LAS VEGAS – Panasonic unveiled more than a dozen
home audio products during International CES, including
its first AirPlay-equipped audio products and
its first 3D Blu-ray HTiBs that can be controlled from
The lineup includes three 3D Blu-ray HTiBs, all capable
of being controlled from smartphones. The 3D Bluray
HTiBs are Panasonic’s first with DLNA certification
to stream music from a networked PC or NAS drive.
There are also three soundbars, all of which are
among Panasonic’s first convertible models that can
be split to create two vertical speakers. Two are the
company’s first soundbars with stereo Bluetooth;
Three tabletop CD/tuner audio systems, two with
iPod/iPhone dock and one dock-less model with Air-
Play and USB charging port are also part of the company’s
Three tabletop speakers systems, which include
Panasonic’s first with AirPlay and first Bluetooth-only
speaker, are also new.
Most of the products ship in April.
Here is a look by product segment:
3D Blu-ray HTiBs: As in the company’s 2011
lineup, this year’s 3D Blu-ray HTiBs feature 2D-to-3D
conversion from 2D DVD and Blu-ray discs, access to
Panasonic’s portfolio of streaming Internet audio and
video services (now called Viera Connect), Skype videochat
with optional webcam, HDMI 1.4a inputs and
outputs with audio return channel (ARC), and a postprocessing
technology that adds height channels to
Panasonic is adding multiple new features and technologies,
starting with smartphone control of basic
system functions via Wi-Fi when a Panasonic app is installed
on Apple, Android or BlackBerry smartphones.
Also new is DLNA technology for streaming audio,
video and pictures from a compatible networked PC or
network-attached storage (NAS) device, said product
manager Troy Livingston. Other new features include the
ability of all three HTiBs to up-convert 2D Internet-streaming
services to 3D, and 3D Cinema Surround post-processing
technology in all three models. The post-processing technology upgrades the channel-height technology
launched last year and adds ability to make sound jump
out toward viewers when objects in a 3D video program
jump out of the screen, Livingston said.
Also new in two of the three HTiBs is a Made For
iPod/iPhone USB port in lieu of Apple 30-pin connector, enabling playback of iPod/iPhone audio
while also enabling the playback of
content on a USB stick or USB hard
drive. The top Blu-ray HTiB features a
30-pin Made for iPod/iPhone connector
in a pop-out drawer to play back iPod/
iPhone-stored audio and video.
Another upgrade is 24 fps output of
streamed video services, Livingston
said. Like last year, the models offer 24
fps Blu-ray output.
All three access the company’s expanded
selection of Viera Connect services,
including web browser, ability to
do Skype video chats while watching a
TV show in split-screen mode, and such
new apps as Flixster and an upgraded
YouTube app that delivers full access to
The 3D HTiBs are the SC-BTT190,
BTT195 and BTT490, all with 5.1 speakers.
The opening-price model features
satellite speakers, optional Wi-Fi, one
HDMI 1.4a input, and one HDMI 1.4a
output with ARC.
The 195 adds tallboy left-right speakers
up front. The top-end BTT490 offers
improved left-right tallboy speakers, two
HDMI 1.4a inputs and embedded Wi-Fi.
Prices weren’t disclosed, but the 2011
3D Blu-ray HTiB lineup were priced at
an everyday $399, $499 and $599.
Soundbars: Three new soundbars
with outboard subwoofer are among the
company’s first multi-positional, or convertible,
models. The first was launched
late last year. These bars can be split into
two separate left-right speakers that can be
mounted on the wall or on included bases.
All three feature built-in Dolby Digital/
DTS 5.1 decoders and Dolby Virtual
Speaker, which simulates a 5.1-channel
soundfield through a 2.1-speaker system.
They also feature Dolby Pro Logic II.
Pricing wasn’t announced.