B&W soundbar goes Panorama ding dong

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CNET Editor

Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury

In the past year, the soundbar category has exploded due to a combination of convenience, discrete footprints and (usually) value for money. Though most solutions are available for under a grand, this hasn't stopped premium brands such as Marantz from releasing its own versions.

Definitely not the looker that the B&W Zeppelin is. (Credit: B&W)

And now it's Bowers and Wilkins' turn. The B&W Panorama is a subwoofer-less soundbar system and promises to "redefine the soundbar market in the same way the Zeppelin shook up the iPod speaker world".

While we saw one hanging on the wall at CES, the company was only giving private demonstrations offsite. Size-wise, it's about the width of a 37-inch television, and features nine drivers; five for the active centre speaker, two bass woofers, two mid-range drivers, and a tube-loaded aluminium dome tweeter.

We must admit that for a system that costs US$2,200 we're disappointed by the lack of HDMI inputs, with the only connectivity being two optical digital, one coaxial digital and two stereo analog inputs.

While B&W claim the unit should provide enough bass for most rooms, they also suggest hooking up a PV1 sub if you want more boom.

It's due to release in the US in Q2 2009, but no local availability or pricing is yet known. However, at the current exchange, and given the local distributor's fondness for pricing, we're probably looking at over AU$5,000.

Ty Pendlebury is attending CES 2009 as a guest of LG.

B&W says the Panorama should have enough bass to fill most rooms. (Credit: B&W)

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Rohit Singh posted a comment   

Just got B&W Panorama, it makes you feel as if you are actually there, I mean imagine you are actually sitting in stadium and watching soccer, how would that sound? This is more real than too much separation of sound that you get from separate 5 or seven speakers, frankly speaking I was not sure to buy these because of “NO” HDMI or not too much separation of sound that you get from set of separate speakers, but now I realize this amazingly fill up your room with sound giving you the feel of you are actually there. Just make sure you do your fine tuning. BTW I never write reviews but could not stop myself for this one.


Carlos posted a comment   

No HDMI is unforgivable. B&W make awesome speakers and I want to want this, but no HDMI is a shocker and a deal killer.

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