New York — Samsung revealed prices and availability dates of a new home-audio lineup that expands the company’s selection of Wi-Fi-based wireless multiroom-audio products.
The audio products were unveiled at International CES.
In wireless multiroom audio, the company developed a second powered Shape speaker and its first Shape adapter, which enables existing hi-fi systems to play back music streamed over a Wi-Fi-based Shape network. The Link Mate adapter also connects directly to legacy music sources such as CD players and turntables to send music from those sources over a Shape network. Like the Shape speakers, the Shape adapter also features stereo Bluetooth.
Also to expand the Shape selection, Samsung is embedding Shape technology for the first time into a soundbar, two Blu-ray HTiBs and one Blu-ray player, all equipped with built-in Wi-Fi.
In one new audio announcement, Samsung expanded the selection of Cloud-based music services available for playback from a Shape system’s controller app for Apple and Android smartphones. When launched last year, the app streamed TuneIn Internet radio, Pandora, Rhapsody and the Amazon Cloud Player. To those services, Samsung is adding such new providers as 8tracks, iHeart Radio, Rdio and Spotify. The app also adds Spotify Connect technology.
Apple and Android tablet apps are due in the spring.
In other audio introductions, the company is:
*expanding its selection of core soundbar models to six from five, including its first under-TV speaker;
*expanding its selection of large floorstanding Giga music systems to four from two; and
*and launching four new 3D Blu-ray HTiBs while carrying over one model to maintain its selection at five SKUs.
The company also revealed that its Shape speakers can be connected over a Shape network to the company's Shape-equipped soundbar to double as the soundbar’s outboard surround speakers. Similarly, five separate Shape speakers can be connected over a Shape network to select Wi-Fi-equipped 2014 Samsung TVs to deliver home theater surround sound.
All new audio products ship in March and April with the exception of one soundbar, due in May, and the Shape adapter, due sometime in the spring.
The new Shape-equipped products are priced as follows:
The $299-UPP M5 stereo speaker and $349-UPP Link Mate adapter for legacy music sources will join the current $399-UPP M7 stereo speaker and $49-UPP Hub. The Hub connects to a home router to, among other things, ensure synchronization among multiple speakers playing throughout the house.
The products with embedded Shape technology include the HW-750 soundbar at $799 UPP, the HTH-6500W 3D Blu-ray HTiB at $599 UPP, and the HTH-7730W 3D Blu-ray HTiB at $799 UPP.
The other Shape-equipped audio product is the BD-H6500 Blu-ray player at $179 UPP. It also features Ultra HD up-scaling.
Other new audio products are priced as follows:
Among soundbars, the HW-H450 features a price of $299 MAP, and the HW-H550 (black) and HW-H551 (silver) are priced at $399 MAP, said Jim Kiczek, Samsung’s director of digital audio and video. The carryover HW-F850 soundbar remains at $1,299 UPP. And the under-TV Speaker Stand features a price of $399, Kiczek said. All of the soundbars and Sound Stand have surround decoding.
The two other new 3D Blu-ray HTiBs are the HTH-4500 at $249 MAP and the HTH-5500W at $399 MAP. Like the two 3D Blu-ray HTiBs with Shape technology, they feature AllShare DLNA networking.
In Giga systems, which are floorstanding 2.2-channel music systems with aggressive youth-oriented cosmetics and DJ effects, the company plans spring availability of two systems, joining two existing models. The new models are the $1,299 MX-HS8500 and $1,499 MX-HS9000, joining carryover models at $999 and $1,499.
Other features of all the products were announced at International CES.
In a Shape wireless-multiroom system, a single smartphone can transmit multiple phone-stored songs simultaneously to 10 or more wedge-shaped speakers. Multiple phones can be used simultaneously to stream songs to different speakers.
A single smartphone can transmit a music service to one set of speakers and a stored song to another set of speakers.
The mobile devices also access DLNA-equipped computers and laptops to direct PC-stored music to the speakers. PCs lacking DLNA must be loaded with Samsung application to connect to the speakers. Multiple songs can be streamed simultaneously from a single PC to different speakers.
The system also supports simultaneous streaming from a PC and from smartphones.
The M5 and M7 speakers are equipped with stereo drivers, but two speakers can also be paired so that one speaker delivers the left channel and the other delivers the right channel.