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Due to the reduced number of speakers involved, the SC-BTT262 is quick and painless to install â€“ the cables are permanently fixed to the speakers and plug into the back of the main unit using sturdy plastic plugs. Of course if you need to reconfigure the speakers horizontally you'll need to whip out the screwdriver, but that's as complicated as it gets.
It's extremely simple to configure onscreen too. That's due to the fantastic new operating system, which uses eye-catching graphics and an intuitive layout. The Home menu arranges the icons for each function in a grid, and the cursor moves around them quickly. But sadly you lose the one-press navigation found on the standalone players because of the amount of extra features packed into the grid â€“ you have to highlight and select as per usual. But one thing we do like is the ability to use a JPEG image as the deck's Home menu wallpaper.
Making tweaks in the Settings menu or accessing content on network or USB devices poses few problems. The menus are clean and uncluttered, and it operates without annoying hold-ups. For things like network setup, which some first-timers may find intimidating, helpful wizards hold your hand through the process.
When playing content from an iPod the menus are displayed on screen, but if it contains lots of songs it can take ages finding a particular track â€“ although the page up/down keys are a godsend.
Panasonic sticks with the tried and trusted formula for the remote, with the same large rubbery buttons and foolproof labelling as usual. Regularly-used keys like the menu and playback controls are perfectly placed and cleverly separated from the rest.
Disc loading times have been slashed this year and the SC-BTT262 fires up Terminator Salvation in 45 seconds. That still may not be quick enough for some people but compared to a few years ago it's like greased lightning.