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Samsung Details AVRs, 3D HTiB, AVR/Speaker Packages

3/23/2010 07:09:00 AM Eastern
RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. — Samsung outlined more details about its 2010 home audio lineup, which incorporates multiple company firsts.

The lineup includes the company’s first A/V receivers (AVRs), first 3D-capable Blu-ray home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) system, first Blu-ray HTiBs with embedded Wi-Fi, and first AVR/home theater speaker packages.

Other highlights include the adoption of 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 inputs and outputs on the selection’s three AVRs and two AVR/speaker packages. The products, however, do not support HDMI 1.4’s Audio Return Channel (ARC), a spokesman said.

Five new Blu-ray HTiBs include the company’s first 3D-capable system, which is expected to retail at an everyday $899. The four other new Blu-ray HTiBs are priced from $499 to $999. The HTiBs will join a carryover soundbar-style Bluray HTiB, the HT-BD8200, with embedded Blu-ray player and virtual surround.

Shipments of various products are scheduled for March through May. Some of the details were provided at International CES. Here are the latest details provided by Samsung:

Blu-ray HTiBs:
The five new HTiBs will expand the company’s Blu-ray HTiB selection to six in 2010. Only two DVDequipped HTiBs will be offered this year.

All five are the company’s first to be compatible with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)-certified networked products to guarantee the ability to stream pictures, video and music from a DLNA-certified networked PC. In the 2009 lineup, Samsung’s Blu-ray HTiBs were not DLNA-certified but were able to stream pictures and music from a networked PC, a spokesman said.

Three of the five HTiBs are the company’s first with embedded Wi-Fi, and one comes with included Wi-Fi dongle. Previously, the company offered optional Wi-Fi dongles for its Blu-ray HTiBs.

The five systems are also the company’s first HTiBs to access Samsung’s upgraded Internet@TV service, which enables the downloading of apps from the Samsung Apps store to expand the selection of broadband-streamed content. More than 20 apps are expected to be available by the end of March to access content from such providers as AccuWeather.com, the Associated Press, Blockbuster, Netflix, Picasa, Pandora, Rovi, Travel Channel, Twitter, USA Today and Vudu.

All Blu-ray HTiBs feature a no-grille speaker design, decoding of all authorized Blu-ray surround formats, BD-Live capability and Samsung’s new Crystal Amplifier Pro technology, said to deliver accurate sound reproduction and minimal noise interference.

The HTiBs start with the $499 HTC5500 5.1 system with iPod/iPhone dock. The $ 649 HT-C6500 5.1 system also features a dock but adds two HDMI inputs, built-in Wi-Fi and embedded 1GB memory. At $799, the HTC6730W features builtin Wi-Fi and a pair of wireless surround speakers. The $899 7.1-channel HT-C6930W offers those features plus 3D capability and 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 output that lacks audio return channel (ARC) capability.

The 5.1-channel $999 HT-C7530W features a Touch of Color (ToC) design and fi nish that complements the company’s ToC HDTVs. It comes with included Wi-Fi dongle, two wireless surround speakers, two HDMI inputs and 1GB embedded memory.

Surround bars:
This year, the company is launching a surround bar in two different colors for use as a TV add-on. The black and silver versions both retail for an everyday $349. These models lack embedded Blu-ray or DVD player but feature embedded Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoders, virtual surround technology and digital optical input to connect to a TV’s audio output. They lack video-input switching, turning that function over to the connected TV. They also come with included wireless subwoofer, Samsung’s ToC finish, and optional $149 wireless iPod/iPhone dock.

They will join an existing surroundbar whose color selection will be paired to one from two.

AVRs: The company’s first AVRs are the $299 5.1-channel HW-C500, 7.2- channel $399 HW-C700 and $499 HWC900, all with four 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 inputs, 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 output, iPod/iPhone docks and Crystal Amplifier Pro technology.

Decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats starts at $399, and the $499 model adds video up-scaling. Additional details weren’t available.

The $399 model is available in silver or black, and the other two are available in black. All but the HW-C900 ship in March. Availability of the HW-C900 hasn’t been announced.

AVR/speaker packages:
The $399 HW-C560S consists of the HW-C500 AVR, included iPod/iPhone dock and 5.1 speaker system. The $549 HW-C770BS features the HW-C900 AVR with decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, iPod/ iPhone dock and 7.1 speaker package.
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