Finally! Truly wireless surround speakers are a reality with the Philips Fidelio HTL9100 sound bar system

PhilipsHTL9100_P_contextual_MOD_finalWhile there have been tremendous advances in sound bar technology over the past few years, the fact still remains that even the best products are primarily limited to a 3.1 experience. The closest we’ve come to a true 5.1 sound bar system are two soon-to-be-released Vizio systems with wireless surrounds and the  recently launched Sonos PlayBar, which requires the addition of a couple of Play:3 speakers and the Sonos Sub.  But even though those systems offer surround speakers with wireless audio delivery, they aren’t truly wireless. You’ve still got to plug the the speakers in to a power source to juice up the built-in amplifiers. What we’ve really been pining for is a surround system with truly wireless surround speakers – ones which pack a built-in rechargeable battery inside to power built-in amps – but up until now such a product has eluded consumers. With the launch of the Philips Fidelio HTL9100 sound bar, the future has finally arrived.

The Fidelio HTL9100 is the first sound bar to feature detachable battery-powered wireless surround speakers that, when removed, automatically switch the system from virtual surround sound to 5.1 channel surround sound. The HTL9100 also comes with a wireless subwoofer, which has quickly become the norm in sound bar systems. 

The speakers operate via Philips’ proprietary wireless audio technology, leaving consumers free to place them wherever they like. With the HTL9100, the audio is uncompressed and the frequency the surround speakers operate at is different than that of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which means no network interference.

When fully charged, the detachable surround sound speakers offer up to 10 hours of play time and automatically recharge when connected to the main unit. The Philips Fidelio sound bar includes an intelligent orientationphilips-fidelio-soundbar-htl9100 sensor that enables it to recognize if the unit is lying horizontally on a shelf or TV cabinet or if it has been mounted on a wall. Using smart equalization, it automatically adjusts to deliver the best sound performance in either position.

For added convenience, the Fidelio sound bar includes two HDMI ports that allow users to easily link their media system or games console. The HTL9100 also includes an optical digital input which is how most consumers with multiple sources are likely to connect everything. via the digital output on their HDTV. For music playback it connects wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled device, so the only wires needed are for power and a link to your HDTV.

The Philips HTL9100 sound bar goes on sale in May for $800, and while that is significantly less than the $2,000 Sonos is charging for a 5.1 PlayBar system, Philips still faces some stiff competition from the likes of Vizio, Atlantic Technology, and Definitive Technology, all of which have some excellent products doing very well in the marketplace. The battery-powered design is still unique, and we hope that the introduction of the Philips sound bar will push other manufacturers in a similar direction; offering genuine 5.1 surround sound in a wireless package that people can actually afford.

See the HTL9100 in action in the Philips video below. 

Product Review

Audio-Technica's M50xBT headphones bring signature studio sound to the streets

Audio pros may balk at cutting the cord on studio headphones, but it’s hard to argue with these results. Audio-Technica’s wireless ATH-M50xBT offer massive battery life and killer sound you can take anywhere.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on Echo devices that play Alexa’s sweetest-sounding music

Amazon slashed prices on Alexa-controlled Echo devices with the best music sound quality. All Alexa smart speakers stream music, but some sound better than others. Save on Echo Plus and the Echo Sub bundled with Echo and Echo Plus speakers.
Home Theater

Smart speakers are about to get an IQ bump thanks to new Qualcomm chips

Qualcomm announced a new chipset that is designed to make the next generation of smart speakers sound, listen, and connect better than ever before, and it could soon be in your living room.
Smart Home

Which is better, the original Echo or the Echo Dot? We compare them

Amazon Echo vs. Dot: Having Alexa answer your questions is nothing short of futuristic, but which device should you get? There are some big differences between the two, especially in size, sound, and cost.
Deals

Amazon slashes prices on UE Boom and MegaBoom 3 Bluetooth speakers

With just the right combination of great sound, a rugged design, and an overall sleek aesthetic, the UE MegaBoom 3 is our favorite Bluetooth speaker. And Amazon is offering a rare discount on it right now.
Home Theater

There isn’t a single good reason to buy Apple’s new AirPods

After nearly a three-year wait, Apple has finally announced a new version of its popular true wireless headphones, the AirPods. We had high hopes for vast improvements, but that's not what we got.
Home Theater

Tipping point? Streaming subscribers outnumbered cable in 2018 for first time

2018 was a very good year for the entertainment business as a whole, but it was especially good for streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon, says a new report by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Home Theater

Here’s what’s new on HBO and what’s leaving in April 2019

Whether you're a cable lifer or a staunch cord cutter, there's never been a better time to get down with premium TV. April 2019 brings Game of Thrones season 8, BlacKkKlansman, and Crazy Rich Asians to HBO.
Home Theater

TCL drops the price of its 75-inch 6-Series 4K Roku TV to $1,500

March is a great time for TV deals, and we've got a whopper: TCL has taken $300 off the price of its superb 75-inch 6-Series 4K HDR Roku TV, making it $1,500. That's the lowest price ever on this affordable TV.
Movies & TV

Comcast launches Xfinity Flex, a $5-a-month service aimed at cord cutters

For $5 a month, Xfinity Flex gives existing Xfinity internet subscribers a 4K- and HDR-ready set-top box that can stream video from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, as well as free TV from apps like Cheddar and ESPN3.
Home Theater

Here’s how to watch Apple’s March 25 product reveal event live

It's almost here: Apple's much anticipated March 25 event, where it is widely expected to announce several streaming services, including on-demand and live TV with original programming. Here's how to watch it live.
Movies & TV

HBO’s Deadwood movie rustles up a trailer and a release date

This spring, HBO's long-awaited Deadwood movie will explore what happened 10 years after the events of HBO's award-winning drama, giving the series a finale 13 years after the show was canceled.
Movies & TV

Apple’s next big event is set for March 25: Here’s what you can expect

Apple's next big event takes place on March 25 in Cupertino, California. The company is expected to make several announcements related to its services, including Apple TV, so follow our guide to get ready for the big event.