Samsung Introducing Docking Speakers, Web-Browsing HTiBs



Samsung’s 2012 audio lineup includes its first docking tabletop speakers and first HTiBs with web browsers.

The web-browsing HTiBs support HTML5 and Flash.

Also at CES, Samsung is launching its first Bluetooth- equipped soundbars, expanding its selection of 3D Blu-ray HTiBs with HDMI switching and 2Dto- 3D conversion, and incorporating vacuum-tube preamps in select HTiBs and one docking speaker to add warmth to music playback.

In addition, Samsung is launching its first soundbar that can be split in two, creating two separate vertical speakers that can be placed on each side of a TV.

In entering the docking-speaker market, Samsung is launching four models due in the spring, all with an iPod/iPhone dock and a separate docking connector for Samsung’s Galaxy S II cellphone, the 4G Android superphone available for the AT&T, TMobile and Sprint networks.

Three of the four docking speakers add stereo Bluetooth and iPad-docking capability, and two of the four add Apple’s wireless AirPlay technology. The top model, targeted to the premium high-end market, mates a tube preamplifier with a digital Class D amplifier.

All four docking speakers also feature analog aux in and a USB charging port, which also connects to mass-storage devices to play back MP3, WMA and AAC files stored on a USB thumb drive or other mass-storage device. All of the docks incorporate MP3, WMA and AAC decoders. None features CD player or tuner.

Although each speaker docks with an Apple device and with the Galaxy S II smartphone, both devices don’t dock simultaneously. Prices are expected to start at around a suggested $399.

In HTiBs, the company plans spring deliveries of five new models with integrated 3D Blu-ray players. All feature 2D-to-3D conversion, up from four models in the 2011 line, and all are the company’s first to offer full web browsing. The number of SKUs with dual HDMI 1.4a inputs and one HDMI output with audio return channel goes to four from two.

Three of the 3D HTiBs feature wireless-surround speakers, and all but one feature embedded Wi-Fi. An optional Wi-Fi dongle is available for the opening- price model.

Like last year, all of the 3D HTiBs feature FM tuner, iPod/iPhone docking via wired dock or USB cable, and Samsung’s DLNA-based AllShare technology to stream audio and video from a networked PC or other networked device. Also like last year, all access Samsung’s app store to download apps, including game apps and apps that stream audio, video and other content via the Internet.

The top two HTiBs add vacuum-tube preamps whose tubes are visible through a glass panel on top of the main console and another glass panel in front.

The top model also features separately amplified front-height driver on each left-right tower speaker to work with proprietary post-processing technology to add height channels to the front stage without cluttering up the room with additional speaker cabinets. The system features 5.1 speaker cabinets but 7.1 channels of amplification.

The other 3D HTiBs feature 5.1 speaker cabinets and 5.1-channel amps, but they are Samsung’s first to use post-processing technology to deliver height information through the front left-right channels.

In soundbars, Samsung is expanding its selection to four models from three and expanding HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs to all models. All feature Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround decoding and virtual surround processing. All also feature HDMI output with audio return channel, and the top model (available in black or silver as separate SKUs) features two HDMI inputs instead of one. Prices are expected to start at around a suggested $349.

The top model, available in black or silver, is sized for 46-inch-and-larger TVs, adds a second HDMI input, steps up output, and features a “convertible” design. That design lets consumers split the bar in two and place each piece on separate speaker stands on each side of a TV. It also features wireless subwoofer and Bluetooth.

In A/V receivers, the company is carrying over its $599-suggested 7.2-channel HW-D7000 with integrated 3D Blu-ray player and 2D-to-3D conversion. In late spring, the company will add a new HWE600 entry-level 5.1-channel AVR with 600-watt output, all HD surround decoders, four HDMI 1.4a inputs, one HDMI output with audio return channel, and tethered iPod/iPhone.


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