Panasonic SC-ZT2 review: Panasonic SC-ZT2

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Typical Price: $1,999.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Properly "wireless". Respectable pseudo surround. Funky, hi-tech looks.

The Bad No integrated BD player. Limited HDMI connectivity. Pricey.

The Bottom Line Panasonic's SC-ZT2 home theatre system lacks some flexibility, but it does a good job with movie decoding and providing pseudo surround without the wires.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.2 Overall

Wireless — the last four letters of this now common term are important, especially when we're talking AV; it's a badge stuck on any and every bit of gear that claims to have away with some form of cabling. The irony is some of this gear actually requires more wires and even more hardware just to do away with a certain cable, but this obvious design flaw tends to escape many a "wireless" AV manufacturer.

Specifically, wireless speakers — the main spaghetti culprit in any multi-channel AV system — have largely remained anything but. Before all you needed was a single speaker cable to the amplifier and sound (albeit wired) spewed forth. Nowadays, most, not all, so-called "wireless" speaker systems involve additional transmitters and receivers, plus all the power paraphernalia that goes with them. And some still need hooking up with speaker cables after all of this.

Design and features

Thankfully, Panasonic has come up with a truly wireless system in the SC-ZT2. It's made up of a receiver box and pair of funky-looking, ultra-slim pole speakers. The columns measure a mere 32mm wide and sit atop a conical base housing a 12cm active subwoofer. All up, the speaker stands around 1200mm tall and each has to be mains powered, which is the only connection. The pair then receive uncompressed audio sent at 2.4GHz frequency from the ZT2's head unit box.

The slimline head unit acts as the decoder/preamp for the system and offers two HDMI inputs and a single output, plus a couple of optical digital audio inputs, line level inputs and wired speaker outputs, including a subwoofer pre-out. We hooked up the bargain Soniq QBP302 Blu-ray player, using an Optoma HD20 projector for the visuals. Panasonic has its own Viera TVs and Blu-ray players in mind to use with the ZT2, including its 3D models which are all compatible with this system.

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