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Panasonic home theater systems reviewed: Blu things come in small packages

CNET reviews Panasonic's Blu-ray home theater systems, finding that they offer solid sound quality at a budget price, but they lack the Netflix streaming found on some similarly priced competitors.

Although the technology debuted in 2006, for many consumers Blu-ray still feels like brand-new tech. That's why home-theater-in-a-box (HTIB) systems like the Panasonic SC-BT200 and SC-BT300 feel like such an incredible deal--with a street price as low as $450 for the SC-BT200, you get a 7.1 speaker system plus a slimline AV receiver with an integrated Blu-ray player.

The biggest knock against both of the systems we reviewed is that that competing HTIBs offer better streaming media options; both the Samsung HT-BD1250T and LG LHB953 have both Netflix and Pandora streaming, which we prefer to the Panasonic's YouTube and Amazon Video On Demand streaming.

On the other hand, both the SC-BT200 and SC-BT300 offer sound quality darn good for the price, with the SC-BT300 sounding slightly better thanks to more power and tall-boy front speakers. Although we haven't done hands-on testing with its competitors yet (coming soon), there's no doubt that Panasonic Blu-ray HTIBs are well-thought-out systems that offer a legitimate home theater experience on a budget.

Read the full review of the Panasonic SC-BT200
Read the full review of the Panasonic SC-BT300