Does this revamp of 2010’s home cinema package live up to its predecessor's high standards?
Panasonic SC-BTT775 vs Panasonic SC-BTT755
It looks strikingly similar to last year’s impressive BTT755, but the main electronics within the 2011 Panasonic have been comprehensively revised. For a start, the new unit sports twin HDMI inputs for other sources and integrated Wi-Fi – both welcome improvements. There’s a useful array of additional media support too, with SD card, USB and iPod inputs hidden behind the fascia in a smart little pop-out dock – much slicker than the cabled ‘puck’ unit provided by some rivals.
It’s not all new and shiny, though. Rather than the Viera Connect online portal found in Panasonic’s latest TVs, we get the outdated Viera Cast, a clunky offering that's comfortably beaten by Sony and LG's smart TV systems. It does at least feature Skype and YouTube, but not much else you’d be bothered about. To use Skype, you’ll need to invest in Panasonic’s optional USB webcam.
SC-BTT775 – picture and sound quality
The online features are scant, but Panasonic’s excellent picture and lusty, well-integrated sound makes up for this. There’s plenty of scale and weight, and speaker-to-speaker cohesion is excellent, despite the apparent sonic mismatch between the towering front speakers and the ultra-slim centre channel.
panThe picture’s full of life and colour too, while motion handling, even in 3D, is first-rate. What’s more, the Panasonic’s HDMI output has Audio Return, so it can receive audio data from most modern sets. Handily, this frees up the other two HDMI inputs.
If online content’s not important to you, this is still a great system that can be boosted to a 7.1 setup by adding the optional SH-FX71 wireless kit and additional speakers.