Panasonic Finalizes Sound Bar Prices

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Secaucus, N.J. - Panasonic firmed up the pricing and ship dates of two

previously announced sound bars

, announcing that the SC-HTB10 ships this month at a suggested $199.

The $349-suggested SC-HTB500 ships in August.

Both sound bars feature built-in decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, Dolby Virtual Speaker technology, single HDMI 1.4 input, one optical digital-audio input and single HDMI 1.4 output with audio return channel (ARC) capability.

The HDMI 1.4 input passes through 3D video from a connected 3D Blu-ray player. The company previously said it also believes the sound bars' HDMI input and output are also compatible with the

HDMI 1.4a format

to pass through the 3D broadcast formats specified in the 1.4a spec.

Both surround bars feature wall-mount bracket, VieraLink HDMI CEC, Clear Mode Dialog technology to move the audio image from below the screen to screen level, and an IR input in case the embedded IR receiver is blocked.

The 120-watt SC-HTB10 is 31.5-inches-wide and features two 2.5-inch full-range speakers and two 2.5-inch subwoofers, one firing front, the other firing back to cancel vibrations. The drivers use a new version of Panasonic's bamboo-cone technology to boost response time.

The 240-watt 41.5-inch-wide SC-HTB500 surround bar, besides adding more power and wider size, comes with outboard wireless subwoofer.

In a related announcement, Panasonic said it launched May shipments of its SC-ZT2 wireless surround system at a suggested $999.

The SC-ZT2 consists of a preamp/decoder control unit incorporating wireless audio transmitter. It's paired with two tall, thin wireless floorstanding speakers with built-in amplification and subwoofers mounted in the speakers' pedestals.

The SC-ZT2 replaces a $1,799 four-speaker wireless surround system called the SC-ZT1.

The input/output complement of the 160-watt SC-ZT2 consists of two 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 inputs with repeater function, two optical digital audio inputs, two analog audio aux inputs, a 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 output with audio return channel, one optical digital input and Viera Link.

As with the surround bars, the company previously said the ZT2's HDMI ins and outs are compatible with the HDMI 1.4a spec.


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