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

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The BonusView functionality is flawlessly integrated. With the ”Resident Evil: Apocalypse” disc, the picture-in-picture commentary pops up instantaneously and when secondary audio is switched on the main movie sound volume dips when the commentary starts (something that didn’t always happen on the DMP-BD30). Also pleasing is the deck’s effortless handling of tricky Java content (like ”Spider-Man 3’s” swooping enhanced main menu).


The system can also produce sweet, cohesive sound quality that convincingly conveys the extra resolution of lossless movie soundtracks. But while the extra top-end detail on offer gives ”Spider-Man 3’s” Dolby True HD track a pleasing level of clarity, the digital amplifier at the heart of the system occasionally makes it sound a bit harsh.


We’re impressed by the amount of power on tap (rated at 1,000W, 250W per channel), which allows the front and centre speakers to get nice and loud while maintaining an element of control. And although the subwoofer’s bass output is satisfyingly fulsome, it can get a bit boomy at loud volumes so it pays to keep the level set fairly low if you don’t want it to overpower the other speakers. We also tried out the wireless rears and they deliver surround effects and ambience with pleasing clarity, plus the wireless connection seems robust.


With Peter Jackson’s ”The Frighteners” DVD in the tray, we were pleased by the quality of the unit’s upscaling, making this visually complex movie look terrific thanks to its accurate, focused detail and natural colour reproduction. The 5.1-channel Dolby Digital soundtrack also sounds great.


For good measure we tested the system’s musical chops with the remastered version of Marvin Gaye’s ”Trouble Man” soundtrack and the results were enjoyable, particularly its warm reproduction of the emotive strings of ”Poor Abbey Walsh”, but it lacks the finesse and transparency of a good separates system.


”’Verdict”’


There’s no denying the sheer quality of the SC-BT100, which dazzles with a superb feature list, sublime hi-def picture quality and a satisfying sound performance. On the downside, it’s a shame that it’s not a 5.1 system as standard, as having to fork out for extra wireless speakers and the relevant gear is a bit rich given the already high price. Also, the lack of BD Live as found on the DMP-BD50 is a minor disappointment, but these minor gripes aside this is yet another killer proposition from Panasonic.

Score


Score in detail

  • Performance 9
  • Features 9
  • Value 7
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