Panasonic SC-HT05 Home Theater in a Box

4.5/5 (2 Reviews) MSRP : $250.00

Product Description

  • Digital Audio Decoder
  • Built-in Dolby Digital, DTS Decoder, Dolby ProLogicII With full digital processing
  • Cinema Mode
  • Dialogue Enhancer
  • Digital Acoustic Processor
  • 3-D Phonic
  • Color Coded Speaker Wire
  • 15 AM and 30 FM Station Memory
  • Magnetically Shielded Front and Surround

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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by varaonaid a Casual Listener

Date Reviewed: April 10, 2005

Bottom Line:   
We've been wanting to get a home theater audio system for some time so when our anniversary came around, we decided it was the perfect time to purchase one.

I went online and did extensive research on different home theater options. We opted for an HTIB due to its cost and ease of installation/use. Since we already own both a dvd/vcr combo unit as well as a dvd recorder, we didn't want to purchase an HTIB with an included DVD player and in essesce, pay for another DVD. We narrowed it down to the Sony HT-DDW760 and the Panasonic SCHT-05. They are both good choices for an HTIB without an included DVD player. While the Sony HT-DDW760 has more inputs that its little brother HT-DDW660, it still only has two digital inputs which had us leaning towards the Panasonic. We went down to our local electronics store to listen to them. Unfortunately, they only had the Panasonic hooked up but it was enough to convince us. We purchased an SCHT-05 that evening.

The setup was relatively simple. All of the speaker wire goes into the subwoofer and out into the satellites. Panasonic sets up many of their home theater systems this way with the sub containing the amp for the whole system. Then, there is a single proprietary cable that connects the slim silver receiver to the sub. Several people recommend that you spend money to upgrade the speaker wire. We had some 14ga stranded speaker wire that we wanted to use. However, the connection slots for the speaker wire proved to small to use the 14ga. Be aware of this if you want to use heavier wire than what was supplied. We ended up using the wire provided with the system.

The three digital inputs were a huge draw for us to get this system and we haven't been disappointed. There are two optical and one digital coaxial. We had purchased cables on eBay and it made hooking up our a/v components a breeze. There are also generous RCA stereo inputs as well, if your components don't have digital audio outs. We used the three digital inputs for our digital cable, dvd recorder, and dvd part of our dvd/vcr combo unit. We then hooked up the vcr via the stereo RCAs.

There are four levels of subwoofer output. It's very simple to change. While I know there are more powerful subs out there, the one included in this system rumbles, shakes and vibrates the house capably. Also the speaker setup mode makes it easy to ensure that the speakers are balanced for your room.

We have an open concept floorplan which means that our living room area is quite large. The Panasonic SCHT-05 can amply fill the space with sound. The Dolby Digital and DTS decoding are excellent. We still are shocked at times to hear all the sound effects when we watch a DVD. It freaked out our poor dog to hear sound coming from so many directions. The system adds immeasurably to the movie watching experience.

You can fine tune the sound settings if needed but we didn't find it necessary. The Dolby ProLogic II works great. Since so many programs on cable/satellite are in stereo, the PLII converts two channel sound into surround. It makes the system much more usable.

In short, you can't go wrong with this system. While it doesn't have component video switching or similar high end features, it does an excellent job of what it's designed to do. The low cost and easy setup makes it a perfect addition to any home that already owns a DVD player. We couldn't be more please with our purchase.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Casual Listener

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $219.00

Purchased At:   Circuit City

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by FargoUT a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 11, 2004

Bottom Line:   
After searching for a (I'll admit it) low-budget home theater system for my bedroom, I stumbled upon the Panasonic SC-HT05. It was highly recommended, nabbing the website's "Best Budget HTIB system". The primary reason for the cheap price is the lack of a DVD player. Since I already owned a player, I was even more interested.

This is a huge leap from my Aiwa mini stereo system which was my initial setup. The lack of Dolby Digital or DTS decoding with the Aiwa virtually forced me to upgrade. Unfortunately, being rather broke from moving expenses and now surrounded with roommates, a large home theater system was out of the question. Enter the Panasonic SC-HT05.

Set up was surprisingly simple. The manual was easy to follow, though the process was rather self-explanatory. The speaker wires are flimsy and cheap, but given that this system is not state-of-the-art, it seems pointless to upgrade to better wire. It took about 30 minutes from start to finish to set up.

First things first, this does not come with an optical or coaxial cable, a necessity for true DVD digital audio. Thanks to one coaxial and two optical inputs, I was able to set up my DVD player and my XBox. So buy an optical/coaxial cable (depending on your DVD player's connection--the XBox is an optical output). After some tinkering with my DVD player's audio output features, my system finally let loose.

WOW! Now, I will fully admit to being a newbie to all this. But the small, compact size of the Panasonic surprised me with the big sound. The DTS audio of "The Thin Red Line" was truly astonishing. The beautiful sound editing of Terrence Malick's film really seemed to put this system to the test. In my opinion, it succeeds with flying colors. My only complaint is some white noise if I turn the volume up too loud. It's barely audible, so it definitely isn't a distraction.

The Dolby Pro-Logic II decoding is excellent, though several of the DSP effects are entirely unsuitable. Many of them give a very awkward sound to the presentation. After listening to my Sennheiser HD-600s for so long, the colored presentation of these DSP effects is off-putting. Thankfully, you can turn them off.

Speaking of which, one of the best features is the dedicated headphone jack. Plugging my Sennheisers in, I was even further impressed. It seems the Panasonic A/V receiver does not sufficiently drive my headphones, so attaching my amp to the headphone jack helps alleviate this problem. I began watching "The Last Samurai" and was blown away. The music was crystal clear, the sound effects were sharp and distinct, the entire mix seemed to come alive. Compared to seeing this Edward Zwick film in theaters, I actually preferred watching it at home. My movie theater days may be coming to an end.

The remote control is definitely lackluster. There is no backlit feature, it only somewhat controls my other A/V components, and some of the features of the receiver can not be accessed via the remote (this truly is annoying, but since I rarely need to adjust anything now, it is no longer a problem).

The design of the Panasonic is exquisite, really. Very simple yet elegant with a nice silver finish. The speakers are hard plastic with metal grills (unfortunately, the speakers contain unremovable plastic stands which will look unusual if wall-mounting). The subwoofer is nice--the lower frequencies came across well-balanced. The sub will not shake your windows, but it will rumble the floor. Thankfully, the remote contains easy access to subwoofer level control.

Unfortunately, the subwoofer also acts as the hub of the unit, with power and speakers routed from it. As a result, the subwoofer needs to be located quite closely to the A/V receiver itself (3 feet max?). This did not pose a problem for me, yet I can see how it would for others.

Overall, this is an excellent choice for any movie aficionado who demands Dolby Digital AND DTS decoding. It is only a 5.1 system, yet that seems enough for anyone looking in this price range. I'm very happy with the purchase and didn't have the dreaded buyer's remorse after a week. For $250, I'm amazed at the sound quality this little system packs. Playing DVDs and video games has never been more enjoyable.

Highly recommended for casual listener; recommended for audio enthusiast; audiophiles will probably want to look elsewhere

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2004

Price Paid:    $250.00

Purchased At:   Best Buy

Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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