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Sharp Audio Expands Thin Soundbars

Las Vegas – Sharp is expanding
its selection of 1-inch-tall adjustable-width soundbars and launching its first
microsystems with Apple AirPlay, Wi-Fi Direct to stream music from DLNA-equipped
mobile devices, and iPad-compatible USB ports.

In all, the company is launching three
new 1-inch-tall soundbars and five microsystems. All of the microsystems feature
iPad-compatible USB port, and two offer AirPlay. The two AirPlay models also
feature DLNA certification and Wi-Fi Direct to stream music wirelessly from
non-Apple smartphones and tablets at a longer range than stereo Bluetooth.

The company is carrying over its
iPod/iPhone-docking mini systems, a current 1-inch soundbar, and the current HT-SB600
3.1-channel soundbar, which at an everyday $299 features Dolby Digital/DTS
5.1-channel decoders, Dolby Virtual Speaker to deliver virtual surround sound,
three HDMI 1.4a inputs, HDMI 1.4a output with audio return channel, wired
subwoofer, and AM/FM.

All of the company’s new 1-inch soundbars,
like the carryover $299-everyday HT-SL70, come with replaceable inserts that
expand or reduce soundbar width to match different-size TVs. The inserts can
also be removed to turn the horizontal soundbar into two separate left-right
vertical speakers sitting atop their own stands, said senior marketing manager
Bob Pleyer.

The soundbars were designed to be
compact in height so they don’t block a TV’s IR receiver or the IR blaster that
a 3S TV uses to controls active-shutter 3D glasses, Pleyer said.

The carryover HT-SL70 comes with
two inserts, one to size the soundbar for 46-inch TVs, and the other to size
the bar for 52-inch TVs. It features wired subwoofer, automatic signal-sensing
turn-on, HDMI 1.4a input, HDMI 1.4a output with audio return channel, and
analog mini input. A TV’s remote would be used to control soundbar volume via
the TV’s variable audio output. The TV could be used for all video switching,
though a cable box or Blu-ray player could also be connected to the soundbar to
pass through video to the connected TV. It’s rated at 2×50 watts plus 1×100
watts and doesn’t incorporate virtual surround processing.

The new HT-SL75, targeted to
retail for an everyday $299, offers the same features but comes with inserts
for 60- and 70-inch TVs. It’s shipping.

The new HT-SL77 soundbar comes with
four inserts to size the bar for 46-, 52-, 60-, and 70-inch TVs. It also adds
wireless subwoofer but otherwise offers the same power and connectivity as the
SL75. It’s targeted to retail for an everyday $349 when it ships, likely in

Another 1-inch soundbar, the HT-SL72,
also comes with wireless subwoofer but is packaged with inserts only for 60-
and 70-inch TVs. It lacks HDMI input and output and connects to a TV via analog
mini input and RCA adapter. It’s also rated at 2×50 watts plus 1×100.

None of the 1-inch-tall soundbars
features built-in Dolby Digital/DTS decoding dock or 30-pin iPod/iPhone dock.

Thirty-pin iPod/iPhone docks, however,
are standard in five new microsystems, which are also Sharp’s first audio
products with Apple-certified iPad-compatible microUSB port on their back panel
to stream an iPad’s music and quickly charge an iPad via 5-volt, 2.1-ampere
charging circuit. The microsystems also come with a separate stand to hold an
iPad in landscape or portrait mode. All feature iPod/iPhone dock on top.

Two of the new microsystems are
the company’s first one-piece vertical-oriented models. They feature AM/FM,
vertical CD mechanism that hides a spinning CD behind motorized metallic
sliding doors, MP3/WMA decoders, and 2×25-watt amp. The vertical systems are
the DK-KP80P at an everyday $149 and the DK-KP95P, which adds AirPlay and, via
DLNA certification and Wi-Fi Direct, ability to push music from a
DLNA-certified smartphones and tablets other than Apple models. It’s targeted
to homes lacking Wi-Fi, including second homes and motor homes. It ships in the
spring at a price to be announced.

Three other microsystems with
iPad-compatible USB port are three-piece executive-style systems, all with
single-CD mechanism, AM/FM, MP3/WMA playback, iPod/iPhone dock on top, 2×50-watt
amp, two-way speakers with dome tweeter, subwoofer preout, and composite-video

The three-piece systems start
with the XL-HF201P, targeted to retail for an everyday $199 and targeted to
ship in February.

The step-up XL-HF301P at a
targeted $249 adds improved drivers and is targeted to ship in March. The
XL-HF401P adds AirPlay, DLNA, and Wi-Fi Direct and ships in the spring.