Panasonic SC-HTB900 Soundbar Review & Comments

zeppelino

Distinguished Member
You do need eARC if you want to pass lossless audio back to the soundbar, so it depends on how the Atmos is delivered. As you point out, streaming uses DD+. Since DTS:X is currently only available on discs and delivered using DTS-HD Master Audio (with a couple of exceptions), you'd definitely need eARC to send a lossless DTS:X signal back to the soundbar.
I should’ve qualified my point better - you can connect the uhd player direct to the bar - obviously you’d need a player with two hdmi ports due to hdr pass through issue (lack of DV support etc)
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Amazon has it for £549, but it looks like every other retailer has gone back to the original price of £699!
 

Eotyr

Standard Member
Hi. "So.." I'm considering one of these in the hope that it'll drop back down to £550-or-better come the day, and am looking here to sound-out a couple of concerns:
I'm currently using a 2013 Cambridge Audio Minx TV base thing which has been greatly enjoyed but does have limitations. It cost me £250, which is a long way from £550, let alone £700. I'm mindful of the law-of-deminishing-returns thing and am primarily wondering if this likely to prove an expensive disappointment in my case - ?
Also - is someone able to explain how this unit interacts with Spotify, please? Am I able to see and control Spotify through the TV with this (I don't know a thing about Chromecast)? If not, what benefit is Chromecast over a simple Bluetooth-phone connection?
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
Hi. "So.." I'm considering one of these in the hope that it'll drop back down to £550-or-better come the day, and am looking here to sound-out a couple of concerns:
I'm currently using a 2013 Cambridge Audio Minx TV base thing which has been greatly enjoyed but does have limitations. It cost me £250, which is a long way from £550, let alone £700. I'm mindful of the law-of-deminishing-returns thing and am primarily wondering if this likely to prove an expensive disappointment in my case - ?
Also - is someone able to explain how this unit interacts with Spotify, please? Am I able to see and control Spotify through the TV with this (I don't know a thing about Chromecast)? If not, what benefit is Chromecast over a simple Bluetooth-phone connection?
hi. I can give my thoughts on some of this.
i don’t know your soundbase, but I was listening to a Cambridge audio soundbase at the weekend which someone I know bought earlier this year for a similar price to what you paid. I’ve also listened to one or 2 others at that price point, and imho my htb900 is a very significant step up.
my opinions....
for general dialogue, listening to the news etc. there’s little value in the upgrade.
For action films etc. the difference is very big. The sound is so much richer, wider, deeper Etc.
sky Q have recently started broadcasting atmos for some football games and with the 900 its incredibly immersive.
I use the bar with Spotify fairly often and again the sound is fantastic. I’ve only heard comparable quality on other similarly priced, or more expensive, devices.
i haven’t tried Spotify through the tv, as I find it very easy to use the bar directly from a tablet or phone, via Bluetooth or casting, from the Spotify app. I tend to cast as it’s so easy to do, and it’s so reliable and stable. I may be wrong but I also thought that by casting you get uncompressed audio, via your wifi, whereas via Bluetooth it is compressed.
if you have any other questions about this, let me know, but I would say that there would be a very big step up from your current device to this one.
id also say the 900 is certainly not the only bar to consider at the price point. I have a panny oled tv, and the 2 work superbly together.
good luck :)
 

Eotyr

Standard Member
Thanks a lot for your consideration thedoswells, really encouraging, I'm relieved and grateful.
I've become used to seeing and controlling Spotify on the TV screen via the app on PS4 but am starting to realise that Chromecast won't enable that; I'd need a Spotify app on the TV itself I assume. I'll deal with it, not a biggie.
The only other set-up I've been seriously considering is the Sony ZF9 but, having had a look at both, I'm strongly favouring the Panasonic at this late stage partly as it seems a better physical match for the 50GX800 TV it'd be paired with.
Will keep an excited eye out for deals, thanks again
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
Thanks a lot for your consideration thedoswells, really encouraging, I'm relieved and grateful.
I've become used to seeing and controlling Spotify on the TV screen via the app on PS4 but am starting to realise that Chromecast won't enable that; I'd need a Spotify app on the TV itself I assume. I'll deal with it, not a biggie.
The only other set-up I've been seriously considering is the Sony ZF9 but, having had a look at both, I'm strongly favouring the Panasonic at this late stage partly as it seems a better physical match for the 50GX800 TV it'd be paired with.
Will keep an excited eye out for deals, thanks again
no problem at all. In case I wasn’t clear, you wouldn’t need chrome cast to use Spotify from a phone or tablet. You just launch the app and press the cast button on the app. It will find the soundbar and you just click it to play. It does sound very good indeed.
also if it helps, Ive been looking at the gx800 in the same store I bought my tv, as I know a couple of people interested and it seems very good indeed.
when I bought my panny tv it came down to the ZF9 and the 900. I have to say I liked the zf9 a lot but felt the 900 was at least equally as good and would work better being same brand as my tv. That has proved true as they work superbly together, no issues with finding each other, no lip sync issues etc.
be interested to hear how you get on. :smashin:
 

Ashy9

Standard Member
Hi. "So.." I'm considering one of these in the hope that it'll drop back down to £550-or-better come the day, and am looking here to sound-out a couple of concerns:
I'm currently using a 2013 Cambridge Audio Minx TV base thing which has been greatly enjoyed but does have limitations. It cost me £250, which is a long way from £550, let alone £700. I'm mindful of the law-of-deminishing-returns thing and am primarily wondering if this likely to prove an expensive disappointment in my case - ?
Also - is someone able to explain how this unit interacts with Spotify, please? Am I able to see and control Spotify through the TV with this (I don't know a thing about Chromecast)? If not, what benefit is Chromecast over a simple Bluetooth-phone connection?
Hi I've never had a sound base but the Panasonic htb900 has replaced the Yamaha ysp2700 that I owned and I have to say that the Panasonic in my opinion is much better really clear wide sound and Atmos Dtsx in my living room has been really impressive so in my opinion you won't be disappointed.Regards Spotify we Bluetooth from phone to the bar no problems great clear sound and never had any connection problems like I used to get with the Yamaha so all I can say is it's an amazing soundbar go buy one enjoy!!
 

rdl1

Standard Member
Thinking of picking one up today. It's currently £529 at Richer Sounds, Amazon and AO. Had hoped it would have dropped a bit lower for Black Friday.
 

Eotyr

Standard Member
I've ordered one in but am unlikely to be able to pick it up before mid-week. Using Pricespy, I've seen that venders introduce and then retract offers, and then there's that little stock icon to worry about. Richer Sounds apparently have stock, despite Pricespy's icon being greyed-out. Can't be doing with it, so I've ordered early which I'm sure lots of others are doing too. RS must be catching lots of trade with their various "guarantees".

Also, seems that both of the alternatives suggested in this review (Sony ZF9 and Samsung HW-Q70R) are available around the £500-mark.
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
I've ordered one in but am unlikely to be able to pick it up before mid-week. Using Pricespy, I've seen that venders introduce and then retract offers, and then there's that little stock icon to worry about. Richer Sounds apparently have stock, despite Pricespy's icon being greyed-out. Can't be doing with it, so I've ordered early which I'm sure lots of others are doing too. RS must be catching lots of trade with their various "guarantees".

Also, seems that both of the alternatives suggested in this review (Sony ZF9 and Samsung HW-Q70R) are available around the £500-mark.
not sure about the Samsung but the potential advantage of the Sony is that you can add rears to it, which you can’t with the panny. That wasn’t an issue for me so I went for the 900. I listened to the Sony and really liked but but still very happy I went with the panny as it is superb. Good luck...
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
Between this and the Q80r, for a GZ950, which soundbar should I chose?
I think this depends on whether you will want to add the optional rear speakers of the Samsung, which is not an option on the Panasonic. If not, then both are well made, and will sound verygood as front heavy bars with a sub. Since the Panasonic is cheaper I would then go for it, as it will work very well with the gz950. it is the combination I have and is really good at the price.
 

Eotyr

Standard Member
Problems!
I was pleased to pick one of these up yesterday, though fear it has a fatal flaw. Is anyone with experience of the following able to help please?
I'm using a 50GX800 connected to the bar via their respective ARC ports. An original 2013 PS4 is connected directly to the TV via another HDMI. I have a very noticeable audio delay on PS4 whilst using these connections.
The delay can be removed by connecting the PS4 directly to the soundbar, but that's (presumably) not going to be good enough for PS5 which I'm assuming (hoping) will provide a UHD player and support DV and HDR10+. This sound bar won't pass those two formats.
I can't see that there are settings on the bar, tv, or PS4 that might help. I've updated firmware (to 1.00.04.00), tried different leads, tried a factory reset on the bar; I've run out of ideas.
Is anyone able to help?
TIA
 
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thedoswells

Well-known Member
Problems!
I was pleased to pick one of these up yesterday, though fear it has a fatal flaw. Is anyone with experience of the following able to help please?
I'm using a 50GX800 connected to the bar via their respective ARC ports. An original 2013 PS4 is connected directly to the TV via another HDMI. I have a very noticeable audio delay on PS4 whilst using these connections.
The delay can be removed by connecting the PS4 directly to the soundbar, but that's (presumably) not going to be good enough for PS5 which I'm assuming (hoping) will provide a UHD player and support DV and HDR10+. This sound bar won't pass those two formats.
I can't see that there are settings on the bar, tv, or PS4 that might help. I've updated firmware (to 1.00.04.00), tried different leads, tried a factory reset on the bar; I've run out of ideas.
Is anyone able to help?
TIA
is it just the PS4 that has the audio delay? Cheers
 

Eotyr

Standard Member
Hi, thanks for the reply @thedoswells
I've traced the problem to the TV, having connected-up my old set to find that that works fine with the HTB900. There's a delay of around half-a-second between controller inputs / onscreen actions - and the accompanying audio on the GX800. I guess I'll be re-reading the GX800 owner's thread. Can I ask, have you a PS4 in use with your (?) GZ950? It's my only external device, I'm not having trouble with any of the onboard apps.
Otherwise, I'm reasonably impressed with the HTB900, albeit with some initial reservation about the tweeters (a little on the shrill side for me, although I'm only sat about 7ft away). It has way more presence and detail than my current speaker. Atmos/surround (is there a difference?!) effect isn't too exciting in my opinion but certainly added something pleasing to the test I gave it with Dark Crystal.
Got some thinking to do. I largely went with the HTB900 as I was enjoying the GX800 so much, this seems a silly problem.
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
Hi. I'm not a gamer but my son has a Ps4.
I could try it but I'm afraid I don't know how to use it lol. I think your idea of checking the TV thread is a good one.
I've had no issues with internal apps or external devices I'm afraid. It's a strange one for sure.
Interesting what you say about the tweeters. What settings do you have on the soundbar?
Cheers
 

Eotyr

Standard Member
Thanks for the thought. I've asked in the GX800 owner's thread as I think that's where the fault lies.
The tweeters are a personal thing I guess, I'm not sat far from them either. There is attenuation available in the settings for the sub but not the tweets. Still to properly play around with the various sound modes too.
 

thedoswells

Well-known Member
Thanks for the thought. I've asked in the GX800 owner's thread as I think that's where the fault lies.
The tweeters are a personal thing I guess, I'm not sat far from them either. There is attenuation available in the settings for the sub but not the tweets. Still to properly play around with the various sound modes too.
Hope you get a solution.
 

Eotyr

Standard Member
Quick note to tidy up. I've returned the HTB900 for a Sony ZF9 which I think is a deal more impressive for the money. The HTB900 was very likeable and significantly easier to use than the Sony; I'd have kept it were it not for the ARC-sync problem with the PS4. Panasonic's helpline staff informed me that it's not an uncommon problem and, having spent some time reading about ARC subsequently, I can see loads of trouble reported across all brands. Last time I went through this process (2013), pretty-much all I remember having to worry about was input lag..
Anyway, thanks to those who helped and good luck to others reading
 

Ashy9

Standard Member
Quick note to tidy up. I've returned the HTB900 for a Sony ZF9 which I think is a deal more impressive for the money. The HTB900 was very likeable and significantly easier to use than the Sony; I'd have kept it were it not for the ARC-sync problem with the PS4. Panasonic's helpline staff informed me that it's not an uncommon problem and, having spent some time reading about ARC subsequently, I can see loads of trouble reported across all brands. Last time I went through this process (2013), pretty-much all I remember having to worry about was input lag..
Anyway, thanks to those who helped and good luck to others reading
Good to hear your sorted enjoy your new soundbar merry Christmas
 

JCJD

Novice Member
Hi. For anyone looking to buy one of these soundbars. There is a deal at Richer sounds where you receive a £400 discount when bought with any 4k TV. I have just bought one with a 43 Inch hisense at £249, which means the total for both was £448. I've then sold the TV for £200, as I have no need for one.
Total paid....£248 and someone got a nice discount on a budget TV too!
 
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