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LG’s new Dolby Atmos soundbars use A.I. for automatic room calibration

This story is part of our continuing coverage of CES 2020, including tech and gadgets from the showroom floor.

Just before CES 2020 got underway, LG released some of the details for its 2020 lineup of soundbars. The biggest new feature is called AI Room Calibration, a system that automatically adjusts the sonic properties of LG’s premium soundbar models to better match the acoustics of the room.

“These advanced models are self-calibrating, able to recognize and analyze tones to accurately assess the dimensions of a given space and adjust accordingly,” LG said in a press release. Apparently, the benefits of this system are particularly noteworthy when playing content mastered with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

A related onboard system lets LG’s premium soundbar models upscale lower-quality audio sources like MP3s or low-bitrate streaming music to “near-studio quality.”

Other features that LG is touting for 2020 include:

  • 4K pass-through
  • HDMI-eARC connectivity with support for Dolby TrueHD and hi-res audio
  • Google Assistant built-in for hands-free voice commands and smart home compatibility
  • Meridian Audio-tuned technologies such as Bass and Space, which boost low-frequency reproduction and widen the soundstage and Image Elevation
  • Optional wireless surround speakers
  • Command and control of other LG ThinQ connected home products

Not all of these features will be on every model of soundbar for 2020, but LG claims that the majority of its models will support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

LG hasn’t released the full lineup of models yet. For now, it has chosen to highlight just two models: The SN9YG and LG’s flagship, the SN11RG.

The SN11RG is a 7.1.4-channel system with two wireless rear speakers that deliver forward- and up-firing sound for 360 degrees of audio.

LG hasn’t released pricing information or any release dates for its 2020 soundbars, which it presented for the first time at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. If past history is any indication, most of the models will be available before summer 2020.

Digital Trends reviewed LG’s wall-mountable SL9YG Dolby Atmos soundbar earlier in 2019, and we were impressed at how good a single speaker cabinet could be at creating a convincing Dolby Atmos immersive surround effect. But there were still a few compromises, like poor music streaming and no option for surround channel satellites.

We’ll be looking to see how LG has improved on its 2019 lineup of soundbars — and we’ll keep you up to date with everything we learn.

There were a number of excellent and innovative soundbars at CES 2020. Check out our CES soundbar roundup for all the details.

Follow our live blog for more CES news and announcements.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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