on 6 March 2014
Comparing this to similar products from Samsung and LG at the same price range.
The Panasonic HTB20EB is very basic sound bar with few things you can set or change, but still performs really great!
+ Sounds very good!! Also sounds very good at low volume levels; Doesn't lack mids - indeed the sound picture is very well balanced.
+ There is NO noticeable frequency gap between the bar and the sub (a very big +), bass is deep and soft (not boomy) and at it's "Min" setting is just the right level to gently round up the overall sound.
+ Remote is very basic, yet comfortable to use. The only settings there are a quick input selector (separate knob for TV/BD/AUX), Dialog level, Bass level, Volume level, Power and Mute. There are some "hidden" settings also, activated by holding various buttons, make sure to read the manual to the end - they are described there
+ There IS a way to know the Bass or Dialog levels - just look at the four LEDs and the direction they lit up, read the manual for more details.
+ Surround: Overall works very well, having in mind that this is a 2.1, two driver device. It performs very well with PCM (stereo) signal if you enabled the two virtual surround effects for all signals (Off by default for stereo), the dialog is nice and clear, there is an illusion that the whole sound is coming from the center of the room. Feeding it with a true multichannel signal (DTS or Dolby-HD) shows that it actually can do at least a real 3.1, plus some illusion for 5.1. But still, comparing it to other sound bars that I've tried out (at this price range) Panasonic HTB20EB is definitely the winner in this department - with good signaling it does at least a real 3.1! (Note that I haven't tried out an Yamaha, which supposedly will do good too).
* By the way you can tell what type of signal the source is feeding by looking at it's dedicated led - one for DTS, Dolby or PCM.
** I found the best overall sound quality if I set the "Dialog" level to MAX or pre-MAX! Also it is a must to activate the dolby virtual and virtual-3d effects for all signals (off by default for stereo, activate it by holding MUTE for 2+ seconds, then pres it couple of times till the "dolby" led start to blink). And disable the auto-gain control (also off by default but check).
*** For the HDMI ARC function to work, you must turn the HDMI CEC function on your TV to On (called differently between manufacturers, check your TV manual). Also there is an option to disable the VIERA link (actually HDMI CEC) support of the sound bar. That effectively disables HDMI ARC too! It should be enabled by default, but in my case it wasn't and I spent some time until I found out how to reset the unit to default settings and make it work again (by holding the power button while the unit is "On" for 4+ seconds).
-- The only "con" that I can think of, yet really minor, is that in, underscore, REALLY quiet environment (eg. late at night), there is a quiet, but audible noise coming from the build into the sub little fan. But that is really minor compared to the overall performance.
All in all I can recommend this device. It is a good buy in this price range and will give you a real sound upgrade.
edit: Posting the woofer dimensions as they seem to be important to many: H:W:D 41cm x 18cm x 30cm
on 26 January 2013
I have a Samsung 32" TV, which has a great picture, but disappointing sound, especially in the dialogue range. I bought this product after reading the positive reviews on Amazon and Which. It was hard to find a soundbar that fits under a smaller TV and doesn't stick out the sides. I got this one as it can be separated in the middle to allow you to set it up in various arrangements. In the end I kept it as a single bar and placed it under the TV on the sticky pads provided (the legs provided make it a little high and it blocks the remote receiver, as other reveiwers reported). In this setup the bar looks great, perfect for a 32" TV, looking as if it was made for it. The sub-woofer is bigger than I was expecting (yes I could have looked at the measurements...), but sits beside the TV stand quite nicely.
Setting up was easy, but I tried connecting various devices a few different ways through HDMI and Toslink cables. Luckily there were different options, and with three different devices to connect, I eventually settled for a single input from the TV optical output into the back of the sub-woofer. This had the minor disadvantage of having to control the sound with the separate remote (provided) instead of the TV control. There are ways round this, but my Blu-ray player doesn't have a TOSlink output (only coaxial, why?!), so I would have to get some kind of adapter to do this...
In terms of sounds quality: so far so good. Music is noticeably richer with a deep boom to the bass from the sub-woofer that was never possible with the TV speakers. The soundbar has a twinkling high end too. In fact it sounds better than it used to when I plugged the headphone socket of the TV through an amp and good quality stereo speakers. I was just listening to Radio 2, and Temper Trap was rocking my living room, even sounding clear and thumping while I was in the bath a couple of rooms away...
The only real negative is the lack of graphic equaliser. Having output through the soundbar renders the equaliser on the TV redundant, and there is none on the soundbar itself (other than a "dialogue level" control). The need for a graphic equaliser is most noticable in the dialogue: it doesn't like women much. When watching "The Bake-Off" Paul Hollywood's voice sounds like honey, but Mary Berry's is a bit foggy (but the incidental music sounds fantastic); and on Breakfast News, Charlie comes across crystal clear, but Susanna is a bit hissy. I will try to fiddle with the settings a bit, but I found that each channel has a different level of dialogue output, so you have to keep adjsuting for the hiss when you switch. I never noticed this before, so it is obviously a sensitive system. If anyone has any tips for getting this right I would be grateful. I'm going to have a proper fiddle when Paul O'Grady comes on, as I think his shrieking will put it to the test...
All in all I am happy with the system and would recommend it to others. I'm probably going to get rid of my old amplifier and stereo speakers now and route my music from my MP3 player to the soundbar, as I think it sounds good or even better!
on 26 June 2012
Have just connected this up to a Panasonic TX-P42S30B plasma TV using ARC enabled HDMI channel. Assembly was straightforward. I now have cracking sound after spending around 20 minutes adjusting all the settings, which was not just so easy as each setting requires a different combination of buttons on the remote. Perhaps the remote could be bigger and easier to use, but the job's done nonetheless. I am using it as a soundbar without the stands as, with them, it covers the TV remote receiver (negative mark there Panasonic). Thankfully, four little stick on feet are included. The TV remote controls the volume seamlessly using VIERA Link (plus mark, Panasonic).
To hear exactly what difference this unit makes I set the TV sound to default, listened a while, then switched on and off the Soundbar. Wow, clearer, crisper sound, with excellent punchy bass. Put in a Blu ray movie to try out the sound generally (still excellent), but especially the clear mode dialogue option because previously, when watching movies, I could not always make out the dialogue clearly. I can now!
My daughter is now playing with the settings on the Freesat music channels, and it sounds terrific on music also (although I had to tell her to turn it down!).
So in summary, great piece of kit, does exactly what I wanted it to do, and £100 cheaper than the wireless sub version. It also actually looks pretty good, sitting in front of the TV.
on 19 July 2013
Over the last few weeks I've grown sick of the tinny speakers inside of my TV, they just didn't provide the experience I was looking for so I decided, why spend so much money on blu-ray movies, music and games to not be able to enjoy them to their full potential? This is where the Panasonic comes in!
I went for this product for a couple of reasons, the main ones would be price, flexibility and audio quality! At nearly £170 for a quality system you certainly can't grumble, especially when there are others that cost £200 upwards and provide inferior flexibility and audio performance, so its definitely value for money! By flexibility I mean of course that you can use the Panasonic in two ways, either as a soundbar and subwoofer or a 2.1 separate speaker system (my preference), this was a major selling point for me as I love having the option of both and its so easy to change between the two making it a brilliant idea! Especially if you're like me and don't necessarily have a lot of under the TV space or like other who have reviewed if it blocks the remote controls receiver just simply use it as two separate speakers! Audio performance was the last reason I chose this product, out of all the under £200 soundbars and 2.1 systems the Panasonic kept flagging up as having great sound quality as seen in other reviews so I was confident it was going to be great! Now that I've had it a few days I can say that the quality is excellent now, I'm no audiophile or pro audio technician, I'm just a normal person and to me, the performance of this product exceeds what the price tag suggests! When you first get it set up the Panasonic might strike you as slight bass heavy but fear not, the provided remote control allows you to tweak bass levels from a range of 1-4, you also get the same option with dialogue levels which is great if you have it turned down at night but still want to hear people speaking clearly so you can adjust this also! At the moment I have my bass level on 2 and my dialogue on 3 which to me sounds like the sweet spot for the system! As for general audio performance once the levels have been adjusted, the bass isn't bloated but very strong and tight, the treble is just touching sparkly and the midrange is tuned up nicely also, for the money, you really can't complain as its a definite improvement over ANY TV speaker I've ever heard, you'll be amazed!
The only downside I have with this system hence the 4 stars, is the lack of a proper display, what I mean by this is when you're adjusting things like bass, dialogue or volumes levels there is nothing to show you any numbers, instead you're left with three lights on the subwoofer front, for bass an dialogue it isn't too bad as they only go between 1-4 so when the level is at only the first light flashes, when its at 2 the first and second light flash, for 3 the second and third one flash and for 4 only the third flashes so it isn't too complicated when you get used to it! Volume however is a completely different story, systems can go from 0-100 but you get no indication on either your TV or the sub as to what level it's on which leaves you counting how many times you've pressed the volume button and seen the lights flash to indicate whether its gone up or down! Obviously this isn't the end of the world but it would have been a welcome addition but unfortunately knocks it down a star!
Overall,the Panasonic is a,axing value for money and is great for those who don't want to break the bank for good sound quality or just simply don't have the room to accommodate a 5.1 or 7.1 systems, as a customer I am extremely pleased with both the performance of the product as an overall package the the quick service from Amazon, would recommend this to anyone!
PLEASE NOTE: THE PRODUCT DOES NOT COME PACKAGED WITH AN HDMI OR OPTICAL CABLE, IF YOUR TV SUPPORTS HDMI(ARC) YOU WILL ONLY NEED ONE HMDI CABLE, IF IT DOES NOT, PURCHASE AN HDMI AND OPTICAL CABLE TOGETHER. I RECOMMEND THE XO DIGITAL OPTICAL CABLE AND THE AMAZONBASICS HDMI.
on 31 August 2012
I recently purchased a slimline Panasonic TV but was disappointed with the sound compared to my previous TV which was a 20 year old Toshiba CRT TV. I therefore decided to purchase a soundbar and picked this particular model because I liked the specificatios ans the fact that it could be used as either 2 seperate speakers or as a complete unit.I decided on the latter option as this way it fits discreetly below the TV on a stand. I would have preferred to have put it in the space directly under the TV but unfortunately it then covers the remote control sensors.
Connection was easy using an HDMI cable and I can control the volume with the TV's remote control although to control the woofer or dialogue one has to use the renote control that comes with the unit.
The sound is terrific - rich and full bodied especially with musical programmes or movies.The volume is more than adequate with lots in reserve.The dialogue control is especially useful when watching movies with lots of background noise
A strongly recommended purchase and good value but don't expect surround sound.
on 22 October 2014
We bought this because of problems we had hearing dialogue on certain TV programmes and also on many DVDs. This has certainly improved the sound and, coincidentally, greatly enhanced our movie watching experience. However, we still have problems watching some TV programmes and some DVDs - interestingly, one of our adult sons watched a number of movies with us when he was home recently and he had a lot of trouble too, so it's not old age creeping up! He seemed to think it happened mainly when the dialogue was overshadowed by the noise of action scenes or too loud background music. In case you're beginning to think that maybe I've over rated this system I should point out that on another occasion when we watched the most recent Batman film on our TV all three sons said what a huge improvement it was over the cinema where they could barely hear the dialogue. Personally, I think there's a serious problem with modern sound production techniques in TV and cinema.
If you struggle to hear dialogue on your TV or would like to enhance your movie watching experience I would definitely invest in a sound system but it might be worth venturing out to the shops and trying a few before parting with your cash.
on 5 July 2012
Whilst I'm not a heavy duty film watcher or gamer, I needed to enhance the sound to complement the quality of picture and overall visual experience I get from my Panasonic Viera 3D TV. I looked at a few reviews and products but then saw Panasonic had a 2012 version of the soundbar, at a reasonable price (not the cheapest but you do tend to get what you pay for).
This is neat bit of kit and the soundbar comes in two pieces so you have the choice of having a single horizontal bar or having two upright speakers either side of the TV. I went for the latter. Sub-woofer is not too big and bulky either. Basically, it looks good.
It's easy to build and plug in and, for my requirements (and I stress I just want a decent sound, I'm not after something the expensive home cinema's can provide), it does the job more than adequately. The difference really is very noticeable. It has a number of setttings you can play with in terms of boosting or removing the bass which is really useful when the kids have gone to bed. It gets cranked up in the day when I work at home! It also has speech enhancement which really does make a difference.
Now to the 'what I wish worked better'. Minor gripes I suppose. I bought this as it was Viera Link capable; one control, auto-learning etc. However Panasonic have a flaw in their product strategy. Viera Link only works if your Panasonic DVD player is connected via HDMI1, however most setups (as I understand it on the forums) connect the satellite receiver to HDMI1 and DVD to HDMI2. This means Viera Link won't work and therefore one of the reasons I purchased was negated. The other is more a request - I wish they had included audio inputs on the sub-woofer so I could attach laptop/ipod etc. I've got round this by plugging into my DVD player but nevertheless it would have been more convenient.
Finally, I use an optical cable from my DVD to the sub-woofer which works a treat although I found the lead comes out a little to easily if the DVD or sub get moved. Perhaps I missed something when connecting.
Overall - really pleased with this. My wife, on the other hand, thought her days of having to listen to my music been played at the volumes they were designed to had long gone. Welcome back loud music.
on 8 August 2012
Got this to go with my new Panasonic Viera LED TV as the standard built in speakers were nothing short of shocking.
This package brings the TV to life acoustically, and is very simple to assemble.
The sound bar / floor mount speakers are clear as a bell and the sub even on lowest setting is more than powerful enough to cope.
Plugs in through the ARC (HDMI 2 port on Panasonic TV) connection and works through Viera Link.
Very pleased and no regrets.
on 24 June 2012
Wanted an affordble speaker system to enhance the sound of my Sony 37" Bravia flatscreen which like most tv's these days was rather tinny and weak.
Delivery time typically efficent (1 day delivery). The main reason i opted for this system over similar priced models was that it was possible to have the speakers divided either side rather than as one soundbar. They look really good and have a similar look to my t.v. Best price on Amazon.
I have connected the system via the HDMI(ARC)which allows my Sky Box,DVD Blueray and TV volume to be controlled via one remote control(SKY). The system also switches off via my sky remote control which i find really handy. The remote control which the unit came with is smaller than most and will have to be used when diffrent settings need to be selected e.g Increase of subwoofer power,mute etc.But so far my Sky remote controls all i need when no change of settings are required. Really straight forward to set up.
I must say the system has a look of quality which is a black glossy apperance,and the subwoofer isn't too big either.
Soundquality is, for the price very good, i cannot put it to full power as not to upset the neighbours, but i know it can go louder if required.
As of previous Panasonic models reviewd on Amazon the speakerwires are white!!, not a problem for me, but others might find them standout against the black finish. Something for Panasonic to consider in future maybe.
So far so good, really pleased i purchased this unit, and pleased with Amazon Price/service and delivery.
on 25 August 2012
This is good product to considerably enhance the sound of the tinny basic speakers which come with most tvs. It is not the same as having a proper surround system but avoids wires trailing round the room and speakers everywhere. The improvement is very noticeable in the lower registers , the sub woofer is surprisingly large and powerful. e.g with the War Horse dvd the sound of the horses thundering across the ground was very impressive
You can either have the speakers separately either side of the tv or as I have joined together as a soundbar. The soundbar has small stylish stands to sit on or can rest on rubber feet which you stick on. Unfortunately even though I have a Panasonic tv and this is a Panasonic soundbar the stands raise the soundbar to a level where it blocks the remote control receiver on the front of the tv. So mine sits on the rubber feet which is fine but it would have been nicer to have it slightly raised
Set up is very easy and only took me about 20 min. Having a Panasonic tv and Blu ray player makes the set up pretty much automatic through the Viera link once you have connected everything up.
I think you can play with the sttings to enhance the sound further as suggested on technical review sites but I have not tried this yet
All in all I am very pleased with this soundbar and the delivery process was excellent.