Samsung’s Jim Kiczek shows off new gaming soundbar, retro-futuristic speakers

When people think Samsung, they probably think phones and TVs first. There’s no better way to further accentuate that latter category than Samsung’s 146-inch MicroLED, modular monster of a 4K TV, which was the centerpiece of the company’s First Look event ahead of the show at CES 2018. But as our interview with Samsung Vice President of Digital Audio and Video Jim Kiczek illuminates, the company is also deeply interested in pushing its expanding tentacles deep into the audio market, and the company showed off some cool new products at the event to get things rolling for 2018.

The core of Samsung’s 2018 audio push appears to be the new HW-N650 soundbar, which offers some very intriguing new features aimed not only at movie and music fans, but also at gamers. The bar looks similar to other new soundbars birthed from Samsung’s new audio lab in California, but some intriguing design traits immediately set it apart from its predecessors. Just beneath the surface of the soundbar’s top face is a tubular sound port flanked by dual tweeters and aligned with small ports, called a “hole array,” that are designed to push sound out of the top through “highly directional acoustic beams.”

Kiczek described the new hole array as working similar to the way a flute outputs sound through its finger holes. In this case, those holes are designed to allow for a sweeping sound stage up front to bring gamers closer to the action and follow their character around, allowing for more accurate responses during serious gaming.

While we don’t yet have pricing for the soundbar, it’s expected to be released in spring 2018.

Samsung’s recent acquisition of audio brand Harman and all its multiple subsidiaries has also helped the company add some new multiroom speakers to its growing collection, called the VL series. The VL-3 (we’re assuming there’s a dash there) is the smaller of the two, boasting a single woofer and tweeter set, while the VL-5 is the big boy, offering three woofers and dual tweeters. The speakers were set behind the bar at Samsung’s event and offered plenty of power as they splashed out sound across the large crowd in attendance.

And while multiroom speakers are nothing new, as Kiczek points out, the most intriguing feature for the speakers is the new magnetic control dial which tags along with them. It allows you to control volume, play/pause, and song skipping from virtually anywhere in your home — from the front grill of the speakers, to your easy chair or even the side of your fridge.

We don’t have exact pricing or release dates for the new audio gear just yet, but we’ll be keeping an eye on them to bring in for review after the show, so stay tuned.

Home Theater

FCC filing leaks smaller Samsung Galaxy Home before the first one even launches

Samsung's promised entry into the A.I.-powered smart speaker race, the Galaxy Home, is still nowhere to be seen. But that isn't stopping the company from planning a follow-up device, which will be smaller, and likely cheaper.

Walmart cuts prices on this Bose wireless speaker and Samsung Soundbar

Don't settle for a cheap soundbar or wireless speaker: Walmart has great sales on the Samsung HW-N550 Soundbar System and Bose SoundTouch 20 Series III wireless speaker this week. Both are great options if you're looking to upgrade the…

Here's our first look at the Galaxy Note 10's centered selfie camera

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range was only just revealed, but Samsung is already working on the next big release. Not much is known about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 just yet, but we do have a few details.
Home Theater

Walmart drops great deals on Samsung 4K smart TVs for Memorial Day

You don't have to wait till Black Friday to buy your next TV. Walmart has slashed the price of a number of Samsung's latest and greatest 4K TVs, including some of its top-of-the-line QLEDs, to celebrate Memorial Day.
Home Theater

The best alternatives to the Powerbeats Pro (and they’re cheaper too)

The Beats Powerbeats Pro might be getting a lot of attention but at $250, they're also a serious investment. Luckily, there are plenty of great alternatives that are great for your workout and your wallet.
Home Theater

The best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Home Theater

LG’s 2019 TVs slide Alexa next to Google Assistant, with Siri on the way

LG announced that Alexa will be coming to its 2019 lineup of ThinQ A.I. TVs, joining Google Assistant. Users will be able to control their TVs and smart home devices with their remote, no extra speaker required.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods — we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our favorites, with all the features you want.
Home Theater

These TVs might cost less than $1,000, but they certainly don’t perform like it

Check out our picks for the best TVs under $1,000 to enjoy top-shelf features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range, and gorgeous image processing. Park yourself here to find the absolute best values in TV land.

Dell slashes price on this JBL Harman Kardon Allure smart speaker

Dell has knocked $135 off the Harman Kardon Allure, but there's a catch: There's a limited amount of stock available, so those wanting to scoop up one on the cheap will need to act fast.
Home Theater

What is Android TV? Google’s smart TV software fully explained

Google's Android TV might not be a household name yet, but with growing support from brands like Sony, it will be soon. But what exactly is Android TV, how do you get it, and what are the benefits? We explain it all.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Home Theater

Here’s how to watch The Big Bang Theory online — including season 12

We've rounded up all the best places to watch The Big Bang Theory online (and triple-checked to ensure that the entire article is free of spoilers, so there's no need to read with one eye closed).

The Best 4K TV deals for Memorial Day: Vizio, Samsung, and LG get discounts

Credit cards at the ready — there's a massive sale on 4K TVs to celebrate Memorial Day, and with pricing starting as low as $230 for a 40-inch and $330 for a 55-inch, there's bound to be something for everyone.