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HTiBs, Sound Bars: The Next Wave

12/20/2010 12:01:00 AM Eastern
NEW YORK — Home theater in a box (HTiB) systems with 3D Blu-ray players will proliferate at International CES, where the selection of active soundbars will also grow.

In HTiBs, at least two companies will launch their first HTiBs with 3D Blu-ray players, while others will expand their selection of 3D-equipped HTiBs. Prices for 3D Blu-ray HTiBs will start at about a suggested $299.

Also in HTiBs, at least two companies will launch their first models with an apps platform, joining Samsung, which launched HTiBs with an apps platform in 2010. Prices will start at around a suggested $269.

Suppliers will also expand the selection of streaming services available on their HTiBs, and more models will come with included Wi- Fi. HTiBs with streaming services will start at around a suggested $249, and models with Wi- Fi will start at around a suggested $269.

With ever-thinner TVs leaving little room for cinema-sized sound to go with their cinemasized screens, audio and TV suppliers will offer up more sound bar solutions. The single-chassis amplified-speaker solutions, sometimes sold with wired or wireless subwoofers, are designed to boost output, enhance the accuracy of recorded sound, and, in many cases, deliver virtual surround in households with no inclination to make room for five or more speakers.

At CES, dealers will find Haier and LG entering the market, while at least one other company will double its selection to six SKUs.) Other companies will step up the features sets that their models offer. At least one company — Noah – will show tabletop TV pedestals with active speaker systems.

At least two companies will launch their first soundbars with wireless subwoofer.

Soundbars with Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding and virtual surround technology will start at around a suggested $249. Other models will take a TV’s stereo outputs and feature virtual surround technologies.
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