Samsung targets MP3 and surround sound

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Following its blitz on the visual market which has seen it take first place or thereabouts in LCD, plasma and DVD, Samsung is now turning its attention to audio. After dipping out of the MP3 market a couple of years back, the company returns with a collection of players including, you guessed it, its answer to the Apple iPod.

More interestingly is its targeting of the home entertainment system market where its features some unique products that use technologies like digital radio (DAB) and wireless (802.11b) rear speakers.

MP3 players

Top billing goes to the YP-900, a jukebox with a 30Gigabyte hard disk. It is larger than rivals from Apple and Philips and not quite as elegant. It does however feature an integrated FM radio and, unlike the iPod, it will playback both MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) files. Non-UK versions of the product also include an FM transmitter which enables users to broadcast music from the player over a short distance to enable them to hear tunes on a car stereo or on a bathroom radio. Sadly UK law prohibits the use of this system. Annoyingly the unit won’t go on sale until spring next year, and its expected price tag of £400 means it might struggle against the cheaper opposition.

Samsung is also dipping into the flash memory MP3 market. The YP-55 and YP-35 both feature 256MB of storage, an FM tuner and allow direct music transfer from a CD player/hi-fi.

Samsung also has plans for an innovative MP3 player aimed at sporty types. The as yet unnamed model combines MP3 playback with fitness facilities such as a stopwatch and heart rate monitor. Again don’t expect to see it until well into next year.

Home Entertainments systems

HT-DB390 – The first surround sound system in the UK to offer wireless rear speakers that use an 802.11b connection. Highly specified with DVD, surround sound system etc and expected to have a price tag of around £500.

HT-DB550 – A higher specified system with large floorstanding speakers that are also wireless. Due next year.

HT-DB1850 – High-end system with floor standing speaker and a power output of 600Watts. Will retail for £1200 when it goes on sale in February. Also available as the HT-DB1350 with NXT flat panel speakers.

HT-DB760T – First system to feature Samsung’s own RRSS surround sound from two speakers technology. We quite enjoyed the demo we had of the system but couldn’t hear much action from behind. Like similar systems it does however create a very wide soundstage

HT-DB770 – Smart-looking surround sound system that is among the first to feature a DAB (digital radio) receiver. Will sell for the very competitive price of £400 early next year.

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