Panasonic intros new line of Blu-ray HTIBs

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.

Matthew Moskovciak Senior Associate Editor / Reviews - Home theater
Covering home audio and video, Matthew Moskovciak helps CNET readers find the best sights and sounds for their home theaters. E-mail Matthew or follow him on Twitter @cnetmoskovciak.
Matthew Moskovciak
2 min read

Panasonic SC-BT730
Panasonic SC-BT730 Panasonic

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:

  • 5.1 home theater system
  • Built-in Blu-ray player
  • PHL Reference Chroma Processor Plus video processor
  • Bamboo cone speakers in the center channel
  • Supports Panasonic's VieraCast streaming content portal, which will feature content from Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, Picasa, Netflix, Pandora, and Twitter
  • Wi-Fi ready, requires USB Wi-Fi dongle (sold separately)
  • iPod-iPhone dock
  • No release date or pricing announced

Key step-up features of the Panasonic SC-BT330:

  • Tall-boy front speakers
  • Kelton-type subwoofer
  • Note: The BT330 lacks the bamboo cone speakers on the center channel available on the BT230
  • No release date or pricing announced

Key step-up features of the Panasonic SC-BT730:

  • Wireless rear speakers
  • Bamboo cone speakers in the center channel
  • No release date or pricing announced

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.

CES 2010: Panasonic's new Blu-ray and home theater products (photos)

See all photos