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Day 1 - IFA International

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BUYERS' GUIDE SOUND BARS

BUYERS' GUIDE SOUND BARS I FA international Official Daily News Source f or International Visitors at IFA STATE OF PLAY As LCD TVs get thinner, the audio that accompanies them tends to do so as well. As a result, different kinds of audio accompaniment – first in the form of full-blown home cinema systems and now in the more simplified form of sound bars – have hit the scene. But how does one differentiate between the various models on the market? EISA has again been primarily responsible for this succinct buyers’ guide. MARKET GERMANY: ATTACH RATE SOUNDBAR AT FLAT TV 40 INCH+ 0,1 0,08 0,06 0,04 0,02 Jun 12 Sep 12 Dec 12 Mar 13 June13 KEY SELLING POINTS TECHNOLOGY Mass market: Virtual Surround The better sounding but usually more expensive sound-projector or sound-beam technologies only have a limited significance in the market. Most massmarket products now use virtual surround technologies. Non-playback Non-playback soundbars (i.e. without integrated DVD/Blu-ray drive) are mostly not bought for their virtual surround function but as a simple and easy-toinstall way to improve the sound of modern flat TVs. This is the most interesting market segment right now. Sound Quality Digital signal processing is a boon to improve the sound and maximise the output of small systems. Wireless speakers may use Version 4.0 Bluetooth technology with aptX technology to enhance quality. FEATURES Inputs and HDMI passthrough To improve flexibility and allow for easy installation, a modern soundbar should have at least one HDMI input, with pass-through of the video signal to the TV via an HDMI output, and at least one digital audio input (S/PDIF). Audio Return Channel The HDMI output should support the Audio Return Channel (ARC) to accept audio directly from the TV over only one cable Wireless Subwoofer A wirelessly connected subwoofer provides the soundbar with lowfrequency sound and can easily be placed and used by the customer. DESIGN Super-slim or bold and beautiful In the low and mid-range of products, extremely slim designs are more and more common. In the higher price ranges soundbars remain at a certain size and use highquality materials/surfaces to emphasise quality and price. Fitting for growing screen sizes In most markets, the screensizes of TVs increase constantly. This will be reflected by a growing demand of soundbars that fit TVs in the 50- to 55- inch class. Intelligent Display With the increasing number of inputs, features and functions in modern soundbars a large enough display on the front aids usability but it should only activate when needed and be dimmed completely automatically when not in use. The urge to go wireless - or, at least, minimize the number of wires - is now at the forefront... That's where the home theater sound bar, a long, thin speaker enclosure that either sits underneath or mounted above your HDTV. Maybe the sound bar started life as a cheap substitute for multi-channel, surround-sound system,but now the sound bar has evolved into an important component in the home. Credit the success of iPod speaker docks for inspiration, but manufacturers have now learned to get high-quality audio output from the sound bar form factor. It's a viable route for high-end, boutique audio manufacturers. Soundbars broke into the home theater scene by offering an intriguing value proposition. INNOVATING @ IFA YAMAHA RELIT LSX-700 Yamaha tries its hand at designer sound systems. It claims to be the first to combine ambient light and sound quality in one device. It features six step-adjustable LED lights and is a wireless player. The design is reminiscent of a tower and unlike anything Yamaha has produced before. » HALL 1.2 / STAND 101 SONOS PLAYBAR The Sonos Playbar is a wireless player that allows customers to listen to their music or their television through one device. The device brings hi-fi quality sound to HD TVs. The Sonos Playbar is the perfect companion device for TVs that need a bigger hi-fi sound or for customers who want to create epic, surround-sound quality in the comfort of their own homes. » HALL 1.2 / STAND 221 THE FUTURE Sure, purists and audiophiles may still prefer separate components, with traditional 5.1 (or 7.1) speaker arrays. Even the best sound bars don't measure up to the stereo separation, high volume levels, and the pounding bass. Yet as a compact way to turn your HDTV into a real home theater, you can't beat sound bars. "You can't unlink the soundbar from the flat-panel buying experience. The soundbar should best be viewed as an accessory to the HDTV purchase experience, much like HDMI cables, says David Grant, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, DSP Business Unit, Cirrus Logic, Inc. » HALL 6.2 / STAND 201 » HALL 22 / STAND 101 Our thanks to EISA for their help in compiling this buyers' guide, and to SMS Audio and Magnat for their contributions 46

The Sonos Playbar — the soundbar for music lovers — is a wireless player that allows customers to listen to their music or television through one device. Bringing hi-fi quality sound to an HDTV, the Sonos Playbar is based on a sleek, discreet design aesthetic. The body is classic black, while the front is finished in a bright metallic veneer. The device is mobile and flexible — one simple cable is all that’s required to set it up. The sound from the Sonos Playbar comes from nine speakers located inside the device. The speakers flood any room with a hi-fi audio for games and movies, huge waves of authentic live concert sound and wireless streams of any music on earth. Playbar can also stream content stored in any video console, PC or music device, as well as from Internet streaming services - wirelessly and with hi-fi sound. Matching Sound And Mood According to Arkamys CEO Philippe Tour, the company is now firmly established as a leader in 3D sound, audio effects and sound rendering tuning. “We are a recognised leader in audio enhancement and spatialization technologies, providing digital audio software and services for professional entertainment, digital content companies and for the consumer electronics industry including mobile phones, multimedia players, car audio and home theaters. Arkamys technology is embedded in more than 20 million products. The company has offices in Paris, Seoul, Shanghai, Tokyo and Detroit.” At IFA the company will show its latest technological innovations. “Our demos and solutions will show visitors to the stand how to get the very best audio into their homes or on to your mobile devices, whether it’s a tablet, smartphone, or even a pair of headphones, through our multimedia streaming system. The system features audio presets that are directly » HALL 1.2 / STAND 221 handled by the server and controlled in real time by the user’s smartphone. All the consumer has to do is to choose the audio ambience that suits them at that moment, and then our Arkamys SmartSound solution will automatically adapt all their multimedia content to suit that mood.” » HALL 1.2 STAND 107 ADVERTORIAL THE SONOS PLAYBAR: Sound like you’ve never heard it before ADVERTORIAL Philippe Tour Arkamys CEO IFA 2013 is the launchpad for a bold new Maxell product range, including portable and home entertainment Bluetooth speakers, premium M-Mark headphones and wireless hard drives. Star of the show will be Maxell's Soundbar MXSP-SB3000, a sleek new home theatre speaker with powerful SRS surround sound. Able to broadcast wirelessly from smartphones, tablet PCs or notebooks via Bluetooth, the home entertainment speakers include an Offering a full audiovisual experience, Yamaha’s latest product line combines music with ambient lighting. The Relit ensemble LSX- 700 is designed as a floor appliance to be placed close to a wall. An app for smartphone and tablet gives the user complete control from a distance.The Yamaha stand also features new digital sound projectors and soundbar systems for home cinemas using just one speaker, which – thanks to the sound projector system – is enough to deliver dynamic, cinema-style sound. The brand new YSP-1400 for flatscreen TVs and the YAS-152, a new sound bar with Air Surround Xtreme technology, are also highlights on the LIVING ROOM LIFESTYLE [ STREAMING SOUND SYSTEMS & SOUND BARS ] New Maxell Range Gets Star Treatment Fortuna Dusseldorf striker Stefan Reisinger is at IFA to launch new audio accessories integrated 100-watt subwoofer. Crafted from matt black lacquered wood, the ultra-slim Soundbar fits directly below any TV. Maxell’s MXSP-WP2000 Bluetooth wireless speaker offers Qi wireless charging and NFC pairing connectivity, while the latest Yamaha stand. More home cinema innovation comes in the form of the audiophile surround ensemble, consisting of a pre-amplifier and a power amplifier utilising unique technology such as the proprietary Cinema DSP HD3 and the automatic calibration system YPAO RSC to create a powerful sound experience for Ultra-HD home cinema, gaming and music. Yamaha's ‘no compromise’ credo addition to the M-Mark headphone series are premium high-end audio in-ear headphones. The headphones feature innovative technologies such as a dynamic balance armature, dual dynamic drivers and a bass chamber. » HALL 1.2 / STAND 110 MXSP-WP2000 Bluetooth wireless speaker The Big Sound and Bigger Picture at Yamaha Innovation at Yamaha enables a superior audio and home-cinema experience even in smaller living spaces when it comes to its technology means the system offers a wealth of sound detail while the ensemble itself is integrated in to the heart of the digital home using either Apple's Airplay or a home network. Yamaha's Slim Line AV receivers also feature home network integration. » HALL 1.2 / STAND 101 YSP 1400 www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Friday 6 th September 2013 47

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