Being on the bottom rung of the range ladder, the SC-BTT262 lacks several features found on the step-up SC-BTT362. There's no Skype, built-in Wi-Fi or HDMI inputs, and all of the network-related features â€“ Viera Cast, media streaming, BD Live â€“ can only be accessed by connecting to your router via Ethernet, as there's no support for a Wi-Fi USB dongle.
Those cost-cutting omissions aside, there's still a lot to play with. Despite the lack of Skype, you still get access to the rest of Viera Cast's web applications, including YouTube, Picasa, Twitter and Bloomberg.
But as we found on the standalone players, the current content isn't hugely compelling, with the exception of YouTube perhaps. With the addition of BBC iPlayer and other catch up TV services (as found on Sony's BRAVIA Internet Video) it could be a killer feature, which we're hoping will be the case when Viera Cast's successor, Viera Connect, makes its way to the Blu-ray range.
The SC-BTT262 is DLNA certified and supports streaming of DivX HD, WMV, MP3, JPEG, AVCHD from Windows 7 PCs, as well as recordings stored on networked Panasonic DIGA recorders. That's a great feature if you've recorded something on the DMR-BW880 in the living room, for example, and want to watch it in bed.
You can also play back DivX HD, MKV, MP3 and JPEG from USB devices (up to 2TB) plugged into the front-mounted port, as well as MPEG-2 SD Video, AVCHD and JPEG from SD, SDHC and SDXC cards.
The SC-BTT262 shares the same 3D effect controls found on the standalone players, allowing you to find a 3D image that your eyes are comfortable with. You can alter the depth of the 3D picture, change the way the left- and right-eye images are aligned (round or flat), or add a frame around the picture to soften the hard edges of the bezel â€“ something Panasonic thinks is problematic for some people.
Most Panasonic Blu-ray systems come with a range of sound modes to play around with and the SC-BTT262 is no exception. There's 7.1CH Virtual Surround that attempts to reproduce multichannel sound from 2.1 speakers, plus a range of Equalizer settings â€“ Flat, Heavy, Clear, Soft â€“ and a couple of bass boosters, Subwoofer Level and H. Bass.
Digital Tube Sound is also found here, injecting music playback with an extra element of warmth like a vacuum tube amp. And under one of the many onscreen displays you'll find a hidden cluster of picture enhancements including Chroma Process, Detail Clarity and Super Resolution.