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Philips Stressing Wireless Home Theater, Convenience

Las Vegas — Funai Electric subsidiary P&F is bringing its first two Philips-brand under-TV speaker bases to International CES along with a wireless home-theater system and an expanded selection of soundbars and Bluetooth speakers. 1/06/2014 07:30:00 AM Eastern

Las Vegas — Funai Electric subsidiary P&F is bringing its first two Philips-brand under-TV speaker bases to International CES along with a wireless home-theater system and an expanded selection of soundbars and Bluetooth speakers.

The company is also adding AptX and AAC streaming over Bluetooth for the first time, offerings its first two active bookshelf speaker pairs with embedded Bluetooth, and launching multiple Apple-docking speakers, including its first with dual 30-pin and eight-pin Apple connectors.

Here’s what’s coming:

Wireless surround sound: The $799-suggested Fidelio E5 2.1/4.1-speaker system consists of a wireless subwoofer, two active 16-inch-tall pillar speakers tethered together via cable, and two active battery-powered wireless surround speakers, which can be detached from the top of the pillars.

One of the active pillar speakers incorporates two HDMI inputs, coaxial and optical digital inputs, one HDMI output with audio return channel, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding, virtual surround processing, and Dolby Pro Logic II up-mixing of stereo to 5.1.

The master speaker in the 320-watt system also features Bluetooth with ability to stream AptX and AAC codecs over Bluetooth. Nearfield communications (NFC) technology is available for one-tap Bluetooth pairing.

The E5 is targeted to ship in April along with a 2.0 version of the system, called the Fidelio E2.

The $299-suggested 100-watt E2 features two tethered speakers, no wireless surrounds or subwoofer, and two pillar speakers wired together. One of the speakers incorporates Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding, virtual surround optical and coaxial inputs, HDMI with audio return channel, Bluetooth with NFC, and AptX and AAC streaming over Bluetooth.

Under-TV speakers: P&F is launching two Sound Base speakers, one with embedded Blu-ray player and apps. Both support TV screen sizes up to 55 inches.

The Blu-ray-equipped Sound Base, shipping in March at a suggested $299, combines powered speaker system, 3D Blu-ray player, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding, streaming A/V services, embedded Wi-Fi, integrated subwoofer, virtual surround, HDMI output with audio return channel, coaxial and optical digital inputs, Bluetooth, NFC, and AptX and AAC streaming over Bluetooth in a wood chassis. The base also features USB Direct to play back music from and charge connected iPods and iPhones and play back music on USB mass-storage devices.

The base incorporates Philips Smart TV Internet TV service for wireless access to Vudu, Netflix, Pandora, YouTube and other services.

At a suggested $199, a Sound Base without a Blu-ray player or Wi-Fi ships in March. It otherwise offers the same features as its counterpart.

Soundbars: The company is expanding its selection to five from three, making them thinner, and upping wattage. Three feature wireless sub, and two come with wired sub.

The line starts with the $129-suggested 2153 with wired sub, 120-watt output, HDMI ARC, optical and coaxial digital inputs, and Made for iPod/iPhone USB. The $149 2163 adds Bluetooth. Both are designed for TVs up to 40 inches.

At $199, the 3140 adds NFC, 200-watt output and wireless sub. It’s designed for TVs 40 inches and larger. The $249 130, designed TVs 46 inches and larger, adds 320 watts of output and an HDMI input for connecting HDMI video sources.

At $299, the 5140 adds a second HDMI input and AptX streaming over Bluetooth. The $399 6140 features the thinnest design of the bunch to facilitate wall mounting. It’s also designed for TVs 46 inches and larger and offers the same capabilities as the 5140.

Bluetooth speakers: The company is expanding its selection outside of its top-end Fidelio series well beyond the previous year’s three SKUs.

All but two, including a Bluetooth clock radio, are stereo models. Three feature NFC, and four stream AptX and AAC over Bluetooth. Three feature USB charging port. All are AC/DC speakers except for an AC-only Bluetooth radio/alarm clock.

Most of their prices range from a suggested $39 to $100, with a 30-watt ShoqBox AC/DC portable priced at $199. All products ship in April except for the ShoqBox, which ships in June.

The company’s first two active Bluetooth speaker pairs are the $179-suggested S3X and $249 S5X two-way speakers with AptX and AAC streaming. They feature optical and coaxial digital input to connect to TVs.

The speakers in each pair are connected to each other by cable. Both systems feature 0.75-inch tweeter and 4-inch woofer. One is rated at 2x30 watts, and the other is 2x100 watts.

In the Fidelio series, the new $249 P9 Bluetooth speaker joins the $149 P8 stereo model and adds higher output, two-way speakers, USB charging port and AptX streaming. It also offers the P8’s AAC streaming. It ships in May or June.

Docking speakers: Five new models include two “bring your own cable” Made for iPod/iPhone docking speakers. They ship with three adapter plates. One plate is for use with a user-provided Apple 30-pin-to-USB cable; the second is for an Apple Lightning-to-USB cable, and the third is for a MiniUSB-to-USB cable to charge other mobile devices. The plates enable the mobile devices to remain vertical when plugged into a cable. A cable-management system is on back.

One of the two models is the $29 AJ3000. The other adds Bluetooth at $39.

The $129 AJ7260 clock radio, already shipping, features one Apple Lightning connector and one Apple 30-pin connector on top. It also offers USB charging port, the company contended. The device is certified as Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad.

The $99 AJ7050 clock radio features a Lightning dock and is shipping, and the $89 DS1600 clock radio features 30-pin and Lightning connectors on a ball that rotates inside the chassis to hide one connector while another is visible. It also comes with USB charging port.

Docking DJ speaker: In a new segment, P&F is launching an iPad-docking portable boombox for DJs. The high-power M1X has controls to offer DJ effects for iPad-stored music.