Panasonic combines Blu-ray, iPod and surround sound

You bought your 50-inch HDTV. But now you want better speakers. You want a Blu-ray player. You want to play your iPod or iPhone through your better speakers. And you don't want to spend more than $500.

Well, three out of four ain't bad.

Panasonic's SC-BTX70 is a compact 2.1 virtual surround sound system that incorporates both a vertical Blu-ray player, and an integrated iPod/iPhone dock. Unfortunately, it's $1,000 which seems a bit high since you can buy all three pieces separately (including a Web-connected BD Live Blu-ray player rather than the no-frills player in this system) for less. But then you'd have to hook them all up separately, which means three separate remote controls, you couldn't navigate your iPhone/iPod on your HDTV, and it wouldn't look as good as this jet black system. Decisions decisions.