Besides Samsung’s dizzying array of curved UHD TVs unveiled today in New York City, the company has doubled down on it’s wireless home audio ecosystem, the anchor of which is the latest edition to its Shape speaker line, the M5.
The $300 M5 is the smaller sibling of Samsung’s Shape M7 speaker, unveiled last year. Like Samsung’s M7, the M5 is integrated into Samsung’s Sonos-esque wireless ecosystem, which uses a proprietary app to wirelessly stream audio seamlessly throughout your home, over Wi-Fi, from multiple sources, with zero latency. The new speaker looks almost exactly like its bigger sibling. It stands somewhere between Sonos’ Play:1 and Play:3 offerings, which are designed as a solitary wireless music solutions, as add-on surround speakers for a soundbar, or as companion pieces for a multi-room listening system.
Samsung’s growing wireless family does have some distinct advantages over other systems in the expanding wireless home speaker genre, however. Apart from floating sound over your Wi-Fi network, the speakers also boast Bluetooth with NFC pairing for easy wireless streaming directly from your smartphone. And with the company’s Link Mate, you can integrate other components from your home theater system into the wireless fold like, say, that turntable you’ve recently restored. You’ll have to spend $350 on the Link Mate for that privilege, though.
There are also some other dividends to be reaped by sticking with Samsung’s wireless product line, especially if you’re willing to submerse yourself fully in Samsung waters. The company’s new BD-H6500 Blu-ray player ($180) assimilates with the rest of the Shape tribe. While Samsung hasn’t formally submitted that the player can communicate with Shape speakers wirelessly over Wi-Fi, the official release today states that the unit is “compatible with Samsung’s growing roster of Shape Wireless Audio-Multiroom products to further expand music options in the home.” We’ll find out more about that at the exhibition later today.
Other features for the H6500 include UHD upscaling for full HD, HD, and SD content, and Smart View 2.0, which allows for wireless mirroring to any TV via the player from Samsung phones.
We’ll also get a closer look today at two of Samsung’s latest editions to its succinct home-theater systems. The big kahuna is the $800 HW-750 sound bar, which is tailor made to play nice with the rest of the Shape family for a fully wireless setup. Besides wireless streaming, notable features for the bar include HD audio support up to 24bit/96kHz sample rate, 320 watts of power, a wireless subwoofer companion, and a chic metallic body that should spruce up any TV cabinet.
Also on display at the show is the H600 Sound bar which, despite it’s moniker, is not a sound bar at all, but a sound platform. Perplexing title aside, the $400 H600 is designed to sit beneath any flat screen up to 77 inches for a seamless and concise sound solution. The system doesn’t integrate with the Shape ecosystem for zero latency wireless streaming, but it does offer 4.2 “Multi-direction” sound, and Bluetooth connection for wireless streaming from a smartphone, or wireless connection to select Samsung TVs over the company’s proprietary Sound Connect system.
All of Samsung’s new audio products will be hitting stores some time this spring, with the H600 making its debut later this month. Stay tuned for a hands-on look as we delve deeper into some of these shiny new toys later today at the exhibition.