Following on the back of the mightily popular SC-BT200, Panasonic have made a few enhancements to keep the SC-BT230 as one of the best Blu-ray home cinema systems available.
From first impressions, there is not a great deal that appears to have changed with this latest system. It does not have the sharp styling of the Sony BDV-E370, instead Panasonic have kept the looks of the Panasonic SC-BT230 very similar to the previous model with a slightly sleeker and more unspoilt look about it. As the previous model was such a good seller for Panasonic they have not changed the specification too much either and have simply evolved the features rather than be drastically different. We still have the well liked integrated slide out iPod dock, Viera Cast system, and wireless rear speaker option, but we also have some welcome new options too.
Firstly, the Panasonic SC-BT230 is now Wi-Fi ready meaning you don’t have to trail a network cable to the player from your broadband rounter or modem – you can simply connect the DY-WL10 wireless dongle into the USB socket on the rear, and you’re away. Like a lot of systems, the dongle is an additional extra so you only have to buy it if you really need it. Whilst we’re on the subject of wireless, Panasonic have developed a brand new wireless receiver unit, the SH-FX71, for the SC-BT230 so if running cables to your rear speakers is a problem, this could be an option for you.
Connectivity on the SC-BT230 is respectable with a single HDMI output, and two optical inputs, but this model has two USB inputs, one on the front and one on the rear, which will be taken up if you buy the additional wireless dongle. The HDMI socket is ARC (Audio Return Channel) ready meaning that if you have a compatible television, the unit can receive audio signals through the cable without having to connect an additional optical cable from the television to the home cinema system.
The speakers themselves are neat and compact units but suprisingly weighty to help ensure they stay planted. Panasonic have continued with the Advanced Bamboo Cone technology to help ensure the vocals stay clear and well defined. The subwoofer is also slightly smaller than before and is now a front ported standard 16cm type.
What to consider before you buy the Panasonic SC-BT230
If you need the wireless option (speakers or wifi) they are both an additional cost that you may have to factor in. We would also liked to have seen an additional HDMI input to improve the overall flexibility of the system.
Why you should buy the Panasonic SC BT230 Blu-ray Home Cinema System
Again, Panasonics Blu-ray system has just the right combination of features, looks and price to make it a good value home cinema system. It may not have sharp styling of some it’s competitors, but the SC-BT230 is a safe bet, and one that you’ll enjoy for years to come. Rating: /5
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More details and full specification available on the Panasonic website