Panasonic will not release new home theater systems in 2013 but instead release transforming soundbars. The most expensive SC-HTB770 can hang under the TV as a typical soundbar but can also be split into two standing speakers and one center speaker.
Panasonic's 2013 soundbars
Panasonic’s new 2013 TVs are thinner than ever so if you want decent sound you might want to supplement with a soundbar – that obviously also works for other TV makers’ TVs.
Panasonic’s SC-HTB770 soundbar can look like this
The two most expensive models can transform into typical sound systems. SC-HTB770 is basically a soundbar with a wireless subwoofer but it can also act as a 3.1 sound system with two front speakers, one center speaker and a wireless subwoofer. The slightly cheaper SC-HTB370 can be divided into two standing speakers (+ wireless subwoofer). No actual home cinema systems will be released in 2013.
But it can also look like this
Panasonic has also announced the cheaper SC-HTB170, which is a non-transforming soundbar with an integrated subwoofer. All three models have built-in Bluetooth that enables wireless music streaming from a smartphone or tablet. The most expensive SC-HTB770 also comes with three HDMI inputs that allows you to connect other devices, besides the TV. All three models have separate media boxes where all the input connectors are placed.
The cheapest, Panasonic SC-HTB170
The new products will launch in March. Panasonic USA says that we should expect prices to be $400, $300, and $200, respectively.