When is a soundbar not a soundbar? When it's a 'speaker board'.
That's how Panasonic describes its new £249 SC-HTE80, designed as an alternative to a traditional soundbar but with same purpose – boosting the sound of a flatscreen TV.
Ideal for 42in televisions, the Panasonic SC-HTE80 measures 46cm wide and 6cm high, has a brushed metal appearance and comes in silver and black.
It incorporates a pair of subwoofers, H.Bass sound processing technology and a Clear Mode Dialogue function. "Whereas competitor home audio systems project sound from beneath the TV, the speaker board gives the impression that audio is coming from the centre of the screen," says Panasonic.
It's also Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled, for wiireless audio streaming, and includes an HDMI input for a wired connection.
Also new from Panasonic are a pair of portable wireless speakers, the SC-NA30 (bottom, £249) and SC-NA10 (below, £149). They're compatible with the Panasonic Music Streaming app, for easy connection to your smartphone or tablet.
A built-in rechargeable battery gives up to 20 hours playback on both models, Panasonic claims, and the NA Series also acts as a speaker phone via a built-in mic. Smartphones and tablets can be charged when connected using the USB socket.
Panasonic's XBS Master sound technology comes as standard on both. The pricier model gets a pair of 2in speakers and subwoofer, while the cheaper one is fitted with two 1.6in drivers and a passive radiator.
The SC-NA30 is available in silver or black with a stainless speaker grille, while the SC-NA10 includes a compact carry case which also acts as a stand for the speaker, and comes in blue or red.
by Andy Clough