from 42in to 50in, the SC-HTE180 integrates a pair of subwoofers as well as NFC connectivity.

MORE: Best soundbars to buy in 2014

by Simon Lucas

Follow on Twitter

Join us on Facebook

Find us on Google+

Joe Cox
Content Director

Joe is Content Director for T3 and What Hi-Fi?, having previously been the Global Editor-in-Chief of What Hi-Fi?. He has worked on What Hi-Fi? across the print magazine and website for more than 15 years, writing news, reviews and features on everything from turntables to TVs, headphones to hi-fi separates. He has covered product launch events across the world, from Apple to Technics, Sony and Samsung; reported from CES, the Bristol Show, and Munich High End for many years; and written for sites such as the BBC, Stuff, and the Guardian. In his spare time, he enjoys expanding his vinyl collection and cycling (not at the same time).