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.


Samsung’s working on an invisible camera that hides behind a phone’s screen

Samsung envisions an "invisible" camera that hides behind a phone's screen, without any compromise on the way it operates, replacing the current hole-punch camera seen on the Galaxy S10.
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.

More clues point to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 having 5G connectivity

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

Samsung’s 2019 QLED TVs are now on sale. Here’s how much you can expect to pay

Samsung's lineup of new TVs were an impressive collection to behold when they made their first appearance at CES this year. Now, we have all of the details on the QLED 4K & 8K models, including features, sizes, availability, and price.
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.

Amazon slashes prices on TCL’s already affordable 4K Roku Smart TVs

If you're on a budget, some of the fancier models might seem way out of reach, but that doesn't mean you can't still get a solid TV at an affordable price. Amazon is dropping TCL 4K TV prices as low as $250 right now.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

2019 LG OLED TVs with AirPlay 2, HomeKit support coming in April

LG has revealed the prices and release dates of the first batch of 2019 OLED TVs with A.I. ThinQ. The new W9 wallpaper OLED TVs will arrive in June, while the E9 and C9 OLED TVs will start rolling out in April.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

11 Hollywood heavyweights who jumped from the big screen to the small screen

From Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep to James Franco and Mahershala Ali, lots of Hollywood A-list actors with successful film careers are flocking to television projects during the second Golden Age of Television.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Aliens, Avengers: Endgame, Charlie Says, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Charlie Says, Doom: Annihilation, and more.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Free Solo, Catastrophe season 4, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Free Solo documents an awe-inspiring climb, Catastrophe unveils its final season, and more.