Samsung's HT-BD8200 soundbar does the standard virtual-5.1-channel sound jig just fine—the kicker is that it plays Blu-ray discs, streams Netflix/Padora, and has USB- in and an iPod dock, with optional wi-fi. That's a lotta sources.
The 2.1 setup doesn't say how many individual drivers create the simulated surround (Yamaha's sound bars use up to 42, which are calibrated automatically via a plug-in microphone), but it's rated at 300W. It'll also handle Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA decoding.
But the audio component is not what's exciting here. What perked up the most ears here at Samsung's press conference is the built-in inputs: a profile 2.0 Blu-ray player, a network connection for streaming Netflix and Pandora via subscription, USB for adding a storage device or an optional 802.11n wi-fi dongle, and an iPod dock.
In short, it's a pretty soundbar package (wall mountable) with everything you'd need for a pretty solid home theater; just add TV and a cable box. It's available in the "first half of 2009" at an as-yet unannounced price.
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