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Samsung Adds Docking Speakers, Web-Browsing HTiBs

1/09/2012 05:46:00 PM Eastern

LAS VEGAS - Samsung's 2012 audio
lineup includes its first docking tabletop speakers and first HTiBs with web
browser.

The web-browsing HTiBs support HTML5
and Flash.

Also at International CES, Samsung is
launching its first Bluetooth-equipped soundbars; expanding its selection of 3D
Blu-ray HTiBs with HDMI switching and 2D-to-3D conversion; and incorporating
vacuum-tube preamps in select HTiBs and one docking speaker to add warmth to
music playback.

In addition Samsung is launching its
first soundbar that can be split in two, creating two separate vertical
speakers that can be placed on each side of a TV.

In entering the docking-speaker
market, Samsung is launching four models due in the spring, all with an
iPod/iPhone dock and a separate docking connector for Samsung's Galaxy S II cellphone,
the 4G Android superphone available for the AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint
networks.

Three of the four docking speakers
add stereo Bluetooth and iPad-docking capability, and two of the four add
Apple's wireless AirPlay technology. The top model, targeted to the premium
high-end market, mates a tube preamplifier with a digital Class D amplifier.

All four docking speakers also
feature analog aux in and a USB charging port, which also connects to
mass-storage devices to play back MP3, WMA and AAC files stored on a USB thumb
drive or other mass-storage device. All of the docks incorporate MP3, WMA and
AAC decoders. None features CD player or tuner.

Although each speaker docks with an
Apple device and with the Galaxy S II smartphone, both devices don't dock simultaneously.
Prices are expected to start at around a suggested $399.

In HTiBs, the company plans spring
deliveries of five new models with integrated 3D Blu-ray players. All feature
2D-to-3D conversion, up from four models in the 2011 line, and all are the company's
first to offer full web browsing. The number of SKUs with dual HDMI 1.4a inputs
and one HDMI output with audio return channel goes to four from two.

Three of the 3D HTiBs feature wireless-surround
speakers, and all but one feature embedded Wi-Fi. An optional Wi-Fi dongle is available
for the opening-price model.

Like last year, all of the 3D HTiBs
feature FM tuner, iPod/iPhone docking via wired dock or USB cable, and Samsung's
DLNA-based AllShare technology to stream audio and video from a networked PC or
other networked device. Also like last year, all access Samsung's app store to
download apps, including game apps and apps that stream audio, video and other
content via the Internet.

The top two HTiBs add vacuum-tube
preamps whose tubes are visible through a glass panel on top of the main
console and another glass panel in front.

The top model also features
separately amplified front-height driver on each left-right tower speaker to
work with proprietary post-processing technology to add height channels to the
front stage without cluttering up the room with additional speaker cabinets.
The system features 5.1 speaker cabinets but 7.1 channels of amplification.

The other 3D HTiBs feature 5.1
speaker cabinets and 5.1-channel amps, but they are Samsung's first to use
post-processing technology to deliver height information through the front
left-right channels.

In soundbars, Samsung is expanding
its selection to four models from three and expanding HDMI 1.4a inputs and
outputs to all models. All feature Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround decoding
and virtual surround processing. All also feature HDMI output with audio return
channel, and the top model (available in black or silver as separate SKUs)
features two HDMI inputs instead of one. Prices are expected to start at around
a suggested $349.

The top model, available in black or
silver, is sized for 46-inch and larger TVs, adds a second HDMI input, steps up
output and features a "convertible" design. That design lets consumers split
the bar in two and place each piece on separate speaker stands on each side of
a TV. It also features wireless subwoofer and Bluetooth.

In A/V receivers (AVRs), the company
is carrying over its $599-suggested 7.2-channel HW-D7000 with integrated 3D
Blu-ray player and 2D-to-3D conversion. In late spring, the company will add a
new HW-E600 entry-level 5.1-channel AVR with 600-watt output, all HD surround
decoders, four HDMI 1.4a inputs, one HDMI output with audio return channel and
tethered iPod/iPhone.

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