New York - Samsung revealed the prices and ship dates of most of its 2012 audio lineup, which includes the brand's first tabletop docking speakers and the brand's first HTiBs with Samsung AllShare Play networking, Ultraviolet-based "disc-to-digital" content-sharing technology, and web browser.
The audio lineup consists of five docking speakers at suggested retails of $229 to $799, up from a previously announced four.
There is an expanded soundbar lineup consisting of three models, one available in two colors, priced from a suggested $229 to $449, including the company's first convertible model that can be split to create two separate speakers for placement on both sides of a TV.
Also part of the line are six Blu-ray-equipped HTiBs, five incorporating 3D Blu-ray players with suggested retails ranging from $349 to $999 for the 3D models and $299 suggested for the 2D model. The top two models are the company's first with vacuum-tube preamp section.
And one entry-level A/V receiver, also available with a surround-speaker package, at undisclosed pricing, was unveiled.
All products ship in March except for the AVRs, due in the second half.
In the HTiBs, the disc-to-digital technology will be available exclusively from Samsung for a limited period, enabling select Blu-ray players and Blu-ray-equipped HTiBs to authenticate that a DVD disc has been purchased, not rented. If the disc is purchased, users will be able to stream a cloud-based Ultraviolet-protected version of the title in SD or HD to any Wi-Fi-equipped tablet, smartphone, TV, or Blu-ray player equipped with the Flixster app, said marketing manager Jim Kiczek.
To do so, users must purchase a cloud-stored SD or HD version of the title. More than 80 percent of DVD titles available can be streamed under the disc-to-digital program, he said. Disc-to-digital technology will eventually be rolled out to enable Blu-ray disc authentication.
Samsung's other new networking technology, AllShare Play, is an enhanced version of Samsung's DLNA-based AllShare technology, which lets users stream audio and video content to an AllShare-enabled HTiB, TV or Blu-ray player from DLNA devices in the house. AllShare Play adds the ability for AllShare Play-enabled devices in the home to view pictures and unprotected video stored on mobile AllShare Play devices located outside the house. Pictures and videos snapped by Samsung tablets, smartphones, and Wi-Fi-equipped digital cameras, for example, can be sent to the cloud for storage and streamed to select AllShare Play PCs, TVs, HTiBs, and Blu-ray players in the home. Samsung provides 5GB of free cloud-based storage for the devices.
Key details of the products in each audio category follow:
Docking speakers: All five models feature stereo Bluetooth, iPod/iPhone dock, and separate USB-charging dock for the Samsung Galaxy II and II smartphones and Galaxy Note smartphone/tablet hybrid.
Three docking speakers add iPad charging and embedded MP3/WMA/AAC decoders to play music from USB-connected mass-storage devices. The top two add embedded Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, and DLNA-based AllShare Wi-Fi networking, with the top model also adding vacuum-tube preamp.
The lineup starts with the horn-shaped DA-E550 and rectangular DA-E570, both at a suggested $229 with embedded iPod/iPhone connector, separate embedded USB charging connector to charge the Samsung mobile devices, stereo Bluetooth to stream music from the Samsung mobile devices and from other mobile devices, and 2x5-watt amplification.
The $349-suggested horn-shaped DA-E650 adds iPad charging, embedded subwoofer, and embedded MP3, WMA and AAC decoders to decode music from USB-connected mass-storage devices. Amplification is rated at 2x10 watts plus 1x20 watts.
At a suggested $449, the rectangular DA-E670 adds embedded Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, and DLNA-based AllShare networking technology. Power is rated at 2x10 watts plus 1x20 watts.
At a suggested $799, the rectangular DA-E750 adds vacuum-tube preamp section and ups power to 2x20 watts plus 1x60 watts.
Soundbars: The lineup starts with the $229-suggested HW-E350, sized for TVs with screen sizes of 32 inches and up and featuring built-in subwoofer, single HDMI 1.4a input, HDMI 1.4a output with audio return channel, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding, and proprietary virtual surround.
The $349-suggested HW-E450, sized for TVs 40 inches and up, adds wireless subwoofer, stereo Bluetooth, and more power. The convertible models are the $449-suggested HW-E550 (black) and HW-E551 (silver), each sized for 46-inch and up TVs. It adds a second HDMI 1.4a input, and it comes with wall-mount brackets and tabletop stands that can be used when the soundbar is split in two.
No soundbar features an iPod/iPhone dock.
HTiBs: The 2D Blu-ray HTiB will retail for a suggested $299, and 3D Blu-ray HTiBs range in suggested retail from $349 to $999, up from last year's top-end price point of $899.
All 3D HTiBs feature 2D-to-3D conversion, Samsung Smart Hub for downloading apps, disc-to digital technology, and AllShare Play.
The 3D lineup starts at a suggested $349 for the HTE-4500, down from last year's opening price of $449 at launch. The 5.1-channel HTE-4500 features Dolby True HD and DTS HD decoding, features HDMI output with audio return channel, but lacks HDMI input. It also has iPod USB port and is Wi-Fi-ready and wireless surround-speaker-ready.
The $449 HTE-5400 adds web browsing, dual HDMI 1.4a inputs, built-in WiFi, and tethered iPod dock.
At $549, the 5.1 HTE-5500W adds enhanced speakers and wireless surround speakers, and at $799, the HTE-6500W adds vacuum-tube preamp. At $899, the HTE-6730W also features vacuum-tube preamp, adds 7.1-channel speaker system, and adds post-processing technology to add virtual height channels to the front left-right speakers.