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CES 2011: 3D, Blu-ray Get Samsung Audio Focus

1/05/2011 05:01:00 PM Eastern
LAS VEGAS - Samsung's 2011 audio lineup will include an expanded selection of 3D-equipped Blu-ray home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) systems, the company's first 3D Blu-ray HTiBs with 2D-to-3D conversion, more soundbars, and the company's first Blu-ray-equipped A/V receiver.

In launching six new Blu-ray HTiBs, Samsung is expanding its Blu-ray HTiB selection to six from five. All six will feature 3D, up from three systems in 2010. Four of the new systems will be the company's first 3D Blu-ray HTiBs with 2D-to-3D conversion.

With the launches, Samsung will expand HDMI outputs with audio return channel to all Blu-ray HTiBs. Like last year, three Blu-ray HTiBs will feature dual HDMI inputs.

All HTiBs feature FM tuner, iPod/iPhone dock, and USB port. Like last year, three come with included wireless-surround speakers

Also like last year, all Blu-ray HTiBs feature DLNA certification to stream content from DLNA PCs and other DLNA-certified devices, and all continue to access Samsung's app store to download more than 110 apps, including game apps and apps that stream audio, video and other content via the Internet from such streaming sites as Netflix and Blockbuster.

The new models, however, add new search and recommendation features. The new search feature, for example, lets users enter the name of a movie, and the HTiB searches across DLNA-connected devices and app-delivered streaming services for the content.

Likewise, a recommendation feature recommends video content from DLNA-connected sources and Internet streaming apps based on past viewing habits.

Five of the six HTiBs feature embedded Wi-Fi or included Wi-Fi dongle. A Wi-Fi dongle is optional on the sixth.

All Blu-ray HTiBs ship in March for in-store April availability at prices that haven't been announced. Last year's 3D Blu-ray HTiBs started at $549 MAP.

The Blu-ray HTiB selection includes one 7.1-channel system and a 2.1-channel "cubic-design" system, which incorporates proprietary virtual surround technology.

The cubic-design HT-D7100, which sits in the middle of the Blu-ray HTiB lineup, consists of a main chassis, two speakers and a subwoofer that form a cube when the main chassis is stacked on top of the subwoofer and the speakers are placed to the left and right. The main chassis incorporates FM, 3D Blu-ray player, 2D-to-3D conversion, embedded Wi-Fi, decoding of HD audio codecs, proprietary virtual-surround technology. Like the other Blu-ray HTiBs, the cubic system features Samsung's app platform and the new search and recommendation features.

In last year's line, Samsung didn't offer a 2.1-channel HTiB with virtual surround but did offer a soundbar with 5.1-channel decoders and virtual-surround technology.

In the 2011 lineup, 5.1-channel surround decoding and virtual-surround technology appear in two soundbars.

The 40-inch wide HW-D450 soundbar, like its precedessor, features wireless subwoofer, FM tuner, two optical digital inputs, one pair of analog stereo inputs, USB input, and no iPod dock. The new model adds performance enhancements. The previous model came in silver or black. The new model will be available in black and possibly in silver as well.

The company's first soundbar with HDMI inputs and output is a 46-inch model due in black (HW-D550) and in silver (HW-D551). They feature wireless subwoofer, two HDMI inputs, one HDMI output with audio return channel, optical input, analog stereo input, Dolby Digital 5.1 decoder, and proprietary virtual surround technology.

 All new soundbars ship in March for April in-store availability.

In AV receivers, all three new models, including the 7.2-channel HW-D7000 A/V receiver with embedded 3D Blu-ray player, feature HDMI inputs, HDMI output with audio return channel, and decoding of all HD audio codecs. The audio return channel function expands to three AVRs from one in the 2010 selection.

The HW-D7000 Blu-ray A/V receiver, which features seven channels of amplification, adds embedded Wi-Fi, access to Samsung app downloads, and the new search and recommendation functions available in the Blu-ray HTiBs. Pricing wasn't available.

The two other new AV receivers are the opening-price 5.1-channel HW-D500 and the step-up 7.2-channel HW-D700. Their prices were unavailable, but their predecessors started at $299 MAP. The new AVRs ship in May and will be available the same month in stores.

The 5.1-channel HWD-500 and 7.2-channel HWD-700 will also be available as part of a package that includes the AVRs and home theater speakers.
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