Panasonic offers a wide range of all-in-one Blu-ray systems covering rooms and budgets of all sizes, and although not the cheapest, they usually offer a combination of snazzy features and decent performance. This year Panasonic has added a bunch of 3D-capable systems to the line-up, including the SC-BFT800 soundbar we tested recently and the SC-BTT350, a more conventional 5.1-channel system.
The SC-BTT350 comes with a main unit that houses a 3D-ready Blu-ray player and receiver, which supplies 1,000W (RMS) of power and decodes all of Blu-ray’s HD audio formats. Also in the box is a set of five miniscule satellite speakers and a small passive sub, all designed to squeeze unobtrusively into a small room. There’s an alternative version of this system (SC-BTT755) that comes with tallboy speakers for the fronts and rears plus a longer centre speaker.
Aesthetically, Panasonic plays it safe with the main unit, which lacks the living-room friendly allure of a Samsung or LG system. It’s a straight-up black box with an LED display that shines through a flap on the right-hand side. Lower that flap and you’ll also uncover an SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot for playing back JPEG images, AVCHD and MPEG-2 (SD) video, as well as adding memory for BD Live downloads. It’s joined by a USB port, another outlet for your digital media collection, and a couple of playback buttons. On top of the unit, an iPod dock is discreetly hidden under a flap, which completes a very impressive array of multimedia connections.
Although it’s not the prettiest machine we’ve encountered, it’s certainly well built, but we were expecting more connections on the back. There’s an HDMI v1.4 output (which supports the Audio Return Channel feature as well as 3D), but no HDMI inputs for your games consoles and TV receivers. Still, there are optical digital and analogue stereo audio inputs, composite video output and an FM radio aerial input. The Ethernet port provides a wired connection to the web and helpfully there’s another USB port for Panasonic’s Wi-Fi dongle, although this is an optional extra that’ll set you back around £80.
The front and rear speakers measure just 118.5mm high and are surprisingly solid. The cloth-covered fronts are a nice touch and there are holes on the back for easy wall-mounting. All of the speakers are equipped with springclip terminals, but the supplied cables have pre-attached, colour-coded plugs that securely connect to the main unit. The subwoofer’s light and hollow enclosure and ugly exposed chipboard on the back leave a lot to be desired but that’s not surprising at this price.