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Panasonic SC-BFT800 - Performance and Verdict
Its 3D performance is similarly strong. With Monsters Vs Aliens, you get deep, expansive pictures with remarkable poise and clarity. There’s very little blur when CG characters start zipping around the screen and any crosstalk issues (again visible during the Golden Gate Bridge scene) can most likely be attributed to the way the TV is piecing the images together. The movie’s bright colour palette also manages to burst its way through the tinted glasses, leaving you with a hugely enjoyable 3D viewing experience overall.
And although the system’s sound quality doesn’t quite hit the same lofty heights, it’s certainly impressive. With Iron Man 2’s DTS HD Master Audio track, the sound is crisp and dynamic across the midrange and high frequencies, with a pleasing ability to relay sudden high-pitched sounds at loud volumes, such as metal suits clanking against each other, without making you wince. Activate Dolby Virtual Speaker and the soundstage opens up, spreading the carnage far and wide as Iron Man fights War Machine. No, it’s not surround per se, but a busy and expansive soundstage with plenty of vigour.
The 120W subwoofer also does a decent job at underpinning the action with hearty bass tones, which makes the Monaco Grand Prix scene feel suitably exhilarating. The sounds of roaring engines and crunching, crashing race cars are lent extra body by the surprisingly powerful sub. That said, it could do with a little more punch and control. After listening to Iron Man 2’s action set pieces for a while, you realise that these low-end sounds are just a constant rumble that feels slightly overpowering and boomy – better subs would deliver a drier, tauter and more neutral sound. But considering it’s wireless and not designed with audiophiles in mind, it’s not bad at all. It helps if you have a play with the sub settings too, keeping the level at 1 or 2 and using H.Bass judiciously.
This is particularly crucial when listening to music, as the combination of H.Bass and a high sub setting can really impinge on clarity and detail reproduction. But find the right balance and you can achieve some very pleasing music playback – there’s plenty of subtlety in its reproduction of Kind of Blue, but it also belts out Maroon 5’s Hands All Over with infectious energy.
Overall then, we reckon the SC-BFT800 is a superb proposition if you want a 3D home cinema but space is tight. It’s sleek, stylish and packed with features, including the usual array of network functions and sound modes. Even more pleasing is the built-in iPod dock and the inclusion of a wireless sub, which will be an absolute godsend for cablephobes everywhere. 3D and 2D picture performance is also terrific, and although it’s not the most sonically sophisticated soundbar we’ve tested, it delivers enough home cinema thrills to justify that hefty price tag.
Scores In Detail