- Great sound for action movies, Powerful midrange, DVD upscaling, Great calibration options for video
- Treble is slightly weak, Bass lacks 'punch', The menu system is slightly complex, Limited calibration options for audio
With its powerful midrange, and with DVD upscaling, the SC-PT850W is a hard system to beat for movies.
Price$ 1,099.00 (AUD)
The Panasonic SC-PT850W is a 5.1-speaker wireless home theatre system. It includes an upscaling DVD player, which also acts as a receiver. The unit's sound is well-suited to most movies, although the lack of a balanced or neutral sound may make it unsuitable for certain types of music. However, with a good feature-set, DVD upscaling to 1080p, and a relatively attractive price point, the SC-PT850W makes for a good entry-level home theatre.
Audio from the system is dominated by an aggressive and punchy mid-range. Bass tends to be slightly muddy, losing clarity at high volumes. However, lowering the sub's power does make for a sharper (although slightly less powerful) bass range. Treble suffers from the same general lack of sharpness, and is, at times, drowned out by the louder bass and mid-ranges. This makes for an overall sound very well-suited to most movies, especially explosion-packed action flicks. On the flip side, however, fans of punchy hip-hop tracks or spookily atmospheric suspense thrillers, may find that the lack of bass clarity and treble power detract from the experience. It really comes down to what you want to use the home theatre for -- the focus on one particular type of sound over another isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just means that the unit's performance will vary depending on the source material.
DVD playback is well integrated, and quite easy to control. Users with a Panasonic TV that supports Viera link will be happy to know that they'll be able to control the DVD player with their TV remote, and vice versa. Image quality is respectable, and we found that upscaling delivered a noticeable improvement in performance. Our only qualm was the relative difficulty of setting up the output resolution. Many of the video options, despite being quite extensive, are buried unnecessarily deep in sub menus. Nevertheless, once working, the video upscaling delivers clearer, sharper DVD images.
Comprising four tall speakers (the rear two being the wireless ones), a smaller centre speaker, and a slim subwoofer, the system took us some time to set up, although this is to be expected with such a large package. Unless you plan to move your system on a regular basis, this shouldn't be a big problem at all. A quick note on the wireless nature of the system: because of the speakers' power requirements, a truly wireless system is impossible. What this package essentially does is eliminate the need to stretch cables from the receiver (at the front of the room) to the rear speakers. These rear speakers are connected to a wireless receiver, which then connects wirelessly to the main DVD unit. You'll still have wires, but with careful planning, they shouldn't stretch out across your living room floor.
Volume is good, and the unit is capable of producing some very loud audio with only minimal distortion. We have no complaints with the amount of power the speakers are capable of producing. The sub, however, is a slightly different story. With only four levels of bass volume, it may not be enough to satisfy bass-hungry users; however, we found that the higher levels provided more than enough power for our own tastes. Unfortunately, the bass volume is the only way to customise the speakers' sound - no treble or individual speaker volume calibration is available.
The interface is relatively easy to navigate, although it does tend to become a little convoluted with too many sub menus. Video output can be customised not only by resolution, but also in terms of sharpness, colour space, and other variables, making this system an attractive one for those with either the knowledge to configure it, or the patience to experiment through trial and error.
The SC-PT850W's design is quite elegant. The two front and two surround speakers are both tall-standing with wide bases. With the wires tucked away, they look quite attractive, and should suit most living rooms. The sub is quite narrow, giving users a few more options regarding its placement. The centre speaker is much smaller than the other four, and well-suited for almost any positioning. The DVD player/receiver is a pretty standard affair, with a slim-line design. The rear panel houses HDMI output, front and centre speaker and sub connections, optical input, analogue audio input, and component video out. Users should note that no coaxial audio connection is available. The front panel's connections include a headphone jack and USB port.
The SC-PT850W is a great entry level system for users looking for a home theatre with a good amount of power and rumbling bass. Those looking for a slightly more developed treble, or sharp and punchy bass, may be better served by another system. Still, with its powerful midrange and its DVD upscaling ability, the SC-PT850W is a hard system to beat for movies.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 2 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 3 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
- 4 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 5 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Huawei Watch 2 Classic Review: Good watch but a missed opportunity for Wear 2.0
- Far Cry 5's first trailer reveals religious cults and explosions in picturesque Montana
- Amazon is offering two free months of Music Unlimited to new subscribers
- This week in games: Red Dead Redemption 2 is delayed, Destiny 2 PC servers explained
- Any website can crash your Windows 7 or 8 PC with these four characters
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- MSI GE72 7RE Apache Pro gaming laptop review
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- CCSQL Server Database Specialist l Bathurst LocationNSW
- PTRecords and Information Management OfficerNSW
- CCTransport EngineerVIC
- TPSenior Web DeveloperQLD
- TPSecurity AdvisorACT
- FTEnterprise Architect - Technology and StrategyQLD
- FTSenior DBANSW
- FTScrum MasterNSW
- TPETL DeveloperNSW
- FTTechnical Lead Front-endNSW
- CCInfrastructure Business AnalystNSW
- FTSales Lead - Healthcare systemsVIC
- FTIT Systems EngineerTAS
- FTSecurity ConsultantACT
- CCPega DeveloperACT
- FTSenior UX/UI DesignerNSW
- TPAEM DeveloperNSW
- CCGun Java/ Full Stack Developer wanted...VIC
- FTCustomer Account Officers x3NSW
- CCProcurement & Contract SpecialistNSW
- FTProject Control Analyst - PMONSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystQLD
- TPMobile Application DeveloperVIC
- CCData AnalystNSW