First Look: Panasonic SC-BT300
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First Look: Panasonic SC-BT300

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Panasonic's SC-BT300 is a 7.1 home theater system with built-in Blu-ray and its tall-boy speakers help deliver very good sound quality, but it doesn't have the Netflix streaming found on some of its similarly priced competitors.

[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> Hi, I'm Matthew Moskovciak, Senior Associate Editor at CNET.com and we're here with the Panasonic SC-BT300. Now this is a 7.1 home theater system with built-in Blu-ray and it's Panasonic's step up model. Now what that means is that over the SC-BT200, the main difference between the two is that you'll get these big, tall boy speakers and the included amplifier has a little bit more power. Everything else about the unit from the surround, surround back, center channel and sub-woofer and the included the Blu-ray player, it's exactly the same. So the extra $100 you're paying for it is really just for these tall boy speakers. Now the included receiver unit, it has a Blu-ray player inside, and if you pull out right where the Panasonic logo is, you'll also see there's an iPod dock. And we like that it's integrated. It's better than some of the other units that have a separate dock, because then you have another cable that adds to the clutter. One of the nice things about Panasonic's Blu-Ray home theater system is that the built in player is essentially the same as their stand alone players. That means you're still gonna get excellent video quality and you'll get the streaming features such as Amazon video on-demand and YouTube if they have Onsave and DMP-BD60. Now as much as we like that Panasonic included these features, we will point out that we do prefer the Netflix and Pandora streaming that home theater system's from Samsung and LG have. Another disadvantage to the Panasonic system is that if you look around back, there are no video inputs. That means if you have a separate component, like a game console or a cable box, you're gonna need to make a separate connection to the TV and to your home theater unit. And then when you want to pick, say the cable box, you'll have to fumble with two remotes to get it working. Now the main reason that you're gonna spend an extra hundred dollars for this unit over the step down is sound quality. So you're probably wondering, is this worth the extra hundred dollars over the step down? And, while we can't say yes, we did feel that this system does have better sound quality. The two tall front speakers match up just a little bit better with the sub-woofer and you're gonna feel that difference mostly on music rather than movies, so if you listen to a lot of 2-channel music such as CDs or off your iPod, this may be a better system for you. All together, like the step down unit, we felt like the SC-BT300 offered a lot of performance both on the audio side and the video side for the price, but if you're really looking for streaming services like Netflix or YouTube or Pandora, you're gonna have to go with another system. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET.Com and this is the Panasonic SC-BT300. ^M00:02:41 [ Music ]

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