The Sony STR-DN840 is by far the best AV receiver value of the year, offering tons of...
The Sony STR-DN1040 is a truly first-class AV receiver, boasting tons of wireless technology...
Onkyo's TX-NR626 is a value-packed AV receiver with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even a turntable...
The Marantz NR1403 is a slim, handsome AV receiver with excellent sound and plenty of...
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, using an 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.
We'd kinda would've liked to see a drawer on the ZT2 head unit and the ability to actually play discs, rather than just decode them from another source. It wouldn't have taken much to include a Blu-ray player as part of the package, but we suppose Panasonic will point you elsewhere in its extensive AV system range for such a deal. We also feel the HDMI count is too low in this day and age — two inputs and a single out aren't going to get you very far with other component integrations.