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Samsung Introducing Docking Speakers, Web-Browsing HTiBs

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — Samsung’s 2012 audio lineup includes
its first docking tabletop speakers and first
HTiBs with web browsers.

The web-browsing HTiBs support HTML5 and
Flash.

Also at CES, Samsung is launching its first Bluetooth-
equipped soundbars, expanding its selection
of 3D Blu-ray HTiBs with HDMI switching and 2Dto-
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, TMobile
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, 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 HWE600
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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