Panasonic SC-ZT1: Wireless, ultraslim speaker system

Panasonic's SC-ZT1 is a wireless home theater system, that features four superslim speakers that create a virtual 7.1 surround sound effect.

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

Panasonic released a bundle of home theater systems at CES 2009, but the SC-ZT1 is easily the best of the bunch. The SC-ZT1 is a wireless home theater system that uses the 2.4GHz band to send uncompressed audio to all four speakers. Like all wireless systems, you'll need need to run a power cable for each speaker--so it's not completely wireless--but you won't have to deal with long speaker cable runs all over your living room.

The SC-ZT1 is somewhat unusual as its technically a 4.0 system--there are just the four, spindlelike speakers (Panasonic calls them Sound Slim Speakers), pictured in the image. These four speakers each have four vertically aligned speakers within them, which the SC-ZT1 uses to create a virtual 7.1 surround sound effect. Sure, it probably won't sound as good as a real 7.1 system, but you'll be dealing with a lot fewer wires. You'll also notice that the SC-ZT1 lacks a dedicated, separate subwoofer. That's replaced by integrated subwoofers in each of the speakers, filling in the low end. Again, it won't match the rumble of a dedicated unit, but it's definitely less hassle and looks better in your living room.

The SC-ZT1 is slated to be released in the spring, with pricing to be determined. We don't expect the unit to wow audiophiles, but for decor-minded buyers who still want surround sound, it looks like an attractive compromise.

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