Itching for brutal honesty? It's pretty difficult for us to get all riled up over a $2,200 soundbar, Bowers & Wilkins logo or not. Yeah, B&W swears that this thing is so good you won't even need a subwoofer for the best faux surround sound experience of your life, but for over two large, we can certainly think of a few alternatives. Nevertheless, the "groundbreaking" audio bar, which we caught in the wild at CES, has now been officially unwrapped, and there's a needlessly long-winded press releases telling us so just after the break. For those adamant that this will change their life, it should start shipping around March.
Upgrade your TV with Panorama
Bowers & Wilkins unveils a new breed of soundbar.
The Bowers & Wilkins Panorama is the ideal way of upgrading your flatscreen TV's sound. Amazing audio quality with surround sound and stereo. Active center speaker for wonderful movie sound. Simple connection and set up. A true one-box solution: no subwoofer required.
Bowers & Wilkins' Panorama will do for your flatscreen TV what the iconic Zeppelin did for your iPod® - enhance its sound quality beyond what you imagined possible. And just like the Zeppelin, along with that amazing audiocomes intuitive control and stylish design.
The Panorama is the result of intensive research by B&W's renowned engineering team at its UK Research and Development division in Steyning, West Sussex. It includes technologies originally developed for high-end speakers such as the legendary 800 Series, and uses them to bring a new level of performance to soundbars.
Using a combination of multiple drive units and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) the Panorama not only boosts the quality of your TV to unprecedented levels, it also provides users with an immersive surround performance from a single speaker. The wide 'sweet spot' it is capable of creating allows more people to experience the effect together, making it the ideal family entertainment system.
The vast majority of sound from even the most effect-heavy movie soundtrack is delivered through the center speaker in a surround sound system, and B&W has worked hard to get this aspect of the Panorama spot on. Of the nine drive units housed within the Panorama's aluminum casework, five are utilized in the active center speaker: two bass woofers, two midrange drivers and an aluminum dome tweeter featuring B&W's Nautilus™ Tube Loaded technology.
The other four drive units provide the rest of the sound, and each one is located within its own enclosure to maintain a purity of performance. All the drive units are powered by six class D amplifiers, providing a combined power output of 175Watts.
This combination means the Panorama is a true one-box solution. It provides more than enough bass output for the vast majority of living rooms, and only if you have the system in a particularly large room would you need to add a subwoofer such as Bowers & Wilkins' award-winning PV1.
Adding a Panorama to your TV does more than simply enhance your movie viewing. Computer games companies spend as much on surround sound tracks for the latest games as most Hollywood films, and the Panorama will enhance your gaming experience.
It's not just about surround sound though, as unlike other soundbars the Panorama is a highly impressive stereo speaker. Whether you are listening to music from television broadcasts, from an iPod or CD player, or even as part of a multi-room system, where the Panorama's active design makes it an ideal partner, you'll be blown away by its output.
The purist, simple approach to design continues with connection and set up. There's no messing around with video cables; simply take digital coaxial or optical or even analogue from your source component or television and let the Panorama work its magic. However, if you want to connect more to the Panorama than simply a Blu-ray player or Sky HD box you can, thanks to the inclusion of two optical digital inputs, one coaxial digital input and two stereo analogue inputs.
Panorama is designed to partner a flatscreen TV, and offers flexibility when it comes to positioning. It can be placed on its own feet or attached to the wall using the supplied bracket for wall-mounted screens.
However the Panorama is positioned, there can be little doubting its beauty. Stylishly crafted in the same manner as its sibling the Zeppelin, the Panorama mixes sleek black with a shining aluminum panel to produce the best looking soundbar on the market, and one that it is designed to complement the looks of the latest flatscreen televisions, not detract from them. It is designed to partner flatscreen televisions, from 37inches upwards.
Panorama will be available Spring 2009, at a manufacturer's suggested price of $2,200.
About Bowers & Wilkins
Bowers & Wilkins is Britain's leading exporter of loudspeakers and the number one imported brand in North America. Since 1966, Bowers & Wilkins' "Quest for Perfection" has resulted in a succession of technical loudspeaker innovations that have satisfied the world's most demanding listeners. Its products' rave reviews and universal acceptance as monitors for classical music recording have helped Bowers & Wilkins become the dominant premium loudspeaker company throughout the world.