If we were judging the best home cinema in a box solutions solely on picture quality, the Panasonic would be hard to beat. That's hardly a surprise given how good its TVs usually are, and the rest of the package is just as impressive.
design and build
OK, so it feels a bit Tic-Tac box and lacks design panache compared to the likes of the LG BH8220B, but once in place it looks purposeful and the matching satellites are a good, easy-to-accomodate size.
The integrated iPod dock pops out neatly and the rest of the feature list is exhaustive: USB and SD card inputs, Viera Connect with iPlayer and Netflix, and twin HDMI inputs for hooking up PVRs and consoles.
picture and audio quality
Now, back to that picture. There's bags of detail and an impressive sense of depth that adds realism, coupled with class-leading 3D video for those that want it. Audio quality is every bit as good: a controlled, smooth sound that makes for an immersive surround effect. We're also happy to report that it even sounds great cranked up - not something you can say of all the home cinema setups.
A fine all-rounder, this Panasonic has excellent picture quality and immersive surround sound. Its vastly improved Viera Connect smart portal is respectable now, with BBC's News, Sport and iPlayer apps, plus Acetrax and Netflix movie streaming.
It looks expensive at first glance, but can be found online for £150 or so less. And while it may not have the showy style of some, when it comes to producing the goods, the Pana is right up there.
The Pana's brilliant all-round performance easily makes up for its slightly dreary design