Having a built-in Blu-ray player is convenient, as the LG HLX56S proves, but it can make for a deep unit. The Panasonic SC-BFT800 sorts that with a vertical drive – which means the unit is slim enough to wall-mount.
The Panasonic has another neat little trick up its sleeve, too: the front panel slides one way to reveal the disc-drive, and reveals an iPod/iPhone dock in the other.
The Panasonic lacks the LG’s sonic crispness, but it counters with better integration of its wireless sub and even more detailed and controlled 2D and 3D pictures.
The sound-processing modes aren’t really worth using – Panasonic makes a big deal of its Clear-mode dialogue, but we found it projected voices unnaturally.
Lack of HDMI inputs and wi-fi
Its problems are more to do with spec. The lack of HDMI inputs is a hassle for PVR and console owners, who will have to rely on either the optical input or run their sources to the TV.
It also lacks wi-fi, and while you can access DLNA and Panasonic’s web portal using ethernet, the former lacks the LG’s format support, and the latter is the company’s older Viera Cast system, although an upgrade to Viera Connect is expected shortly.
But, it’s cheaper than the LG and the two are close in sound quality, so if you can live without iPlayer and extra HDMIs, it’s tempting.
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