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LG Audio: Wireless Multiroom, More Sound Plates

Seoul – LG will expand into wireless multi-room audio, focus its soundbar selection on premium models, and expand its selection of under-TV Sound Plates when it goes to International CES, the company said in pre-announcing select introductions.

 Also in its 2014 audio lineup, the company will launch two new soundbars, and launch three new Blu-ray players.

In wireless multiroom audio, the company’s first entry into the market uses Apple and Android mobile devices as music sources that stream music to multiple wireless speakers via a Wi-Fi network. Mobile devices also serve as remote controls to select and direct PC-stored music to speakers. The system also accesses streaming services, but it was unclear whether the services were embedded in the speakers or in LG’s mobile-device app.

 Mesh-network technology is used to extend range and improve quality of service.

 To synchronize music among multiple speakers, consumers must connect a Bridge Box connected to a home’s router. If only one speaker will be used, the Bridge Box isn’t required.

 The company is showing two speakers, the 70-watt NP8740 and 40-watt NP8540.

 Several speakers can play at a time, each playing a different music source.

Additional details were unavailable.

In soundbars and Sound Plates, the company is going to CES with expanded selection of under-TV speaker bases, called Sound Plates, and two new soundbars.

The company late last year shipped the $399 120-watt 4.1-channel LAP340 Sound Plate with Bluetooth 3.0, optical digital input, embedded subwoofer, and virtual surround processing. Its Sound Sync technology establishes a Bluetooth connection in lieu of a cable connection to a TV to play back TV audio.

AT CES, the company will show one more 4.1-channel model, this one 39.5mm tall and featuring separate wireless subwoofer, Blu-ray player, LG Smart TV functionality, Wi-Fi, and HDMI with audio return channel.

The company positions SoundPlates for use with TVs in secondary rooms and for TVs with 39- to 50-inch screen sizes.

In soundbars, two new models and one carryover will constitute the 2014 selection, down from six in 2013. One will feature audio and video streaming services, as did one model in the 2013 lineup.

The carryover is the 2.1-channel NB3530A, retailing for around $299 with embedded subwoofer, Bluetooth, two optical digital inputs, wireless sub, and 300-watt output. It’s designed for use with 42-inch and up TVs.

The two new models, designated as premium pieces, ship in March.

The 4.1-channel NB3740, like the model it replaces, offers multiple audio and video streaming services, HDMI output, Bluetooth, 320-watt output, and outboard wireless subwoofer. It’s designed for TVs with 47-inch screen sizes and up and will be priced at about $100 more.

The company will also offer one low-profile unit, which features 320-watt, 4.1-channel speaker systems and wireless subwoofer. The NB5540 for 55-inch and bigger TVs features 24-bit/192kHz audio playback.

 Here’s what else LG is unveiling:

With the HTiB market contracting, LG is trimming its introduction of 3D Blu-ray HTiBs to one model. The new model is the 5.1-speaker 500-watt BH5140S HT. Details were not revealed.

In Blu-ray players, the new flagship will be the BP740 with built-in Wi-Fi and LG Smart functionality, which provides access to such Internet services as Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Netflix and YouTube as well as web browsing. It will also include the LG Magic Remote, enabling customers to navigate the system with pointing and-wheel based actions. Private Sound Mode 2.0 lets users route sound from either disc-based or streaming media straight to a compatible Bluetooth headphone or smart phone so content can be enjoyed without disturbing others.

Other new Blu-ray players include the BP540 3D Blu-ray player features LG Smart functionality, Private Sound Mode 2.0 and built-in Wi-Fi capability.

The BP340 network Blu-ray player features built-in Wi-Fi to access such content as Netflix, VUDU, YouTube, CinemaNow and Pandora.