Panasonic PZ81 to form centre of HD home

Today Panasonic outlined its vision of what it is calling the "Digital Hearth", and no, it isn’t a fireplace.

Panasonic see their new Viera PZ81 as the centrepiece of your HD home cinema setting, backed up by the DMP-BD50, Panasonic's third-gen Blu-ray disc player, and the SA-BX500 amplifier, or the SC-BT100, Panasonic’s Blu-ray cinema system.

We bought you news of the PZ81 back in May and the Freesat-equipped plasma screens in 42 and 46in will launch this month, whilst the 50in will be available in July. Panasonic boasted that these are the only televisions currently available to feature an on-board Freesat tuner.

The DMP-BD50, recently released in the US, offers Blu-ray Profile 2.0, 1080p image quality, lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio with full 7.1 channel surround sound as well as Picture-in-Picture applications, and adds the new BD-Live function, which uses the Internet to bring in extra media and interactive experiences.

The SA-BX500 is a 7.1 channel HD receiver for the true audiophile, which was paired with the BD50 at the launch today, but full specs were not available.

Also seeing a UK launch today was the SC-BT100, a cinema system centred around the Blu-ray player (Profile 1.1). The SC-BT100 comes as a 3.1 system, RRP £699, but can be extended to 5.1 or 7.1. It also features a flip-down iPod dock.

We will bring you more details when we have them.