The Panasonic SC-BTT282 is the step-up version of the SC-BTT182 system we reviewed earlier this year. It’s a 2.1-channel system that aims for maximum movie excitement with minimum living room intrusion, and as ever Panasonic’s usual range of hi-tech features is thrown in for good measure. It boasts a more generous spec than the BTT182, although its £70 premium will take a greater toll on your wallet.
The biggest difference between the two systems is the size of the speakers. The SC-BTT182 came with a pair of basic dinky front speakers, while the BTT282’s are larger and more elegant, fashioned to look like the premium speakers that accompany the flagship SC-BTT590 system, complete with back-sloping stands.
They look great, with a flat front panel that allows you to glimpse the full 6.5cm full-range driver and a fashionable gloss-black finish, which oozes contemporary charm. Not only are they pretty but versatile too – the stands can be removed and the speakers can be flipped horizontally, which may better suit your setup.
On the downside, when you pick them up their build is light and plasticky, which sadly is part and parcel of the affordable all-in-one system experience.
The same goes for the subwoofer, which is a passive model and doesn’t have its own power source – like regular speakers the amplified signal is passed onto it by the main unit. This usually results in inferior performance to an active subwoofer, but again it’s a way to cut costs. On the plus side it’s incredibly compact, which won’t cause you any installation headaches, plus the gloss black styling makes it easy on the eye.
Running the show is the SA-BTT282, a combined Blu-ray player and AV receiver. At 430(w) x 38(h) mm, it’s roughly the same size as Panasonic’s latest Blu-ray players, and should slip into an AV rack with minimum fuss. It doesn’t push the boat out aesthetically, using a simple black box design with a glossy black fascia and a satisfyingly robust aluminium casing, but this anonymous styling makes it easy to match.
Most of the front panel is taken up by a flap that hides an SD card slot and USB port plus play and stop keys (missing on the BTT182), but one section on the right is given over to a cleverly concealed iPod/iPhone dock tray, (also not found on the BTT182).
On the back you’ll find an excellent array of sockets, including the all-important HDMI v1.4 output that’s capable of sending active 3D pictures to a compatible TV and accepting audio from an ARC-equipped TV. Two HDMI inputs are also provided for running other components through the system, which are not found on the SC-BTT182, while optical digital and analogue stereo inputs accommodate other sound sources. The line-up is completed by an Ethernet port, FM radio antenna input, composite video out and a second USB port. This port is solely for use with Panasonic’s optional Skype camera – unlike the BTT182 you don’t need to connect a wireless LAN dongle as this system has Wi-Fi built-in.