updated 06:45 pm EST, Tue January 3, 2012
Samsung E6730W, E5500W and E550 theaters arrive
Samsung kept up its preview of its strategy for CES with two new home theaters and a sound bar. The HT-E6730W combines a 1,330W, 7.1-channel speaker system with vacuum tubes amplifiers. Much like its new Audio Dock, it mixes a digital amp to provide a clean source with the warmer sound and an extra octave of sound before distortion sets in.
The speakers themselves are glossy black and also focus on minimizing the footprint. The two front tower speakers also include the height speakers, cutting the total unit count by two. Swivelling speakers can tilt sound upwards so it bounces from the ceiling and provide a potentially more immersive sound effect. Rear channel speakers are wireless to avoid stringing wires across the room. Its system includes a 3D-capable Blu-ray player.
Mid-range listeners will have the choice of the HT-E5500W, a 5.1-channel system also with a 3D Blu-ray player. Samsung is shy on power output but does tout a new 3D Sound processing technique that lines up surround sound with 3D imagery and adds height, theoretically improving the sound for 3D movies. iOS users can dock an iPhone or iPod directly into the system, and an unusual device-specific Disc to Digital option (possibly using UltraViolet) will let those with DVDs register their libraries and get downloadable versions for mobile and elsewhere. HD versions are available as paid extras.
At the basic end is the HW-E550 sound bar. The normally 2.1-channel system can produce virtual surround and can even detach from a base to improve the effect. 3D sound queuing and auto volume adjustment tune the sound on the system, which has a potentially interference-free wireless subwoofer.
Two HDMI inputs and one HDMI out are on the device, which also supports the Audio Return Channel to reduce the need for separate audio cables. Bluetooth and USB provide alternative audio sources.
As with other introductions so far, Samsung hasn't committed to a release window for any of the new hardware so far.