Samsung is going all-out in its push into Australian homes, launching a swathe of home audio products to sell alongside its 2013 TV line-up. The company is introducing new home theatre systems, increasing the number of soundbars that it will sell, and banking on the continued popularity of all-in-one, portable wireless speakers.
Home theatre systems
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Top of the home entertainment pile is Samsung's Series 9 home theatre system, the HT-F9750W. As the flagship model it has 1330 Watts of power behind its 7.1-channel extended surround speaker setup, using Samsung's newly-developed GaN (gallium nitride) amplifier along with the vacuum tube pre-amp that it debuted in 2012.
The F9750W also has most of the Smart tech that goes into Samsung's 2013 TV range. It's got the same grid-style design on its Smart Hub, with a dual core processor that's probably roughly equivalent in performance to the company's middle-of-the-range Series 6 LED TVs. Built-in Wi-Fi and AllShare means communicating with tablets, smartphones and PCs to share media should be easy enough, and the wireless rear speakers make setup a little easier.
Samsung is also making the novel move of retaining one of its 2012 home theatre systems, apparently due to consistently high demand. Samsung Australia's vice president of consumer electronics Phil Newton told PC World that the company simply couldn't keep up with demand for the HT-E6750W, which is its second most expensive system. Australian buyers' sustained interest means Samsung will keep the E6750W on for its 2013 cycle.
The biggest new feature that should draw buyers to Samsung's top soundbar is the HW-F751's built-in Bluetooth, along with a gyroscopic sensor to optimise the sound whether the speaker is wall-mounted or placed on a home entertainment unit in front of a TV. If you've got a compatible TV, like Samsung's Series 6 or higher, you'll be able to connect the F751 wirelessly, transmitting audio to the soundbar and its equally-wireless subwoofer.
If you don't want to go drilling into and running cables through walls, this is one of the most elegant solutions you're going to find. Like the HT-F9750W home theatre system, the F751 soundbar uses a softly-glowing vacuum pre-amplifier for richer sound.
The lesser HW-F551 only loses out on the F751's vacuum amp, so it might be even more appealing to buyers on a tight budget.
Wireless, portable audio
Also set to be released locally is Samsung's diminutive DA-F61 -- a Bluetooth portable speaker with a near-field communication (NFC) chip built-in.
With 20 Watts of power packed into a small, slim speaker with a brushed perforated metal finish, the F61 is exceedingly simple to set up -- if you've got a NFC-compatible smartphone, all you need to do is tap it against the side of the speaker. Bluetooth pairing happens automatically, and the apt-x codec support means a minimum of distortion and the clearest possible sound quality.
All of Samsung's home theatre and home audio products should be available in most electronics retailers now.