CES 2023 is still a couple of weeks away, but LG is already offering a sneak peek at the soundbars it will bring to the show. Two new models will appear – the SC9 and SE6 – and LG says they’ll integrate seamlessly with the company’s TVs from 2023, a trend we’ve seen develop from Samsung, Sony and Vizio.
For 2023, LG is expanding what Wowcast technology can do. As well as providing a fully wireless audio connection between the soundbar and a compatible LG TV, the speakers and TVs can collaborate on audio tasks via Wow Orchestra – LG’s version of Samsung’s Q Symphony – so that all the speakers on the TV and soundbar are used for to create the most immersive sound experience.
A new mounting bracket allows you to place the speaker directly under an LG TV, whether you choose to wall or stand mount the units.
Another new feature is the ability to access all of the soundbar’s settings via an LG TV’s Home Dashboard, which should prove far more intuitive than either LG’s soundbar mobile app or working with the small OLED screen on the front of a soundbar.
The new models offer the usual range of immersive surround sound formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, with triple sound technology – LG’s unique triple set of incendiary drivers. New this year is “triple-level spatial sound technology,” which LG says will use channel analysis performed by an HRTF-based 3D engine to add a “virtual middle layer.”
HRTF stands for Head-Related Transfer Function and is commonly used to understand how the shape of a person’s head and ears affects how they perceive 3D sound. But what’s unusual about LG’s implementation of the technology on a soundbar is that HRTF is typically used to enhance headphone experiences.
Despite this, LG says the result is “incredibly lifelike sound with a convincing sense of space that puts listeners at the center of an immersive sound environment.” We’ll hopefully get a chance to try this in person in the coming months.
Sticking with the triple theme, the new soundbars will also feature a “triple audio optimization,” which is LG’s version of audio upscaling that can take standard, two-channel audio and turn it into a more immersive, 3D-like experience.
Finally, gamers will appreciate that the SC9 and SE6 offer full coverage of HDMI 2.1 features such as variable refresh rate (VRR), automatic low latency mode (ALLM) and 4K/120Hz. These features have become commonplace on high-end TVs, but support for these signals through soundbars has been hard to come by.
LG hasn’t yet said how much the new soundbars will cost (other than to say they’ll “deliver unprecedented consumer value)” or when we’ll be able to buy them. That’s pretty standard for LG — we’ll likely get all the details sometime before the end of first quarter 2023.
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