Samsung is focusing its 2017 audio efforts largely on eliminating common pain points that consumers endure when setting up sound bars, but the company is also expanding its wireless-multiroom sound-bar selection and bringing wireless high-res audio streaming to its wireless-multiroom audio products.
To eliminate pain points, Samsung is using new technologies to pack the performance of a separate 7-inch subwoofer into single-chassis bars for people who can’t always hide their subs.
The company is also simplifying the on-wall installation of select sound bars by making them attachable via an optional mount to the bottom of any TV. That includes new Q series TVs whose optional wall mounts provide a “near-zero-gap” between the wall and the back of the TVs.
To reduce visible cables, the company is launching select sound bars with back-side power outlet into which a TV can be plugged.
The company’s new 5-, 6- and 7-series one-body bars feature the built-in subwoofer performance, new mounting solution, and built-in power outlet.
Also to reduce visible wires, Samsung is making all new sound bars compatible with wireless-surround speakers. All bars can be mated with one of two new wireless-speaker kits, which consist of an amplifier/receiver connected via speaker cable to two surround speakers. Bars with Wi-Fi wireless-multiroom capability can also use Samsung’s Wi-Fi speakers as surrounds.
Also to eliminate pain points, all functions of all new bars can be controlled from new Samsung TV remotes, including DSP and EQ settings. In addition, Samsung smart TVs automatically recognize all new HDMI-connected Samsung sound bars. Those TVs also recognize set-top boxes from Comcast, Time Warner, Dish, DirecTV, and Roku along with Xbox, and PlayStation game consoles. With such integration, a TV automatically place the names of the HDMI-connected devices into the TV’s menu of sources, and the TV’s remote controls all device functions, including the DVR functions of set-top boxes.
To pack 7-inch subwoofer performance into its one-body bars, the company embeds six 2- by 4.3-inch long-excursion racetrack woofers and uses distortion-cancelling technology that detects, and automatically compensates for, audio-signal distortion before it enters the drivers.
All one-body bars feature Wi-Fi and wireless high-res multiroom audio.
In other sound-bar developments, the company is:
• bringing wireless high-res-audio streaming to wireless-multiroom sound bars and wireless-multiroom speakers for the first time;
• expanding its selection of wireless-multiroom sound bars;
• adding wide-range tweeters, previously available only in two Atmos sound bars, to multiple bars to widen the stereo sweet spot.
• and carrying over its current two Dolby Atmos sound bars, introduced later in 2016.
The company will continue to offer flat and curved sound bars. All but the 3 series features an HDMI input and output.
Wireless speakers: In unveiling a quartet of wireless-multiroom speakers, all with Bluetooth, the company is bringing a feature called active streaming to the top two models, the H7 and H3. With active streaming, music-streaming apps are built into the speakers to access Cloud-based music direct from the Cloud and not through a smartphone running Samsung’s multiroom app. The set-up reduces mobile-device battery drain.
The two models also feature a display and dial to navigate favorite streaming channels and playlists. The top model features two 5-inch woofers, two 1-inch tweeters, and a 6.5-inch woofer to deliver bass to 35Hz. The H3 features less power but maintains 35Hz bass output.
A third model features an HDMI input for use as a mini TV sound bar or gaming speaker, but it was uncertain at press time if it would come to market. A fourth speaker is a portable battery-powered model.
The company continues to use its own proprietary wireless-multiroom technology and is determining whether to add Google’s Chromecast built-in.
The company will carry over its Radiant 360 series of wireless-multiroom speakers, which disperse sound over 360 degrees, through the first half, with one model possibly hanging on longer.