Panasonic announces soundbars, SC-HTB900, SC-HTB700, SC-HTB510 for 2019
Technics-tuned audio for music and movies.
Panasonic’s press conference in Frankfurt sees three new soundbars being announced and support for object-based audio is incorporated across two of them.Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the latest state-of-the-art object-based audio formats that place sounds where they would occur naturally in space to give the ultimate feeling of immersion, are both supported in the newly announced SC-HTB900 and SC-HTB700 soundbars from Panasonic.
The top of the range HTB900 also features built-in Chromecast and voice control in the form of Works With Google Assistant. The entry level HTB510 also has Chromecast built in but misses out on Atmos and DTS:X.
Developed with input from Panasonic’s Hi-Fi specialists, Technics, the HTB900 has been designed for music as well as movies and a special mode based on the Berlin Philharmonic Concert Hall will be enabled in a future software update to allow an optional audio experience based on one of the world’s greatest concert venues.
The HTB900 and HTB700 both feature upward and forward firing speakers and the sound waves that reflect back from the ceiling help create the 3D audio immersion found in Atmos and DTS:X.
Both soundbars boast substantial power, with the HTB900 sharing 505w of power across six 6.5cm mid-range speakers positioned across the face of the unit and a High-Res Audio compatible tweeter on each end. The SC-HTB700 achieves a slightly lower 376W output via a total of three 6.5cm mid-range speakers positioned across the face of the unit.There has been a redesign of the enclosures and cones to enhance the low frequency reproduction, and fine tuning has improved the clarity of the vocal frequencies which are critical for clear dialogue and enjoyment of movies. Vibrations within the cabinet are now reduced thanks to increased rigidity of the honeycomb structure and the soundbars both work equally well in either wall-mounted or table-top configurations.
An optional 16cm wireless subwoofer can be used with both the HTB900 and HTB700 and the downward facing speaker unit and port provide plenty of extra LFE without the inconvenience of connecting cables.
The HTB900 and entry level HTB510 both come with Chromecast built-in which allows users to easily stream their favourite music services, radio shows or podcasts from a smartphone or other mobile device and there’s support for High-Res Audio in the HTB900. Using multi-room sync with Chromecast speakers, the same song can be played in several rooms, or different music can be played from room to room, for full multi-room entertainment.
Further connectivity is available on both the HTB900 and HTB700 via Bluetooth, and hardware connections are also possible via a pair of HDMI inputs and an optical digital input. There's an ARC enabled HDMI output too.
A Google voice activated speaker already present in the home can be used to control the HTB900 via the Works With Google Assistant certification. Thus, voice commands can be used to play podcasts and streaming services.
If using vocal commands doesn’t appeal, then Panasonic have a Music Control App for extra control and functionality, such as building playlists.
Both soundbars support 4K and HDR pass through which means that 4K and HDR data can be fed from a UHD Blu-ray player, straight through the soundbar to a 4K TV, which can then perform the required processing for optimal performance while watching UHD movies.
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