On the Blu-ray side, Philips didn’t officially announce any new standalone players, but Danny Tack did confirm that it will launch the 3D-capable BDP9600 later in the year, as well as a 3D-capable home cinema system (both to be unveiled at IFA).
However, Philips did unveil a couple of other tasty-looking systems due out in the summer, including the HTS9140 soundbar. Boasting a built-in Blu-ray player, the HTS9140 is designed to accompany 40in TVs and larger, and like previous Philips soundbars it comes equipped with Ambisound.
This technology, now in its fourth generation, uses psychoacoustic phenomena, array processing technology and precisely angled driver positioning to deliver a convincing surround effect from fewer speakers than a regular 5.1 system.
Philips has also thrown in Wi-Fi support for accessing online BD Live content, DLNA media streaming from connected PCs and Net TV web surfing – although you’ll need to buy an optional USB adaptor for wireless functionality. The HTS9140 also offers everything else you’d expect from a Blu-ray system, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio decoding and 1080/24p output.
Joining the soundbar is the HTS9520, a Blu-ray system that uses Philips’ new 360Sound concept. The idea behind it is to deliver the sort of immersive soundstage you get in a real cinema, and to achieve this Philips has developed a new and unique speaker design.
Each speaker is fitted with three drivers, one firing forward and two firing sideways – a configuration Philips calls 'tripole'. This fires sound at the listener from different angles, offering the diffuse, non-directional sound of dipole speakers, which radiate sound along walls (like the rear speakers included with the recent Teufel Theatre 200 system) while the forward-firing driver on top provides precise directional cues, which according to Philips stops the listener’s brain getting confused.
The result sounds more like a 7.1-channel system, and after listening to a demo of the system in action we were impressed by what we heard – the sound is certainly fuller, with a very convincing sense of immersion. Neither the soundbar nor the 360Sound system have been confirmed for the UK, so prices and launch dates are still up in the air.