Typically, Dolby Atmos has required a large number of speakers to get the true 3D experience, but Samsung is hoping to make the technology even simpler by integrating into a standalone soundbar.
What’s truly unique about Samsung’s approach is the fact that it can put sound above the viewer by using four upward-firing sound beams incorporated into the soundbar. These speakers bounce off the ceiling and back down to the user.
While Samsung is billing the HW-K950 as a soundbar, that’s not strictly true in the purest sense of the word, as it also includes two surround speakers that are designed to be placed behind the viewer. There’s also an independent subwoofer.
“Our 2016 lineup of audio products offers the most immersive sound ever experienced in the home,” says John JY Kim, VP of visual display business at Samsung Electronics.
“Samsung’s new soundbar with Dolby Atmos technology, delivers the ultimate in cinematic home entertainment, especially when paired with Samsung’s new SUHD TVs.”
Yamaha’s solution simply uses software to bounce audio off the walls and ceiling, much like Dolby’s own Atmos speakers, but unlike Samsung’s set-up, there’s only a soundbar and a subwoofer to contend with.
For easier integration, Samsung’s surround speakers connect wirelessly to the soundbar; likewise for the subwoofer.
“Dolby Atmos has received overwhelming support from major studios and continues to expand into other form factors, including the new Samsung HW-K950 Soundbar, which allows more consumers to bring an unrivaled sound experience into their homes,” adds Doug Darrow, senior VP, Dolby Laboratories.
“Consumers can experience sound that comes alive from all directions, including overhead, to fill their home theaters with astonishing clarity, power, detail and depth.”
Samsung has yet to announce pricing for the HW-K950, although it will likely only be one of the first Dolby Atmos products released by Samsung this year.
3D sound is set for a big 2016; already a number of Blu-Rays have been announced supporting the technology, while Netflix, Amazon and Vudu also have a number of titles available for streaming.