Panasonic 'speaker board' is an alternative to a soundbar; wireless speakers go portable

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.

MORE: Best soundbars to buy in 2013

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.

MORE: Panasonic SC-HTE80 review

by Andy Clough

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Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.