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Panasonic SC-BFT800 review

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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Picasa support was much better. After logging in, our own photo collections were easily accessible and slideshows appeared with a simple dissolve transition between each photo and no irritating loading icons. Slideshows were accompanied by some twee music but turning the volume right down put a stop to it. We couldn’t find a way to subscribe to friends’ photos, though. As with the Picasa website, text searches are based on the names and tags of photos, not users. An Activity section included friends’ photos we’d viewed recently on a PC, but while it was possible to add albums to a Favourites folder, we were unable to add the person to see any new albums they upload.

Accessing media files on the home network via DLNA was straightforward enough, but trawling through large music libraries was a slow process. Slideshows weren’t as elegant here as in the Picasa viewer, with a large Loading message appearing each time a new photo is requested. A PAL MPEG-2 file was the only video that would play, with our DivX, WMV and AVC files all appearing greyed out.

There are more negatives than positives to report about VieraCast, but the Picasa module is the highlight. If viewing your own photos is a high priority, Panasonic’s players perform admirably.

The SC-BFT800’s sockets are in short supply, too, with a solitary optical S/PDIF input and no HDMI or even a phono analogue input. Pair it with a 3D-capable TV, though, and it can use HDMI 1.4a’s audio return channel to pipe sounds from a TV set-top box back down its HDMI output socket.

We’re yet to be persuaded by claims that this – or any – sound bar delivers a convincing surround effect using its narrow strip of speakers. The sound stage does seem wider than the bar itself but there’s no comparison between this and true surround sound systems. Otherwise, sound quality was impressive, with an authoritative tone and thunderous bass that still managed to be precise and focused. High frequencies were somewhat lacking, though – being generous, we’d describe the tone as warm, but at times it just seemed murky. Switching the EQ preset from Flat to Clear improved matters but high frequencies then seemed a little harsh.

The BFT800 scores top marks for style, but £630 is simply too expensive for what’s on offer.

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Details

Price £630
Rating **

Connections

HDMI inputs 0
HDMI outputs 1
Component inputs 0
Component outputs 0
Output resolutions 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
Total SCART sockets 0
SCART socket type 0
S-Video input 0
S-video output 0
Composite inputs 0
Composite outputs 1
Stereo phono inputs 0
Stereo phono outputs 0
Coaxial S/PDIF inputs 0
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs 0
Optical S/PDIF inputs 1
Optical S/PDIF outputs 0
Multi-channel input no
Speaker configuration 2.1
Main unit end speaker connection type integrated
Speaker end speaker connection type integrated
Other connections USB, SDXC, iPod dock
Wired network ports 1x 10/100
Wireless networking support optional 802.11n

Playback

Surround sound formats Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD HRA, DTS-HD MA Essential
Optical drive yes
Supported playback disc formats Blu-ray, DVD, CD
Audio format support MP3, WAV
Video playback formats AVCHD, DivX
Image viewing formats JPEG
Radio FM

Speakers

Speaker configuration 2.1
RMS power output 300W
RMS power centre N/A
RMS power front 180W
RMS power surround N/A
RMS power subwoofer 120W
Wall mountable yes
Centre speaker cable length N/A
Front speaker cable length N/A
Surround speaker cable length N/A

General

Extras remote control, wall-mounting kit
Size 1035x85x188mm
Subwoofer dimensions 250x356x323mm
Centre speaker dimensions N/A
Front speaker dimensions N/A
Surround speaker dimensions N/A
Power consumption standby 16W
Power consumption on 36W

Buying Information

Price £630
Warranty one-year RTB
Supplier http://www.forumhifivisual.co.uk
Details www.panasonic.co.uk