Panasonic unveils SC-series of Blu-ray home cinema systems

Panasonic SC-BTX70

There are four new Blu-ray home cinema in a box systems on the way, starting with the flagship SC-ZT1 wireless 2.1 system, which requires no cables to connect the speakers to the main unit.

As standard it's a 2.1 system with two slimline pole speakers, designed to complement any flatscreen TV, although an additional pair of wireless speakers can be added for the rear channels to make up a full 5.1 system.

Each speaker contains four 24mm tweeters, with a 12cm subwoofer built into the speaker's base. Uncompressed audio is sent from the main unit to the speakers wirelessly using the 2.4Ghz frequency band, up to a distance of 15 metres.

High-definition virtual surround
Although the SC-ZT1 is supplied as a 2.1 system as standard, it can still decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD as 'virtual surround sound' when combined with its partnering DMP-BD80 Blu-ray player.

Images from the Blu-ray player can also be sent wirelessly to a compatible TV such as the new Panasonic TX-P54Z1 plasma.

The three other BD systems in the range are more conventional wired designs. The Panasonic SC-BTX70 (pictured) has a slimline, vertical main unit containing a Blu-ray player and amplification, plus an integral iPod dock.

It too is a 2.1 system, equipped with Viera cast internet connectivity, BD-Live compatibility, SD memory card slot and USB terminal for connecting other digital devices.

Profile 2.0, BD-Live compatible
Onboard audio decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD is included, and users can add an extra pair of rear speakers for full 5.1 surround sound. A 96-kHz surround re-mastering feature is designed to enhance the playback quality of CDs and other stereo sources.

For those who want a full suite of five speakers and a subwoofer from the off, there are two 5.1 Blu-ray systems on offer, the Panasonic SC-BT205 and SC-BT200. The former has tall floorstanding speakers front and rear, the latter much smaller bookshelf ones.

Both systems include Viera Cast internet connectivity, Viera Link functionality, Profile 2.0 players compatible with BD-Live Blu-ray discs, HD audio decoding and video upconversion to 1080p.

We're still awaiting confirmation of UK prices and release dates.