By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Las Vegas – Sharp’s audio group came to CES with four new active soundbars, its first portable audio system in years, and its first Apple-docking microsystem with Apple’s new 8-pin Lightning connector.
A quartet of new soundbars tops out with the $599-suggested HTSB-60 and opens with the $149-suggested HTSB-20.
The HTSB-60, designed for use exclusively with 60-inch and larger TVs, incorporates built-in HDMI switching, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoders, proprietary virtual 5.1 surround sound technology, 2.4GHz wireless subwoofer, 2x80-watt plus 1x150-watt amplification, and black textured finish that that complements the finish of Sharp’s 2013 TV line. The wall- and table-mountable enclosure measures 54.5 inches by 2.88 inches by 2.69-inch.
The 2.1-channel sound bar features two exposed woofers and an exposed tweeter for each left-right channel. The bar also incorporates dual HDMI 1.4a 3D-capable HDMI inputs, HDMI 1.4a output with audio return channel, optical digital-audio input, and 3.5mm analog audio input. It also features auto on/off circuit. Other DSP modes include cinema, game, music, sports, news and nighttime listening.
The HTSB-60 began shipping in December.
At a suggested $349, the HTSB-40 ships in February with the same specs and technologies as the HTSB-60, but the HTSB-40 is sized for TVs with screen sizes of 40 to 52 inches, said Tony Favia, senior product marketing manager for audio.
Two value-oriented soundbars, due in the spring, are 2.0 models without subwoofer, Dolby Digital/DTS decoding, or HDMI connections. They’re designed for TVs with screens of 40 inches and feature 2x20-watt amplification. Audio inputs are analog.
The two are the $149 suggested HTSB-20 and $179 HTSB-30, which adds stereo Bluetooth.
The company is also unveiling a hefty boombox-style iPod/iPhone/iPad-docking portable-audio system with CD and microphone and guitar inputs.
The AC/DC-powered GX-M10 portable-audio system, priced at a suggested $249, features 30-pin Apple connector to play and charge iPods, iPhones and iPads equipped with 30-pin connectors. Key features include CD playback, FM tuner, dual subwoofers, microphone and guitar inputs with input level control, 100-watt output whether powered by AC or DC, and LED accent lighting. It takes multiple D-cell batteries and shipped in December.
In microsystems, the company is showing its first with Apple’s 8-pin Lightning connector. The DK-KP82P, expected to ship in March at an unannounced price, is similar to its predecessor, the DK-KP80P, but replaces a 30-pin iPod/iPhone dock on top with an 8-pin iPod/iPhone dock.
The one-piece vertical–oriented model features AM/FM, vertical CD mechanism that hides a CD behind motorized sliding doors, MP3/WMA decoders, 2x25-watt amp, and a Made For iPod/iPhone/iPad USB port to play and charge 30-pin Apple devices as well as the fourth-generation iPad and new iPad mini via their supplied Lightning-to-USB cables.
A second microsystem with Lightning connectors is in the works for shipment later in the year.
For its 2013 soundbar lineup, the company focused on 40-inch and up TVs because soundbar attachment rates are higher for those screen sizes, Favia said.
The bars are also sport heftier dimensions than the 1-inch-tall models that they replace to deliver higher output.
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