The SC-BTT460 is the first one-box home cinema system from Panasonic’s 2013 range to roll off the production line, giving us a chance to see how its new Blu-ray products are shaping up. It’s not quite the top system in the range – the flagship SC-BTT880 and SC-BTT560 sit above it in the pecking order – but as per usual it offers all the features, speakers and sound technology you need without having to go through the hassle of shopping around for separates.
This version features a combination of floorstanding front towers and compact rear speakers, making it perfect for people with awkwardly shaped living rooms.
The SC-BTT460’s Blu-ray receiver sports an attractive new design. Panasonic has kept faith with the all-black finish of previous systems, although the SC-BT460 differs from its predecessor (the SC-BTT490) with sloping edges and the removal of the front panel flap; this time the SD card slot and USB port are exposed and placed right in the middle. Along the top of the fascia a silver strip adds a touch of glamour.
The bodywork is slim and build quality is solid enough, despite the plasticky fascia. An LED display on the right provides key information in legible digits, while an old-school disc tray is found on the left.
The two-way front speakers stand 1185mm tall, looking elegant and imposing (albeit in a good way). The gloss black finish, straight edges and exposed drivers command your attention, while the angled section where the square base meets the speaker is a stylish touch.
They come in three pieces, joined together in a fairly clunky manner, although we do like the discreet cable management system at the back. While putting them together, we were rather taken aback by the light, plasticky build quality of the middle section. The top part houses the speaker drivers, which include 65mm full-range cones and a Piezo type super tweeter.
The compact centre speaker is horizontally shaped for easy placement in front of a TV and features two super tweeters either side of a full-range driver. Like the centre, the cute 143mm-high rear speakers are dressed in a stylish gloss black finish, and pleasingly they use a two-way design as opposed to the single full-range driver of previous systems. There’s no support for wireless rears though – that’s reserved for the more expensive SC-BTT560.
The subwoofer’s surprisingly compact dimensions (145mm wide) mean you can easily slot it into a tight space. However, it’s also stylishly designed in gloss black, with a port on the front and a 160mm driver on the side.
Head round the back and you’ll find an underwhelming selection of sockets. Disappointingly there are no HDMI inputs, which rules out running other HD devices through the system. If you want 'HDMI in' sockets you’ll have to upgrade to the SC-BTT560.
That said, you do get optical digital audio and analogue stereo inputs, while the single HDMI output supports the Audio Return Channel feature, which means it’ll accept audio from a TV. The line-up is completed by an Ethernet port, an FM aerial input and colour coded speaker terminals.