Panasonic Blu-ray home theater system breaks the $1,000 barrier--but is it worth it?
It looks as if the Panasonic SC-BT100--the company's first home theater in a box system with a built-in Blu-ray player--will retail for $999.
Now that Blu-ray has secured its position as the one and only HD disc format, it's only natural to see it becoming more of a standard feature on desktop PCs, laptops,
If the price sticks, it would appear to be a pretty good deal at first glance (plenty of high-style home theater systems can cost more than $1,000, despite being limited to playing back standard CDs and DVDs.) Indeed, the Panasonic model has a few advantages versus the Samsung model: it has a five-disc changer (versus the single-disc player on the Samsung), an SD card slot (for playing back digital media, including high-definitionvideo), and wireless rear speakers. It's also said to be compliant, meaning that it can play the BonusView (picture-in-picture video content) found on some newer Blu-ray discs.
Unfortunately, there's a pretty big list of caveats as well. The Samsung is a 7.1-channel system out of the box, whereas the Panasonic is merely 7.1-ready: you'll need to invest in an additional set of speakers (and another wireless transceiver unit) to get to seven speakers. While Profile 1.1 compatibility is better than many of the Blu-ray players currently on the market, it's already behind the curve compared with the state of the art Profile 2.0/BD-Live players already announced (Panasonic's own
You can have your cake (Blu-ray 2.0) and eat it too (7.1 home theater with plenty of inputs and outputs) for about $150 more than the SC-BT100's asking price by investing in a $400
CNET TV hands-on video: Panasonic SC-BT100