True audiophiles will settle for nothing less than 5.1- or 7.1-channel speaker systems for enjoying the sound that goes along with their HDTV viewing. But for a growing number of us, the simplicity of a soundbar provides a happy medium between built-in speakers and multi-channel audio systems.
Philips introduced three new soundbar models at CES, the most interesting being the Fidelio HTL9100 (pictured above).
The HTL9100 features detachable, rechargeable wireless side speakers (a first for a soundbar, according to Philips) that you can place behind you to go from the 9100's virtual surround sound to real 5.1-channel surround sound. They use a proprietary wireless technology that doesn't face interference problems from Wi-Fi or Bluetooth frequencies, and last up to 10 hours on a charge. It also features a wireless subwoofer, has two HDMI ports, and supports Bluetooth audio streaming for wireless music playback. Finally, the 9100 model has an orientation sensor that can tell whether you've mounted it on a wall or have it sitting on a shelf. It will be available in May for $800.
The HTL5120 has a built-in subwoofer, providing bass without an extra piece of hardware on the floor. Like the 9100, it supports Bluetooth audio streaming, includes an orientation sensor, and offers two HDMI ports. It will also be available in May for $250.
Lastly, at the low end, comes the HTL3120. It offers dual 3-inch drivers, virtual surround sound, two HDMI ports, Bluetooth audio streaming, and a USB connection for music playback. It will ship in March for $180.
For more blogs, stories, photos, and video from the nation's largest consumer electronics show, check out our complete coverage of CES 2013.