Panasonic has designed its two new soundbars to match the EX700 and EX600 TVs from the new line-up. HTB688 and HTB488 will offer a noticeably improvement in audio over built-in speakers.
Three new soundbars
Certain soundbars from 2016 will carry over into 2017 but Panasonic will also add three new models, two of which are designed to match mid-range TVs in the 2017 line-up.
Specifically, Panasonic says that HTB688 and HTB488 are designed to match the EX600 and EX700 TVs that were unveiled last week, meaning that the soundbars can slide in under the TV. The company has chosen to pair the soundbars with mid-range TVs because more expensive TVs typically incorporate more comprehensive audio systems.
Besides HTB688 and HTB488, Panasonic will launch a compact SC-SB1 with a built-in subwoofer. The two former will deliver 300W and 200W, respectively. HTB688 is a 3.1 system, whereas HTB488 is a 2.1 system. None of the new products support object-based sound such as Dolby Atmos. Panasonic has so far decided to ignore both Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision.
HTB688 and HTB488 have built-in HDMI CEC, meaning that the soundbars can turn on and off with the TV. All three come with bluetooth integrated to allow playback of music from a mobile device. There is no support for WiFi-based music systems such as Airplay and Chromecast.
The soundbars can lay flat on a table or be mounted onto your wall.
SC-HTB688 and SC-HTB488 will be available this spring. Prices were not announced.