Panasonic SC-BT205 review

This sibling to the SC-BT200 combines fine useability with a comprehensive specification and great images and sound Tested at £600.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Comfortably capable of some of the best audio and video available, this Panasonic delivers genuinely impressive performance from one box


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    Full HD audio and video specification

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    simple to use

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    sound is detailed, dynamic and powerful

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    video is clean, stable and full of subtleties


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    Build quality won’t blow you away

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    floorstanders need accommodating

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Having been mightily impressed with Panasonic's SC-BT200 Blu-ray system, we thought it only right that we tested its loftier sibling.

As the main receiver unit remains the same, we have high hopes. The change comes with the speakers: the four compact satellites being traded for four floorstanders – and only for a little extra outlay.

The centre channel is fairly slight and sits on its comfortable feet with a fairly slim profile.

The four identical floorstanders are a more substantial affair: they each require a few screws to connect the circular foot to the bottom of the speaker and again to join the two parts of each speaker.

Full spec for the money
As with other similar systems, they don't feel particularly robust or look too alluring – hey, the subwoofer has a chipboard ‘finish' on the rear – but thankfully they make up for it in terms of sound quality.

The Panasonic has Blu-ray and DVD playback, an integrated iPod dock compatible with music, video and photo playback, a USB input, an SD card… the list is almost endless, though it doesn't include HDMI inputs – there's just the one HDMI output for HD pictures and sound (it can decode all HD codecs).

Two digital optical inputs will take digital audio from other sources and Panasonic's Viera Cast feature allows access to some online content via ethernet.

Cracking BD images and sound
In our eyes the more important business comes in the shape of Blu-ray playback.

Playing zombie slasher Dead Snow, the SC-BT205 sets itself apart from its rivals. The level of insight with both audio and video is a step above its rivals, the system producing a poised, balanced sound capable of punch and subtlety.

Nothing else really conveys the tense calm before a zombie-slaying quite like this system. DVD images are crisp, while step up to the BD transfer of Gladiator and the wheat fields sway to glorious affect.

Top it all with fine usability – it's a machine that has an auto-set-up with a calibration mic – with the result that you have the ideal all-in-one introduction to Blu-ray surround sound.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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