Panasonic seems to have an endless reserve of Blu-ray cinema systems up its sleeve, ranging from full-on 3D ready packages like the SC-BTT350 down to basic 2.1-channel all-in-ones like the SC-BT222. The 5.1-channel SC-BT735 sits somewhere in-between, lacking the 3D capabilities of the former but adding some of the cutting-edge features missing from the latter.
In fact, the SC-BT735 is from the same ‘family’ as the SC-BT230 and SC-BT330 (all three share the same manual), but unlike these two systems the BT735 includes tower speakers for the front and rear channels, making this one for those who like their home cinema system to be seen and heard. Each one stands just over a metre tall, but their slim 6cm width makes them more discreet than you’d expect from a tower system.
The front half of these towers is styled in an attention grabbing gloss-black finish and come in three parts – the solidly built top part houses all of the speaker drivers (two 3.5cm woofer cones and a 2.5cm dome tweeter), and slots into a hollow middle section with built-in speaker wire, which in turn is connected to a circular base. This makes installation a little more fiddly and time consuming than most all-in-ones but not confusing at all.
Panasonic has designed a clever cable tidy system whereby the wires poke through the top of the middle section and connect to the top section’s springclip terminals. At the other end you can feed it through a hole in the base leaving very little of the cable visible. If you want to go the extra mile and do away with cables for the rears completely then pick up Panasonic’s SH-FX71 wireless kit, or two if you want to upgrade to 7.1-channel (although that’s when it starts getting really pricey).
When assembled these towers have the unmistakeable feel of budget speakers but from a distance they look rather fetching. Also in the box is a long, thin centre speaker that looks like one of the towers turned on its side, and a passive subwoofer that thankfully hides its exposed MDF underneath. With its compact measurements of 180.5(w) x 322(h) x 351(d) mm, the sub won’t take up much of your space, but if you’re are forced to have it out on display then the funky gloss-black finish certainly won’t let the side down. Sadly it’s not wireless like the sub that comes with the SC-BFT800 soundbar, but at least there’s a long cable attached.