Matches screen size: 20” and up
HDMI: 1 out (ARC)
Digital in: Optical, USB-A
Analogue in: No
The Panasonic SC-HTB250 is a narrow soundbar, which fits with small TVs. The wireless slim subwoofer fits under the couch, and you can hear and feel the bass even at low volume. Good for neighbourly relationships among flat residents!
As for connections, there is an optical digital input and an HDMI output with audio return channel. No pure HDMI inputs, which means that all video sources must be connected to the TV, which then leads the audio to the soundbar up through the HDMI output. We also miss the display.
Film sound is quite impressive, as the soundbar in movie mode delivers a far greater and more open soundscape than its physical dimensions would dictate. The sound is still a bit rough around the edges, but with better oomph in dialogues and in the soundscape compared with Philips B1. But it’s not as good as Sony HT-MT500, which we’ve tested before.
Wireless Bluetooth works poorly. Music from a mobile phone sounds particularly flat and lifeless, and never reaches its full potential. It gets better if you turn down the sound on the mobile phone, but then it won’t be loud enough, even with the soundbar at max. There is no analogue audio input, and for all practical purposes you can’t really listen to music from the mobile phone.
However, the sound was a lot better with a CD in our Blu-ray player. Suddenly, the music feels lively, with well defined rhythms. It lacks a bit of finesse in the overtones. It can sound a little wooly and trapped compared to the best.
The Panasonic SC-HTB250 is a small soundbar with a sleek, cordless subwoofer that fits under the sofa. Despite its small size, it has a large enough soundscape in the film, and the audio is more powerful than you might think.
The Bluetooth transfer is far too poor for enjoying music from your mobile phone. Listening to music must take place from sources that can be connected with optical input or via the TV. Or you can play music files from a memory stick.
Also in this test
Does not follow up
A masculine expression and rugged sound does not have the power to follow up, and Klipsch lands at the bottom.
JBL Bar 3.1
No one in the class provide this sense of home cinema. JBL crushes everyone on sheer force, and the sound quality is good enough for it to take the lead.
Let the sound flow
The soundbar from LG is one of the most affordable with built-in network features and streaming of music services. It also sounds good.
The soundbar from Samsung has a beautiful coherence in the tones, which makes both movies and music a pleasant experience.
Creative Sound BlasterX Katana
Creative’s soundbar is for gamers and the only one in the test with USB inputs that replaces the sound card in PCs and Macs.
Surprisingly huge sound
Yamaha was first on the market with active soundbars. This is their first with DTS Virtual:X surround sound.
Philips Fidelio B1/12
Better on TV than music
This is one of the smallest soundbars on the market. It sounds bigger than it looks, but has its shortcomings.
Extra dimension in height
Sony’s soundbar simulates both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X in height, thus giving an extra dimension to the soundscape. Yes, it works.