Panasonic SC-PT480 DVD Home Cinema System - Panasonic SC-PT480

By Danny Phillips


Our Score


Review Price £149.01

Perhaps this system’s most attractive feature is the built-in iPod dock, located under a flap on top of the unit. All types of iPod are supported (including the iPhone) with the relevant dock insert and you can play music, videos and photos using the system’s interface. Additionally, there’s a USB port on the front that allows you to play MP3, WMA, DivX, MPEG-4 and JPEG without having to load everything onto disc first. It’ll also play the same file types from DVD and CD, plus it spins most recordable DVD formats except DVD-RAM.

Elsewhere on the spec sheet, the system musters a quoted total power output of 1000W, and features a range of surround sound modes. These include Dolby Pro Logic II Movie/Music and S.SRD, which outputs sound from all speakers even with stereo material. Additionally there’s Center Focus, which shifts centre channel information to sound like it’s coming from the TV; H.Bass, which enhances low frequencies; Whisper Mode Surround for late-night listening; and a range of EQ modes (Flat, Heavy, Clear, Soft). These features all have their own dedicated buttons on the remote, which makes it easy to switch between them.

But that’s not all. If you hit the Functions button during playback, you’ll uncover even more picture and sound tweaks. These include a range of picture presets (Cinema, Dynamic, Animation and Normal), Panasonic’s ever-present Dialogue Enhancer and HD Enhancer. Using this Functions display, you can also check the status of the HDMI output and access a wide range of other helpful info relating to the current disc. Whether you find them useful or not, it’s good to see Panasonic packing in as many features as possible for the money.

Setup is a breeze. All of the cables are provided, and each one is colour coded not only to correspond with the terminals on the back of the main unit, but also to ensure that the exposed ends are plugged into the correct clips on the speakers – this is important to ensure that they’re not rigged up ‘out of phase’. You even get little stickers to label the cables for future use. As for speaker positioning, you can arrange them in the traditional layout or put them all at the front of the room and use the on-board audio processing to create an expansive soundstage.

The onscreen layout is a tad disappointing. Hit the Start key to access the main menu and the displays are a slightly more rudimentary version of Panasonic’s Blu-ray player menus, using the same blue and yellow colour scheme. Although they’re not complicated, the layout initially seems a bit muddled and the cursor moves around some areas of the setup menu sluggishly. You’ll get used to it after a while but in general this isn’t Panasonic at its user-friendly best.

That said, the remote is up to Panasonic’s usual standards. The chunky buttons, clever segregation of the different sections and foolproof labelling make it the sort of zapper even a five year old could master.

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September 10, 2010, 2:30 am

Does this home cinema have a 3.5mm input so i could connect my mp3 player up to it?

Geoff Richards

September 10, 2010, 11:54 am

Aside from the built-in iPod dock?

Yes, it does. It has regular analogue stereo inputs (red/white phono) which you can hook up a non-Apple MP3 player to via a cheap 3.5mm to phono cable (headphone at one end, red & white phono at the other end; £5 on eBay)

Bazza of Watford

September 22, 2010, 1:36 pm

In the review it mentions "the FM radio aerial and speaker terminals". What is the best way to use the unit for playing "the radio"?


October 20, 2010, 4:56 am

Hi, I've recently bought the PANASONIC TX-P50U20B and a Sumsung 1680 Blu-Ray player. I have retained my speakers from my old stereo which broke, this stereo supported dolby digital 5.1 input which was processed by my Sony DVD which had built in decoder and 5.1 outputs direct to my hifi which had 2 front floor standers (built in subs), 2 rear surrounds and a front centre. I don't want to throw away these speakers even though they are Aiwa and from 2001/2, the floor standers were really nice. So the question is 1) should I get a dedicated AV amp and make these speakers work with it or just buy a home cinema system like the Panasonic SC-PT480?

2) Bear in mind the surrounds use the single phono type connect, could I cut the end off to split the stripe and black leads?

Ingrid Carolina

November 21, 2010, 7:37 pm

Hello, I have no knowledge at all about this equipment. I do have a question can I listen a to a regular CD (music) in this equipment? Do a need to have a separate music system or this is enough for music (CD)

Thanks for your help!!!

Geoff Richards

November 22, 2010, 10:09 am

@Ingrid - yes, this will play music CDs just fine

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