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CES 2009: Bowers & Wilkins Lanches Soundbar

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Just over a month ago Bowers & Wilkins walked away with the TrustedReviews Product of the Year award for its superb Zeppelin iPod dock, but the company clearly hasn't been sitting back on its laurels. At CES B&W was showing off its new home cinema soundbar, the Panorama.

No one can doubt B&W's expertise in the home cinema environment, producing some of the best surround sound speaker solutions money can buy. Now all that experience has been rolled into a slim and stylish soundbar that's designed to complement the latest generation of flat screen TVs.

Despite its slim design, the Panorama has nine drivers inside it, with particular emphasis on the centre speaker - arguably the most important channel in a surround sound system. As well as the multiple speakers the Panorama also has some advanced DSP (Digital Signal Processing) built in, to create an immersive surround effect without needing an array of speakers.

All the speakers are driven by six amplifiers producing a total of 175w. At the rear you'll find an impressive array of inputs - there are two optical digital, one coaxial digital, two analogue and a subwoofer output for anyone who needs even more boom to those explosions.

Pricing in the US will be $2,200, which put the Panorama at the very top of the soundbar price scale. Whether the Panorama's sound quality lives up to its stylish good looks remains to be seen, but considering B&W's track record, I wouldn't bet against it. Rest assured that I'll be chasing up a review sample as soon as I'm back in the office.

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