Panasonic SC-BT100 Blu-ray Home Cinema System - Panasonic SC-BT100

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On the video side, the system outputs Blu-ray pictures in the cinematic, judder-free 1080/24p format, and can upscale DVDs to 720p, 1080i or 1080p. The system’s video capabilities are boosted by the presence of the proprietary UniPhier chip, which features a suite of picture processing technologies developed by Panasonic Hollywood Labs designed to bring out the best in Blu-ray and upscaled DVD pictures.


Among these technologies is the PHL Chroma Processor, which upsamples colour information from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 in order to more faithfully recreate the nuances of Blu-ray pictures, plus P4HD, which processes more than 15 billion pixels per second to deliver smooth movement, clean diagonal lines and enhanced hi-def detail.


The use of bamboo in the woofer and tweeter speaker cones allows Panasonic to ‘panda’ to the needs of audiophiles (sorry) with a responsive, detailed sound that suits Blu-ray’s high-resolution audio formats. Meanwhile the passive Kelton subwoofer features two internal chambers, with the front chamber acting as a filter that reduces unwanted noise.


It’s great to see that the BT100 supports a healthy range of compressed AV formats, too, including MP3, JPEG and DivX, plus AVCHD video captured on a compatible HD camcorder can also be played via the SD card slot or from recordable DVDs.


The operating system uses a similar design to its recorders, which is good news given how easy to use they are. From the setup menu to playback banners, every single onscreen display is sensibly structured, colourful and easy to read, which makes this system a joy to use. The iPod control screens are very impressive, displaying song lists with the same level of clarity as the other menu screens.


The remote is terrific, sporting Panasonic’s usual large buttons arranged in a confusion-free layout, with most of the important functions and menus given their own keys. Particularly noteworthy are the PIP and Secondary Audio keys which enable you to turn BonusView features on and off instantly.


Unsurprisingly, the SC-BT100’s Blu-ray picture quality is immaculate. Viewed on a 1080/24p capable Toshiba LCD, Sony’s ”Spider-Man 3” disc looks absolutely sensational, boasting picture quality so intensely sharp and vibrant that it almost sucks you into the screen. What grabs you first is the astonishing amount of detail packed into the image, which the P4HD processing brings to the screen with no noise whatsoever – there are loads of excellent examples during the movie but stand-outs include the scene in which Sandman first gathers himself together, or the shot of The Daily Bugle building at the start of chapter 14.

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