Panasonic hates wires and so do we, for that matter. So instead of hating your home cinema, why not let Panasonic remove most of the cables? Why not indeed
It's the geek dilemma ne plus ultra: wires are indescribably messy and frustrating, but by far the best way of moving high-quality video and audio around. Panasonic thinks it's got a solution though, with a super new wireless HD standard that allows it to beam 1080p video from a media receiver to a beautiful, thin TV.
Last week, we took a brief look at the Panasonic Viera TC-P54Z1, the inch-thick TV that comes in just one size, 54 inches. Now it's time to create a nationwide flood of salivation with some beautiful pictures of the set-up.
But there's more: Panasonic is buddying up the swanky new TV with a wireless audio system. We have to say, it certainly looks the part, with stick-thin speakers mounted on to individual subwoofers. There are just four 'satellite' speakers, which create a virtual 7.1 surround sound. That's fine in theory, although we'd really rather not lose our beloved centre channel.
All in all, the system looked as slick as oil on an icy road. But there's at least one potential problem. Ofcom, the frustratingly stupid RF spectrum watchdog, has a long history of not liking wireless transmission of HD video. The argument is that these signals can disrupt other transmissions. Panasonic, however, says the signal doesn't travel far enough to cause a problem.
The spokesman we jawed with at CES was adamant the system would be coming to the UK, although we weren't convinced he really meant our damp and freezing land. He actually said Europe when pressed.
We also learnt that the whole system is virtually delay-free. This means, despite the complications of sending something via a wireless connection, you should never see a delay between the sound on your sound system and the picture on your TV. That's quite an achievement.
Perhaps one day we'll get the cool toys the rest of the world has access to. And perhaps one day that toothless watchdog will sink its diseased gums into something like mobile roaming or ludicrous data charges abroad, rather than messing up our gadgets.