Panasonic introduced its new line of Blu-ray home-theater-in-a-box systems at CES 2010, adding Netflix, Pandora, and Wi-Fi to last year's feature set.
Home-theater-in-a-box systems often get flak for the integrated components that don't work as well as separate components do, but with Blu-ray HTIBs we've generally found that the built-in disc player works as well as standalone units. Panasonic announced three new Blu-ray HTIBs for 2010, adding the similar features (Wi-Fi, Netflix) to the product line as the company did with its mainstream Blu-ray players.
Key features of the Panasonic SC-BT230:
Key step-up features of the Panasonic SC-BT330:
Key step-up features of the Panasonic SC-BT730:
When we reviewed Panasonic's Blu-ray HTIBs in 2009, we were impressed with their sound quality for the size, but we were let down by some of the missing features. The new lineup addresses some of those criticisms with the addition of Netflix and Pandora streaming, plus gives you the option to add Wi-Fi with the USB dongle.
Still, those improvements might not be enough to catch-up with the competition. LG also announced several Blu-ray HTIBs, with the step-up models featuring built-in Wi-Fi and two HDMI inputs. We can't make any direct comparisons since pricing hasn't be announced for either, but Panasonic's HTIBs will have be considerably cheaper (or sound considerably better) to stay competitive.