Features and operation
The SC-BT735’s main function is to play Blu-ray discs, and on that score it leaves no stone unturned. Under the bonnet is Panasonic’s usual array of picture boosting wizardry that aims to keep colour and detail fidelity looking ship-shape and Bristol fashion, and unlike the SC-BT222 it supports BD Live.
Elsewhere you can access Panasonic’s Viera Cast web portal. Fans of YouTube, Bloomberg, Picasa Web Albums and German news sites (!) will be in seventh heaven gliding effortlessly around Panasonic’s bespoke web interface. It’s slick, jazzy looking and uses a clear layout – the only real problems are that the content is fairly limited compared with Sony’s Blu-ray systems, plus entering text into the Search tool is fiddly and time-consuming with the remote. Will someone please bring out a compatible keyboard!
The system is also DLNA certified, which means you can stream music, video and photos from a PC or other devices on your home network. Unfortunately, it’s only designed to work with Windows 7 PCs, which leaves Vista and XP users in the lurch, but you can also stream recordings stored on Panasonic HDD recorders in other rooms of the house. This, along with Viera Cast, can be accessed wirelessly if you invest in Panasonic’s £80 USB Wi-Fi adapter (DY-WL10).
Elsewhere, you’ll find the usual range of sound modes, including Pro Logic II, Super Surround (which plays stereo sources from all speakers), 7.1-channel Virtual Surround, a range of EQ and subwoofer level settings, H.Bass, Centre Focus and Whisper Mode Surround. There are lots of other neat little features dotted about, including further picture and sound enhancements and presets that can be accessed using the in-playback ‘Display’ menu. A Playback Information Window tells you everything you need to know about the disc that’s being played.
Setting everything up is extremely simple thanks to the clear menu layout and handy wizards that guide you through more complicated stuff like network setup. There’s also the welcome appearance of an auto calibration system – for that, you’ll need to plug the supplied microphone into the port on the front panel then sit back and let the system adjust all the levels for you. However, you can turn to the manual settings if it doesn’t hit the spot.
The onscreen menus are easy on the eye and logically structured, while the remote is thankfully the same one that accompanies all of Panasonic’s systems. The button layout and labelling on this blissfully easy-to-use zapper are first class, making it easy to access the system’s many features.