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Sharp Adds Soundbars, AirPlay Microsystems

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

LAS VEGAS — Sharp is expanding its selection of 1-inchtall
adjustable-width soundbars and launching its first
microsystems with Apple AirPlay, Wi-Fi Direct to stream
music from DLNA-equipped mobile devices, and iPadcompatible
USB ports.

In all, Sharp is launching three 1-inch-tall soundbars
and five microsystems. All of the microsystems feature an
iPad-compatible USB port, and two offer AirPlay. The two
AirPlay models also feature DLNA certification and Wi-Fi
Direct to stream music wirelessly from non-Apple smartphones
and tablets at a longer range than stereo Bluetooth.

Sharp is carrying over its iPod/iPhone-docking mini
systems, a current 1-inch soundbar, and the current HTSB600
3.1-channel soundbar, which at an everyday $299
features Dolby Digital/DTS 5.1-channel decoders, Dolby
Virtual Speaker to deliver virtual surround sound, three
HDMI 1.4a inputs, HDMI 1.4a output with audio return
channel, wired subwoofer and AM/FM.

All of Sharp’s new 1-inch soundbars, like the carryover
$299-everyday HT-SL70, come with replaceable inserts
that expand or reduce soundbar width to match differentsize
TVs. The inserts can also be removed to turn the horizontal
soundbar into two separate left-right vertical speakers
sitting atop their own stands, said senior marketing
manager Bob Pleyer.

The soundbars were designed to be compact in height
so they don’t block a TV’s IR receiver or the IR blaster that
a 3S TV uses to control active-shutter 3D glasses, Pleyer
said.

The carryover HT-SL70 comes with two inserts, one to
size the soundbar for 46-inch TVs, and the other to size
the bar for 52-inch TVs. It features wired subwoofer, automatic
signal-sensing turn-on, HDMI 1.4a input, HDMI
1.4a output with audio return channel, and analog mini
input. A TV’s remote would be used to control soundbar
volume via the TV’s variable audio output. The TV could
be used for all video switching, though a cable box or a
Blu-ray player could also be connected to the soundbar
to pass through video to the connected TV. It’s rated at
2x50 watts plus 1x100 watts and doesn’t incorporate virtual
surround processing.

The new HT-SL75, targeted to retail for an everyday
$299, offers the same features but comes with inserts for
60- and 70-inch TVs.

The new HT-SL77 soundbar comes with four inserts to
size the bar for 46-, 52-, 60- and 70-inch TVs. It also adds
wireless subwoofer but otherwise offers the same power
and connectivity as the SL75. It’s targeted to retail for an
everyday $349 when it ships, likely in February.

Another 1-inch soundbar, the HT-SL72, also comes with
wireless subwoofer but is packaged with inserts only for
60- and 70-inch TVs. It lacks HDMI input and output and
connects to a TV via analog mini input and RCA adapter.
It’s also rated at 2x50 watts plus 1x100.

None of the 1-inch-tall soundbars features built-in Dolby
Digital/DTS decoding dock or 30-pin iPod/iPhone dock.

Thirty-pin iPod/iPhone docks, however, are standard
in five new microsystems, which are also Sharp’s first audio products with Apple-certified iPad-compatible
MicroUSB port on their back panel to stream an iPad’s
music and quickly charge an iPad via 5-volt, 2.1-ampere
charging circuit. The microsystems also come
with a separate stand to hold an iPad in landscape
or portrait mode. All feature iPod/iPhone dock on top.

Two of the new microsystems are the company’s
first one-piece vertical–oriented models. They feature
an AM/FM, vertical CD mechanism that hides a
spinning CD behind motorized metallic sliding doors,
MP3/WMA decoders, and 2x25-watt amp. The vertical
systems are the DK-KP80P at an everyday $149
and the DK-KP95P, which adds AirPlay and, via DLNA
certification and Wi-Fi Direct, ability to push music
from DLNA-certified smartphones and tablets other
than Apple models. It’s targeted to homes lacking Wi-
Fi, including second homes and motor homes. It ships
in the spring at a price to be announced.

Three other microsystems with an iPad-compatible
USB port are three-piece executive-style systems, all
with single-CD mechanism, AM/FM, MP3/WMA playback,
iPod/iPhone dock on top, 2x50-watt amp, twoway
speakers with dome tweeter, subwoofer pre-out
and composite-video output.

The three-piece systems start with the XL-HF201P,
targeted to retail for an everyday $199 and targeted to
ship in February.

The step-up XL-HF301P, at an expected $249, adds
improved drivers and is targeted to ship in March. The
XL-HF401P adds AirPlay, DLNA and Wi-Fi Direct. It
ships in the spring.

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