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on September 20, 2012
The system is one of the better mid range Home Theater in a Box setups. Build quality is on par for what you are paying for it, which is really a polite way to say it doesn't suck, but you won't change anyone's religion with the quality. The front "Tall Boy" speakers are my main gripe, they should be named skinny, anemic, fragile, wobbly boy speakers, but I suppose that would tough to fit on the box. Their plastic mounting stands seem a little flimsy and even screwed together and placed properly they tend to feel fragile like they could snap in two with marginal force. I'd caution having them anywhere near young children or any other bouncy kinetic forces that could snap them. That being said the sound quality is, quite frankly..amazing. With the fine tuning options in the Audio setup, finding that sweet spot on sound is relatively easy. The Highs and Mids are crisp, and the lows are punchy, even in content not optimized to use the 5.1 setup, it sounds good. The Image quality and 3D abilities are crisp and vivid.

The setup from unpacking to enjoying content is about 15 minutes with minimal fine tuning. The two HDMI In ports are a nice touch and allow you to connect a Set Top Box or Game console and take advantage of the Theater's sound. The ports are cleverly labeled "In" in case there is any confusion between "In" and "Out". The speakers connect to the Theater using a proprietary plug that is color coded, so even if you sustain crippling brain trauma while setting the system up, you should be able to drool your way to a fine home theater experience. The functionality when paired with a Panasonic TV with VIERA Connect is nice as the devices talk to one another regarding proper settings, although I've never remained in the room long enough to see if they discuss anything else, presumably not.

All in all the product was worth exactly the price I paid for it, and overall i'm satisfied with the purchase.

Excellent Sound Quality
Crisp Clean Image Quality & 3D so lifelike you reach for Jessica Alba on the screen.
Extra HDMI Inputs.
Box makes an exceptional hat.

Flimsy front speaker stands.
Jessica Alba not actually reachable via Home Theater Unit.
1212 comments226 of 236 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 27, 2012
System works great and I could not be happier. I also purchased the Panasonic SH-FX71 Wireless Rear Speaker System with two extra speakers. This thing connects to the Panasonic SC-BTT490 3D Blu-Ray Disc 5.1 Surround Sound Home Theater System and I can add two more speakers the the system. It also runs just under the 2.5Ghz of most wireless phones and has the same range. So I can play music from my iPhone (which connects to the Home Theater System) and extend the music anywhere in the house or back yard. Also I can place those two extra speakers behind my 5.1 system and essentially have a 7.1 system. Though I really just use the two extra speakers to extend my music outside the reach of the Home Theater System.

Also I use WiFi for the Panasonic SC-BTT490 3D Blu-Ray Disc 5.1 Surround Sound Home Theater System and have had no problems. You get free games, and if you are an Amazon Prime member a bunch of free movies.
44 comments57 of 59 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 24, 2012
I bought this all-in-one blu-ray/amplifier/radio because I live in an apartment and want a compact, dead-simple unit to watch TV, Netflix, and AppleTV shows with, as well as to stream music from my iPhone with. It does all of that just fine. Sound quality is great for movies, and so-so for music (it lacks low midrange) - about what I expected in this price-range with small speakers. The speakers are stylish, and can be wall mounted or mounted on the pedestals included. Bass sound is excellent, as is treble. I purchased the Panasonic SH-FX71 wireless rear speakers, which complements this system nicely. They include a transmitter that plugs into the back of the stereo, along with an AC-powered amp that can be hidden behind a sofa that connects via wires to the rear speakers.

Assembly was easy. The product was packaged well, and instructions were acceptable (but not great). Included were color coded wire labels for the speaker cables, which was a nice touch. The jacks on back of the machine are color coded like the speaker plugs, making it easy to put together. I paired this with a Panasonic VIERA TC-L47E50 TV. Picture from the BluRay disks are excellent. Disk load times are fast. My only grip with the BluRay player: It doesn't remember where I stop a movie after turning off the machine, forcing me to restart movies from the beginning, which is infuriating. The instructions claim it has this feature, and that some disks are designed to prohibit this feature, so I'm not sure whether the machine or disks are to blame. The unit has a built-in cooling fan, which is inaudible.

There is a slide out tray for inserting an iPhone to play music/videos. However, if you put the Panasonic machine in a cabinet or on a shelf below another shelf, this tray is useless since it doesn't pull out far enough, causing the iPhone to hit the shelf or cabinet above the machine.

The user interface of this machine is horrible, other than the ability to select NetFlix via a single button on the remote. To select other sources (e.g. Cable TV box, HDMI inputs (mine's connected to an AppleTV), radio, etc.), it is necessary to either (1) Press "Home" on the remote, wait a few seconds, and then navigate two levels through a graphical menu of inputs and click "OK"; or, (2) Press one of two source buttons on the remote repeatedly to cycle through various source inputs until the desired one of ~5 is selected. This is a joke. There should be dedicated buttons on the remote to immediately select "TV", "HDMI 1", "Bluray", etc. I attempted to deal with this by getting a Logitech Harmony 650 universal remote, but was unsuccessful. (The Logitech remote was only able to cycle through the various inputs on the Panasonic just like the OEM remote; it couldn't directly access various inputs. It's not clear whether the unit will recognize remote codes that directly select specific inputs; the logitech configurator didn't provide that option.) This is a big minus for me - my kid and mother have a horrible time using this machine to watch TV as they cannot figure out how to change the inputs, and there's not "TV" button. The main purpose of me getting this machine was to avoid that problem, so I'm not impressed. I hope a firmware update from Panasonic will fix this.

Integration with other Panasonic devices is so-so. For example, when I change the volume with the remote control, depending on what input is selected, the volume indication may or may not appear on the (Panasonic) TV. This inconsistency is due to sloppy software coding, and needs to be fixed.

Aesthetically, the main unit is plain looking. It's not nearly as nice looking as Panasonic's standalone slot-load DMP-BDT320 blu-ray player, and for something in this price range, I'd like a slot-load BluRay player, not a tray load unit. The tray for this unit is hidden behind a spring loaded front panel that automatically opens and closes when the tray opens and closes, for a fairly clean look. The digital display shows minimal information. Buttons on top of the machine exist for power, volume up/down, and eject, which is convenient.

The iPhone interface is mediocre. It works, but album art is of very low resolution. There is no Apple AirPlay capability. However, I have an AppleTV connected to the unit that does support AirPlay, so this is not a big issue to me.

The NetFlix interface is pretty good - better than the older Sony bluray player I had. It's a bit sluggish, but a tad faster than the 2-year old Sony bluray player one was. Annoyingly, it doesn't remember at what titles I was browsing, so everytime I return to the NetFlix screen, I have to start navigating through the titles anew. Because the "Home" button is very close to the "Up" button on the remote, it's easy to accidentally hit "Home" and exit the NetFlix mode when navigating through titles, requiring the slowish accessing of the NetFlix screen again.

Overall, I will say that this product gets the job done, and has acceptably good sound and excellent picture. However, usability leaves a bit to be desired. These issues could be fixed via a firmware update, and I hope Panasonic will address them.
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on October 15, 2012
I purchased this system last week and I am having the same issue when playing internet content that a lot of other customers have also complained about. I have tried playing Netflix and it plays fine for just about 15-20 mins before it stops all of a sudden with an error message and from there on, no matter what you do, the unit just won't detect any Wireless connection at all. I called customer service thrice after it happend and every time the rep would ask me to reset the device to factory settings ( which involves a cold reboot of the system, takes 3-5 minutes and wipes out your personal settings ) and then it would find the wireless internet. That is the only resolution they are able to offer me and that would only work until the next time I attempt to watch something on Netflix or You tube. Surely, they cannot expect customers to reset the device after watching content for only 10-15 minutes. This product and feature looks compleletly untested by Panasonic. I asked the rep if this is a defective item or a Panasonic problem, all he could say was "not too sure, sir!". Going by the other reviews, however, it appears all units have the same problem. What saddens and infuriates me is that this is not a problem that happens intermittently, it happens every time you play anything on Internet. I cannot beleive a company like Panasonic can continue to sell thsese defective products which just do not work.

The least Panasonic should do is to accept that there is a problem in this model and then try to fix the issue by a firmware update. Until then they should pull this product out of the market or stop advertising the internet features.

Besides the above problem, I was also not able to change the Sound settings on the Home menu. Every time I would change from "FLAT" to "HEAVY" or "SOFT", it would immediately go back to "FLAT". I repoted this but have not got a solution for this either.

It has only been 2 days and I have found 2 major issues with this already. Unfortunately, I would have to return this product as it does not work as advertized and has a lot of software/firmware bugs.
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on September 10, 2012
I received this product a couple weeks ago and it was very simple to set up. No big issues there. The sounds is fantastic. Very crisp and the sub resonates the whole room. So hardware-wise this product is very sound.

However, the software leaves much to be desired. The first thing I noticed with the software is that it is slow. Going from startup to getting a show to play on netflix takes a good 3 minutes due to all of the loading involved. Due to the laggy feel of the software the remote is not the friendliest to use either since you have to wait a second every time you press a button for the software to respond to it. This was fine at first but after using it for a while it become a huge pain in the butt.

Those things are only annoyances the major flaw I encountered with this system was the internet connection and how often the system would just freeze causing you to do a cold reboot of the bluray player (getting up and holding down the power button on the bluray for 10 seconds to get it to shut off). I use Netflix a lot and since I've gotten the device I haven't been able to watch a full movie without losing my wireless connection at least 3 times.

This is what happens
1) I'll be watching a movie over my wireless internet which was admittedly easy to setup
2) Netflix will pop out of the movie into the loading screen
3) The red bar will load a quarter of the way making you think it just needs to buffer more
4) A message will appear telling you it cannot connect.
5) I then go to my network setup to see it is set to wireless and the status is "Connecting..."
6) When I try to search for any wireless devices to connect to like my router nothing shows up on the list when before I would see mine and several others in the area
7) I then try to disconnect my internet and reconnect to see if that lets me see my router again with no luck.
8) I then power off my bluray normally with the remote and power back on to see if that fixes it with no luck at all.
9) I then try to change my internet connection from wireless to wired. However, since I don't have an ethernet wired connection to my bluray the entire system freezes up on me.
10) Once I do a cold reboot by holding down the power button on the bluray device for 10 seconds and then turn it back on I see my netword setting set to "wired Not connected"
11) Finally I switch it back to wireless and it finds my router and connects again.
12) I can then take the 3 mins to get back into netflix and into my movie to go through this process all over again in about 30 mins when the bluray disconnects on me again.

So if you plan on using the internet for movies on this device beware there is a good chance you will be stuck dealing with this issue.


Great sound
Easy setup


Slow Slow Slow software
Internet connection is horrible when dealing with wireless
System randomly freezes up

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on August 29, 2012
I purchased this surround sound system to go with my new Panasonic Plasma TV. This surround sound system fills my living room with sound very well.

The software inside isn't perfect, but it is pretty self explanatory and gets the job done.

I also recommend purchasing the wireless rear speaker unit. It works VERY well with this unit, and I do NOT have wires to run through walls or wires sitting around the room on my carpet. This optional feature is well worth the extra cost. With the wireless unit, you only need to run wires between the unit & the rear speakers - you do NOT have to run wires from the main unit across the room - that is a huge win!
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on August 9, 2012
Since the ultimate reason for buying a surround sound system is the audio, I'm very happy with the way this unit performs. For the audio alone, I would give it 5 stars.

The software, however, leaves a bit to be desired. The interface makes it more complicated to do basic things that I do all the time. For example, the most common thing I do is just watch TV, and I imagine that's probably what most other people do as well. However, getting to that point requires several navigation steps that just seem unncessary if they would have organized the interface differently. I was hoping to circumvent this by setting up something under a custom user, but so far have had no luck.

I've also had at least one blue ray disc from Netflix that simply would not play. I got a replacement thinking it was damaged, but had the same result. It turns out that certain blue ray discs simply won't play on certain systems. This is apparently a known issue across the industry, not just with Panasonic. I thought blue ray was a standard, but apparently not. I have not had any issues just watching regular DVDs (which look just fine to me anyway).

This being my first surround sound system, one other thing I learned is that audio does not always come out the center channel. At first, I thought there was something wrong with the system, but later found out that it is content dependent. Again, not specific to this unit or Panasonic, just something to be aware of if you're new to 5.1 surround sound.

Overall, for the sound the system delivers, and the price, I would recommend this unit.
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on May 21, 2012
I have had this in my living room for about a week now. I love it, crystal clear sound, great picture.

I added on the wireless rear transmitter thing, and I would highly recommend, this thing is just about plug and play. If this this in your price range go for it! I am not regretting it at all, and have already recommended it to several friends.
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on October 24, 2012
The 490 is great. The sound coming from this thing during a movie is incredible...I like it.
The only problem I have with this is the Netflix.
It played Netflix without a problem for about a week. Then I couldn't get sound from Netflix movies. I had to call Panasonic and they walk you through a worked after that. But I've done it twice..hoping Netflix will update to eliminate the problem. They work out that problem and it is the perfect surround sound system.
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on October 24, 2012
- looks nice
- easy to set up: color coding on speaker wires and main unit is helpful
- no problems figuring out how to use it
- the sound seems great to me, but this is my first home theater system so I do not have much basis for comparison. Certainly a huge improvement over the audio from my tv speakers. Even my cats notice the difference - some sound effects even send them running!
- the tall front speakers can be shortened or even attached directly to the wall (even though they don't tell you this until the last page of manual - when you have probably already set them up according to the primary instructions!)

- wire for the rear speakers is not quite long enough. My living room is about 15x16 and I was able to make it work with the wire provided, but I had to run it directly across the room rather than around the outside as I would have liked.
- the "auto off" feature shuts off the system too quickly when it is inactive. There may be a way to adjust or turn this off - I have not looked yet.

NOTE:this device does have the ARC feature, but make sure your tv does too! If the HDMI port on your tv is not ARC, you will need an optical digital audio cable in addition to an HDMI cable.
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