Review: Panasonic SC-BT737 3D Blu-ray Home Theatre System

By Brank Miletic

These days, a home theatre system is pretty much de rigueur for those of us that live in anything more sophisticated than a cardboard box.

However, if you are not someone that needs many kilometres of Cat 5 cabling around your abode, or happen to think that a home theatre must cost over $50K before it’s a worthy contender, then there are a heap of products for you.

One such product is the Panasonic SC-BT737 3D Blu-ray home theatre system – a 5.1-channel surround system that also comes with wireless rear speakers and a Blu-ray player.

Now you are probably wondering why Panasonic sound system would include a video device, specifically one of the Blu-ray variety? This is because apart from the fact that Blu-ray does offer a better picture than DVD for example, the real advantage with Blu-ray is in the sound delivery- the simple fact of the matter is that 5.1 Dolby Stereo is what’s known as a ‘6 channel system’- and in any multilevel sound system, there are bound to some audio losses.

With Blu-ray, the sound losses are kept to a bare microscopic minimum, so to be able to hear all those great background noises that were originally recorded during filming, you do need a decent system. And of course, the Blu-ray player is a 3D model.

The SC-BT737 delivers quite good sound quality from the bamboo cone speakers for the centre and front speaker units.

Setting up the system was easy. It’s labelled as ‘wireless’ but for a wireless system, it sure has a lot of wires, which allow the connection of the speakers to the main unit, however you can go wireless by using the wireless router that comes with the system. However, let me be clear that wired sound will always work better than a wireless system and as such, those pesky wires are a small price to pay for much more linear sound.

The speakers (bar the sub-woofer) all come in a two-piece configuration that requires a little bit of dexterity, buy once they are up, they do look slick.

Once you have put the whole system together (which should take no longer than 30 minutes tops), connecting the Blu-ray to the TV was as simple as plugging in one HDMI cable and you are ready to rock and roll.

As mentioned earlier, this surround sound home theatre system from Panasonic is a nice little unit- and at around $800, the whole unit is well priced for what you actually get. Which in this case is a 1000W sound system, with a sub-woofer, four speakers, sound bar/main unit and a 3D Blu-ray player.
 

For this test, the movies watched were Avatar and Coraline – two films that are so completely different from each other in terms of sound delivery, images and action and that they should, in theory at least, test the limits of the sound system somewhat.

As an all-in-one sound system, the surround sound that came out of the speaker array did have the cinema-like feel to it. There was a fullness to the sound and even small secondary sounds in the background could be heard with ease.

For any sound system to work well, the sound must not transfer through walls, windows etc, so if you have this unit in a room with glass walls, I doubt you will be able to appreciate units like this.

But when you buy an all-you-can-eat meal, you certainly shouldn’t expect gourmet food- and as such, the SC-BT737 Panasonic home theatre kit will not appeal to all and sundry. However, if you want better sound clarity, a crisper audio delivery from your movies than you currently get out of your TV speakers and of course quite decent surround sound, then the Panasonic SC-BT737 is ideal.

But if you happen to be even a quasi-audiophile, I wouldn’t bother with any AV system below the $2000 mark, which at even that level will quite literally blow your socks off.

Pros: Good sound, easy set-up, slick appearance and easy overall integration.
Cons: Wireless not that perfect

3.3 Out of 5 Shacks

RRP
$800

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