Panasonic has introduced a new soundbar into its home cinema line-up, and it looks like it intends on rivalling the likes of the Sonos Beam for space in living rooms.

Panasonic’s new SC-HTB490 compact soundbar is one designed for customers that want an unobtrusive soundbar to elevate their viewing experience.

At £349 it’s cheaper than the Sonos Beam, but is also equipped with a wireless subwoofer to deliver “deep and clear bass”.

The design of this 2.1 channel, 320W toting compact soundbar has been optimised with Panasonic’s core 2021 LED TV models in mind, aiming to provide some synergy by beefing up the sound but also blending into the background and taking up as little space as possible. The HTB490 can also be wall-mounted (screws are supplied in the box) if you want to reduce its footprint even more. By the looks of it, the subwoofer can be tucked away close to the seating position, too.

Packed inside its slim frame are two full-range forward-facing 4.5 x 12cm drive units that amount to 160W of power, with two bass reflex ports adjacent to the full-range speakers to help fill out the low-end frequencies. The wireless subwoofer provides the additional 160W, rivalling Sony’s HT-X8500 compact soundbar in the power stakes.

Unlike that soundbar, however, the Panasonic doesn’t boast any immersive sound capabilities in Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, supporting two-channel LPCM and Dolby Digital soundtracks instead.

Bluetooth is built-in (v4.2/SBC codec), offering an option for those looking to stream music the soundbar from a mobile device, and in terms of physical connections on the main bar it’s pretty simple with an HDMI ARC, an optical input (perhaps for use with another source), as well as a USB socket, useful if you want to play compatible music files directly from the soundbar. The soundbar also comes with a remote control.

The Panasonic SHTB940 goes on sale from authorised resellers on April 1st (yes, that is correct, at least according to Amazon UK) for £349.

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