- Terrific range of features
- Excellent pictures
- Stylish, intuitive operating system
- Sound suffers at loud volumes
- Viera Cast needs an update
- Expensive Skype camera
- Review Price: £348.95
- 2.1-channel Blu-ray system
- Full HD 3D playback
- DLNA networking
- DivX HD and MKV playback
- Built-in iPod dock
Panasonic’s Blu-ray juggernaut thunders on with yet another 3D-capable system from its extensive range. This time it’s a 2.1-channel affair that takes the blueprint laid down by the SC-BTT262 and throws in a load of extra features for around £70 extra.
One of the biggest differences is the design of the stereo speakers. Whereas the BTT262’s are one-way with a single full-range driver, the BTT362’s are a two-way design with a tweeter and midrange driver, which could make a real difference to performance. The speaker cones use Panasonic’s Anti-Distortion design, which gives them an uneven thickness towards the back that’s supposed to suppress resonance.
The external design is also different – for starters, they’re taller, the lines are curvier and the tabletop stands are circular as opposed to square. However, they share the BTT262’s lustrous gloss-black finish.
Another difference is the subwoofer, which is downward firing as opposed to the BTT262’s side-firing model.
This system also uses an identical-looking Blu-ray receiver to the BTT262. At 38mm high, it’s a slim unit, not much bigger than one of Panasonic’s latest Blu-ray players, with a stylish black finish. The fascia is kept nice and clean with a flap that drops down to reveal the disc tray, a USB port, SD card slot and a couple of playback controls.
But the most alluring feature on the fascia is a pop-out drawer that houses the built-in iPod/iPhone dock. This, along with the ability to play various multimedia formats from USB devices and SD cards, makes the SC-BTT362 a terrific all-round entertainment hub.
On the back of the main unit is an excellent array of sockets. The HDMI v1.4 output zaps 3D pictures to your TV and supports ARC (Audio Return Channel), while the two HDMI inputs (not found on the BTT262) turn the system into a switchbox, passing external sources to a single input on your TV even when the unit is in standby. This Standby Pass Through function (yes, it has a name) isn’t a headline grabber, but could actually save you a lot of hassle.
You also get optical digital and analogue stereo inputs, composite video output, an Ethernet terminal and a second USB port for the Skype camera (see next page).