Thursday Nov 23

Bowers & Wilkins launches Panorama 2

The first two sentences of the following (slightly edited) press release from B&W is a perfectly clear statement of the basic issue of abysmal sound quality from most flat panel televison sets.  Given how horrible out-of-the-box TV sound is, a soundbar solution doesn't have to hit a high audio standard to improve a viewer-listener's experience.  But that doesn't mean that you should settle for any old soundbar.  Bowers & Wilkins has out a new Panorama soundbar, appropriately dubbed the Panorama 2.  They say it is "a true one-box, surround sound home cinema solution."  I have no doubt that it is.  Here's what they have to say about it.


As televisions get thinner, so does the sound they produce. Great images have come at the cost of good sound. Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 2 redresses the balance in favor of sound. A discreet, high-performance soundbar that dramatically boosts the audio performance of your viewing, without the need to fill your living room with speakers, Panorama 2 significantly improves on the class-leading audio performance of the original Bowers & Wilkins Panorama, as well as adding new features and enhanced connectivity.

Panorama 2 is the result of intensive research by Bowers & Wilkins renowned engineering team at its UK Research and Development division and offers a dramatically improved acoustic performance over the original Panorama.

Panorama 2 is simple to connect and operate with HDMI, a new proximity-sensing control panel, and an enhanced user interface.

Panorama 2 features completely new Bowers & Wilkins engineered drive units, which deliver significantly improved acoustics on the original Panorama that already set the standard for audio performance from a soundbar.

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 Bowers & Wilkins has worked hard to get this aspect of the Panorama 2 right. Of the nine drive units housed within Panorama 2’s sleek and rigid casework, five are utilized in the active center speaker: two bass woofers, two midrange drivers and an aluminum dome tweeter featuring Bowers & Wilkins 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 of bespoke drive unit technology, the latest in digital amplification and Digital Signal Processing (DSP) allows Panorama 2 to not only boost 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’, allows lots of people to experience the surround sound effects together, making it the ideal family entertainment system. For many people Panorama 2 will sound amazing on its own, however it’s simple to add a subwoofer such as Bowers & Wilkins PV1D, for an even further enhanced experience.

Panorama 2 also has improved connection options, with the introduction of the latest HDMI connectivity. The three HDMI inputs and single HDMI output allows Panorama 2 to serve as the hub of your home entertainment system. So you can boost the audio performance not only of broadcast television, but also Blu-ray movie and games.

Panorama 2 retains the original’s aesthetic, and in terms of design and dimensions it is almost identical. However, it is now even easier to use thanks to a new proximity-sensing control panel and more intuitive On Screen Display (OSD). When Panorama 2 is operating the display is completely black, but when the user’s hand gets close, it slowly illuminates, allowing the user to control Panorama 2 directly. Panorama 2 is set up and configured through the OSD, and the menu system is designed to be so simple it can be used straight out of the box, without having to read the manual.