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Panasonic SC-BFT800 review

Ben Pitt
7 Nov 2010
Panasonic SC-BFT800
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
630
inc VAT

Plenty of class but notably lacking in inputs, WiFi and the level of sound quality we expect at this price

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This Blu-ray 3D sound bar is a joy to behold. It's designed to hang from the wall, and at 62mm deep, it's as slim as most TVs. The central plastic fascia slides to the left to reveal the disc compartment, while pressing a second Eject button makes it slide to the right to reveal an iPod dock. The on-screen iPod browser is painfully slow so thankfully it's possible to leave the door open and use the iPod's own controls. The subwoofer is a sizeable lump, but because its signal is sent wirelessly, it shouldn't be too hard to find somewhere inconspicuous to hide it.

Sadly, other areas aren't as elegant. The lack of WiFi is frustrating for something that's likely to be wall mounted. We found the remote control confusing, with inconsistencies in how certain buttons behaved depending on the selected mode. USB and SDXC sockets are hidden behind a door on the top of the unit, but media format support is limited to DivX, JPEG and MP3 for USB devices and JPEG and AVCHD for SD cards.

Selecting VieraCast brings up a pertinent message that services can change without notice. It currently includes access to Picasa and six video streaming services, although YouTube and Dailymotion are the only ones that are primarily in English. They're presented over a series of customisable HomeScreens; thankfully, there's an option to turn off the incessant ping sounds that accompany each push of the remote control.

YouTube support was comprehensive, with the ability to log in and access Favourites, Subscriptions, Playlists and your own videos. It was even possible to rate videos or flag them as inappropriate. Text searches worked well, with reasonably quick input and results appearing as we typed. Frustratingly, though, the transport controls on the remote didn't work. Navigating the on-screen transport controls using the five-way pad wasn't as friendly, particularly as there's no way to rewind or fast-forward videos. Some were stretched to the wrong aspect ratio and lip sync was occasionally out.