Panasonic has officially launched its 2019 range of Soundbars and Blu-Ray players.I was recently invited along to the special launch event held by Panasonic; where the company showcased its 2019 range alongside its new OLED and LED TVs.
Panasonic affirmed its commitment to the Soundbar market, stating that the Hollywood at Home experience doesn’t just end with visual fidelity; that audio also contributes to the at-home cinema experience.
To that end, Panasonic is bringing to market Soundbars that include Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support; as well as 4K and HDR pass-through capabilities. The result is crisp and undistorted sound that, in the words of Product Marketing for Audio and Visual, Aaron Waters, “captures the emotion of the scene the director intended”.
Of the three new Soundbars, only two feature Dolby Atmos and DTS:X (the HTB700 and HTB900). Both units produced quality 3.1 channel sound that filled the hotel boardroom where they were demoed.
The HTB900 (Panasonic’s flagship model for 2019) was tested using a specially crafted Dolby Atmos video; intended to showcase the audio and visual fidelity of Dolby-supported content. The results were fairly impressive, with the multiple layers of sound merging together in a wonderful symphony of crystal-clear sound.
The HTB900 entry-level 510 also features built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant support. This allows you to set up a home network, as it were, of sound devices. Waters demoed this during the launch event by streaming audio directly from his phone, first, to the HTB 900 and then switching the output over to the HTB510.
While the sound quality obviously differed between the two devices, this level of connectivity is impressive. Waters suggested consumers could be listening to music or watching a movie in one part of house; then move the sound to another device located elsewhere in the home to continue listening to it.
As I mentioned above, the HTB900 is Panasonic’s flagship Soundbar for 2019. In addition to support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X formats, the HTB900’s eight speakers have also been tuned by Technics engineers in order to produce high-res sound quality.
The HTB900 also ships alongside a wireless subwoofer. During our demo the subwoofer thumped and thundered to provide a layer of depth to the sound; from both the 4K/HDR content and audio streamed from a mobile device.
The HTB900 also sports an attractive, if not bulky, design. Panasonic attributes its size to its power, something which I don’t challenge; this thing, even at 3.1 channel, has some serious grunt. There’s also a small cut-away located on the back of the unit to make it easier to marry it with Panasonic’s new TV range.
Panasonic is also bringing to market two new audio systems; the PMX92 and AKX320. The company only demoed the former, the PMX92, during its launch event.
Boasting a sleek design reminiscent of an old hi-fi system, the PMX92 appears to be an unusual product for 2019. With the advent of Soundbars and portable audio devices, I wouldn’t imagine there’s much of a market for a mini system anymore.
Panasonic seems to think so, however, and has loaded the PMX92 with a slew of features to accommodate modern consumers. From AUX-in capabilities, to Bluetooth and Chromecast functionality, and even CD playback; the PMX92 appears to do it all.
There’s even an optical input that allows you to connect the PMX92 to your TV.
Soundbar/Mini System Pricing and Availability
The entry-level HTB510 Soundbar is available in all good retailers as of today; with the 700 and 900 hitting stores in July.
Both of Panasonic’s new hi-fi systems are available now, with pricing starting from $359.
Pricing and availability across all sound products have been provided in the table below:
Panasonic has beefed up their dedicated Blu-Ray player offerings; bringing to market the new UB150 player.
Loaded with Ultra HD (4K/HDR) and HDR10+ support, Panasonic touts that the UB150 produces cinematic-quality picture quality and better “life-life images” when coupled with an HDR-enabled TV set.
The UB150 also supports Dolby Atmos and features high-res audio reproduction. By pairing the player with Panasonic’s range of Soundbars, consumers can also enjoy studio master sound quality across a variety of supported file types; MP3/AAC/WMA/FLAC, etc.
The UB150 Blu-Ray player is available now and retails for $279.
Jayden Williams attended the launch event as a guest of Panasonic Australia.