One slightly disappointing aspect of the Panasonic SC-BTT460 is that it doesn’t bring many new features to the table. In fact, its spec sheet is all but identical to last year’s SC-BTT490 model. Thankfully the shared spec sheet happens to be quite impressive, both in terms of home cinema and multimedia playback.
On the home cinema front, the system supports 3D Blu-ray discs, decodes Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio and musters a total power output of 1000W.
There’s a 3D Cinema Surround mode that uses a combination of real and virtual speakers (30 in total) to expand the soundstage, with Panasonic’s perception control technology governing the direction of the sounds.
On the network side, there’s no built-in Wi-Fi, although the SC-BTT460 can be upgraded with Panasonic’s optional LAN dongle (DY-WL10, £80 approx) that connects to the USB port on the back. Failing this, you can also connect to your router via old-fashioned Ethernet.
Once you are online, Panasonic’s Viera Connect service offers a range of video, on-demand movie and music apps. The selection is the same as last year, with a few new additions (Ustream and MySpace being two) however it’s disappointing not to see ITV Player, Demand 5 or 4OD included.
Other notable inclusions are BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix, Acetrax, Skype (which requires the optional camera), Facebook, Twitter, iConcerts, CNBC, Dailymotion, SHOUTcast, AUPEO! and Euronews. You can, of course, purchase other apps and games via the Viera Market, plus you can also buy Panasonic hardware including LAN dongles, webcams and 3D glasses.
As per usual you can stream files from DLNA servers, with a range of supported formats including: AVCHD, WMV, MP4, PS, TS, JPEG, MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC and LPCM. Alternatively the Network Drive mode lets you play files from non-DLNA servers.
You can also play media from USB memory devices, which expands format support to include MKV, WAV and MPO, plus the USB port lets you play back music from iPods and iPhones (the BTT560 has a dedicated dock). You can even play AVCHD, MP4, MPEG-2, JPEG and MPO from SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
Elsewhere, there’s the usual sound modes for music (Re-master, Digital Tube Sound) and movies (7.1 Virtual Surround, Dolby Pro Logic II), plus enhancements like H.Bass, EQ presets, Centre Focus and Whisper-mode Surround. Inside the system, the new LincsD-Amp – based on Panasonic’s MASH technology – aims to reduce jitter and distortion.