Samsung entered the multi-room audio system scene in October with the $400 Shape M7 speaker and an optional $49.99 wireless connectivity hub. Now, the company is stepping up the fight against Sonos with some new offerings, including a more affordable M5 model and a pair of Shape-compatible speakers, the 320W HW-H750 Soundbar and the HW-H600 Sound Stand speaker base for multi-directional 4.2 channel audio.
The new Shape M5 packs three drivers, down from the five inside the M7, but otherwise supports the same set of streaming services as the higher end model and is also controlled via a smartphone app. Media sources include Amazon Cloud Player, Pandora, Rhapsody and TuneIn, in addition to music stored on your PC and smartphone.
Meanwhile, both the HW-H750 and HW-H600 incorporate Samsung's TV Sound Connect which allows compatible Samsung TVs to send audio signals to the sound bar or sound stand over Bluetooth.
With this Samsung is positioning the Shape lineup against Sonos’ speakers in a number of price points and categories. The M7 is their take on the Sonos Play:5, the new M5 will likely be priced to compete with the Play:3, while the HW-H750 Soundbar with subwoofer looks to be Samsung's take on the Sonos Playbar and Sub. Additionally, Samsung is also releasing the Connect Box, a small set-top box that allows you to integrate Shape multi-room audio functionality to an existing home audio system, much like the Sonos Connect does.
Samsung's not sharing any details on pricing or availability for now but promises we’ll hear more at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas later this month. Other audio products on display at the show include the MX-HS8500 GIGA System, which Samsung bills as “the world’s first main body-integrated component audio system on wheels” and the HT-H7730WM system comprising two tallboy speakers, two wireless rear satellites, one center speaker, a subwoofer, an amplifier with integrated Blu-ray player, and support for DTS Neo: Fusion II.
The Sonos Play:3 features three Class-D digital amplifiers and three drivers--one tweeter and two 3-inch mid-range drivers, as well as one passive, rear-firing bass radiator. The cabinet has volume and mute control and it measures up 5.2 x 10.5 x 6.3 inches (132 x 268 x 160 mm) while weighing in at 5.7 pounds (2.6 kg).
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