Ridgefield Park, N.J. - Samsung unveiled more details about a broad array of new home audio products, including the company's first A/V receivers (AVRs), first 3D-capable Blu-ray home theater in a box (HTiB) system and first Blu-ray HTiBs with embedded Wi-Fi.
The first-half selection also includes the company's first AVR/home-theater speaker packages and a new surround bar.
The home audio selection includes three AVRs and two AVR/speaker packages, all with HDMI 1.4 inputs and output to support 3D video. The new surround bar connects to a TV's optical digital output and delivers virtual surround sound. Five new Blu-ray HTiBs include the company's first 3D-capable system, which is expected to retail at an everyday $899. The four other new Blu-ray HTiBs are priced from $499 to $999.
Shipments of various products are scheduled for March through May. Some of the details were provided at International CES. Here are the latest details provided by Samsung:
The five new systems are the company's first to be compatible with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)-certified networked products to guarantee content sharing. Three are the company's first with embedded Wi-Fi, and one comes with included Wi-Fi dongle. Previously, the company offered optional Wi-Fi dongles for its Blu-ray HTiBs.
The five systems are also the company's first HTiBs to access Samsung's upgraded
service, which enables the downloading of apps from the Samsung Apps store to expand the selection of broadband-streamed content. More than 20 apps are expected to be available by the end of March to access content from such providers as Accedo Broadband, AccuWeather.com, the Associated Press, Blockbuster, Fashion TV, Netflix, Picasa, Pandora, Rovi, Travel Channel, Twitter, USA Today and Vudu.
All models feature a retro, no-grille speaker design, decoding of all authorized Blu-ray surround formats, BD-Live capability and Samsung's new Crystal Amplifier Pro technology, said to deliver accurate sound reproduction and minimal noise interference.
The HTiBs start with the $499 HT-C5500 5.1 system with iPod/iPhone dock. The $649 HT-C6500 5.1 system also features a dock but adds two HDMI inputs, built-in Wi-Fi and embedded 1GB memory. At $799, the HT-C6730W features built-in Wi-Fi and a pair of wireless surround speakers. The $899 7.1-channel HT-C6930W offers those features plus 3D capability, and the 5.1-channel $999 HT-C7530W features a Touch of Color (ToC) design and finish that complements the company's ToC HDTVs. It comes with included Wi-Fi dongle, two wireless surround speakers, two HDMI inputs and 1GB embedded memory.
This year, the company is again offering a surround bar in two different colors for use as a TV add-on. The black and silver versions both retail for an everyday $349. These models lack embedded Blu-ray or DVD player but feature embedded Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoders, virtual surround technology and digital optical input to connect to a TV's audio output. They lack video-input switching, turning that function over to the connected TV. They also come with included wireless subwoofer, Samsung's ToC finish and design, and optional $149 wireless iPod/iPhone dock.
The company's first AVRs are the $299 5.1-channel HW-C500, 7.2-channel $399 HW-C700 and $499 HW-C900, all with four 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 inputs, 3D-capable HDMI 1.4 output, iPod/iPhone docks and Crystal Amplifier Pro technology. It wasn't clear whether the AVRs support HDMI 1.4's Audio Return Channel (ARC).
Decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats starts at $399, and the $499 model adds video up-scaling. Additional details weren't available.
The $399 model is available in silver or black, and the other two are available in black. All but the HW-C900 ship in March. Availability of the HW-C900 hasn't been announced.
The $399 HW-C560S consists of the HW-C500 AVR, included iPod/iPhone dock and 5.1 speaker system. The $549 HW-C770BS features the HW-C900 AVR with decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, iPod/iPhone dock and 7.1 speaker package.
Also new in audio are two portable media players. The R1 features 2.4-inch touchscreen and ships in April in 8GB and 16GB versions at an expected everyday $149 and $179, respectively. It comes with stereo Bluetooth, FM radio and voice recorder.
A portable media player without a touchscreen is the R0, also due in April in 8GB and 16GB versions at $99 and $129. It features a MicroSD expansion slot.