Samsung's new HTiB portfolio includes the company's first two systems that integrate with flash-memory and HDD music portables, first to deliver 7.1-channel surround through a 5.1 speaker system, and first to deliver 5.1 surround with a single front speaker.
It also includes Samsung's first system with universal DVD-Audio/SACD player.
In another change, several playback technologies have been expanded to all systems: DVD-Audio, MP3/WMA CDs and DivX, which Samsung is offering for the first time. The number of systems with upscaling HDMI output goes to five from two.
At least two models — the HT-P38 with a suggested retail of $249 and the HT-P50 with a suggested retail of $499 — integrate via USB with "virtually all" digital music portables to play back the portables' music and to control song selection via the connected HTiBs' remote, said senior marketing manager Bill Hadam. The menu and song title of MP3 and WMA portables would appear on the TV screen. Apple-iPod compatibility hadn't been determined at press time.
The system with single speaker enclosure is the HT-RP, with a suggested retail of $249. It comes with an enclosure containing five speakers, each of which can be detached and deployed in a traditional five-speaker setup. When all speakers are in the enclosure, angled drivers and DSP deliver 5.1 channel surround through Samsung's reflecting surround technology.
The models with universal player is the top-end HT-P1200; it has a suggested retail of $999 and also delivers a 7.1-channel soundfield through a 5.1-speaker system. It features HDMI output that upconverts DVD video to 720p or 1080i.
Upscaling HDMI outputs were available for the first time by Samsung in 2004 in two models. Like a model that it replaces, the DP1200 features four narrow, floorstanding speakers, active subwoofer and a thin vertical-loading DVD receiver that sits on a pedestal or mounts on the wall.
Another system with wall- or pedestal-mount DVD-receiver is the HT-DS1100, with HDMI output; the system has a suggested retail of $1,699. Both pedestal systems are designed to match Samsung L7 Pedestal DLP projection TVs.
The number of systems with wireless surround speakers remains at two with the launch of the HT-WP40 and HT-WP38.