LG is set to make soundbars significantly smarter with a new high-end product range scheduled to be showcased at the next iteration of Consumer Electronics Show next month. The product family consists of three models — SL8YG, SL9YG, and SL10YG — and has been created in collaboration with Meridian Audio, an established British pioneer of ultra-premium audio technologies. The South Korean electronics juggernaut is describing the upcoming soundbars as a product intended for home entertainment aficionados and tech enthusiasts, so while no pricing details have yet been unveiled, it’s likely the new SL range will be anything but affordable.
Meridian’s Bass & Space audio solution will be part of the new soundbar package, as will the company’s Image Elevation tech, all of which will work in conjunction in order to make one’s overall listening experience more immersive. As LG and Meridian put it, the soundbar range isn’t just meant to deliver better audio but work toward ennobling your home entertainment setup as a whole.
Google Assistant is hence an important part of LG’s latest product equation, with native support for the artificial intelligence companion being advertised as one of the key selling points of the new product range. While the soundbars can essentially act as more powerful Google Home units and be used as one’s smart home hub, the immediate benefit of having a voice assistant integrated into such a piece of hardware is convenience. Simply saying something along the lines of “Hey Google, turn the volume up” or “Hey Google, what song is playing right now” will yield expected results, as is expected of a gadget meant to be in the center of one’s intelligent household.
The addition of Google Assistant to LG’s latest soundbars is unsurprising seeing how the South Korean technology giant has been embracing the said digital companion for the better part of this year, going as far as to include a dedicated Google Assistant button to some of its Android flagships such as the G7 ThinQ. What’s more unexpected is the fact that the company made zero mentions of its new AI brand in the context of its latest soundbars, though it may still opt to rebrand them and launch them as part of the ThinQ product family by the time CES kicks off next month. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are both supported by LG’s new soundbars which can also upscale standard audio file formats and improve their overall quality thanks to their advanced processing algorithms. How that feature will work in practice remains to be seen but those interested in the very best home entertainment experience the consumer electronics industry has to offer will also be able to pair the soundbars with the Wireless Rear Speaker Kit (SPK 8) sold separately.
In pursuit of the contemporary
In terms of design, LG clearly aimed for a modern aesthetic that’s relatively minimal and can blend into any living room. The new soundbars are also rather thin and can be wall-mounted if necessary. The SL9 is even equipped with a gyroscope that allows it to determine its overall position in relation to the TV and automatically optimize its output for an optimal viewing and listening experience, which is about as high-end as it gets in the consumer-grade audio equipment segment.
In overall, LG’s latest soundbar range is a natural extension of the company’s ambitions in the consumer electronics segment and yet another indicator that the firm’s aggressive push into household IoT is continuing. Moving forward, LG will continue trying to turn its flagship products into the center of future smart homes and now appears to be making an all-in bet on Google Assistant after a short phase of experimenting with Amazon’s Alexa. As far as other connected gadgets and appliances are concerned, it’s likely that the tech juggernaut will be debuting more Google Assistant-products in the coming months, though not many of them may be unveiled at CES seeing how the company has been gradually lowering its focus on the Las Vegas, Nevada-based trade show. The new soundbar range should become available for purchase on a global level by spring, with its pricing details being expected to be announced after CES, as indicated by LG‘s established product practices in the audio segment.
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