Thursday, August 13, 2015



   LG announced this week a new addition to its popular Music Flow line of wireless speakers and soundbars: a sleek, curved, wireless sound bar dubbed the Music Flow HS8. This isn’t, of course, the first time we’ve seen a curved sound bar. Samsung introduced its own Shape M3 around this time last year. But I’m not quite ready to call this a trend just yet. After all, most TV manufacturers haveabandoned the curve altogether due to customer preference and media backlash. And that’s totally fine. I recognize that I’m a small minority of those who dig curved screens, and I’m certainly not going to try to convince anyone who hates them that they’re wrong.
   If, like me, you dig the curve, though, Samsung and LG are still making plenty of concave TVs to fill that niche. And now both manufacturers are making a curved sound bars to match. LG’s new HS8 Wireless Curved Sound Bar in particular boasts 360 watts of total power, a 4.1-channel design, and 24bit/192KHz sampling. But perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that LG claims the curve is far more than a mere aesthetic affectation. You’ll notice in the image above that the edges of the sound bar—which, on a comparable flat sound bar would be pointing directly to the left and right—aim out into the room to a degree. The company has used that surface as a base for two tweeters that fire out into the room at quite a wide angle, which the company says has the effect of expanding the sweet spot and creating a much more immersive virtual surround sound experience.
   Another interesting feature of the LG HS8 is its i-Sound Mode. If you’ve ever used a sound bar before, you’re probably already familiar with the different sound modes that most of them sport: generally one for music, another for movies, and maybe one that enhances dialogue. It seems that i-Sound encompasses those different sound processing modes, but rather than making you select between them when you switch between different types of content, i-Sound analyses the audio and adapts to whatever it is you’re watching or listening to, instantaneously.

   And of course, since it’s part of LG’s Music Flow line, it features all of the accompanying enhancements you would expect, like WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, Google Cast capabilities, intuitive multi-room audio capabilities, the ability to link it with other players in the line, and even a Home Cinema mode that allows you to use other Music Flow speakers as surround sound speakers in a complete home theater setup.
   With full Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, the LG HS8 can be used to transmit audio content across multiple rooms simultaneously, linking with LG Music Flow speakers to create the perfect listening experience. When multiple speakers are positioned in the same room, the advanced Home Cinema Mode immerses the viewer in a rich, cinematic experience from the comforts of one’s couch. As such, Multi-room Mode can be programmed to turn the entire home into one large sound system. Users can control the music in each room with a single mobile device, enabling them to select a playlist for the entire house or choose different songs for each room. Another unique feature of the HS8 is its compatibility with TV remotes from eight popular manufacturers.   
   “As a company that brought to market stunningly looking curved TVs, it’s only natural that we also follow up with a curved audio product to match,” said Min Byung-hoon, senior vice president of the LG Home Entertainment Company’s Consumer Audio Visual division. “In the digital age, the way consumers listen to music has changed dramatically and LG Music Flow is our response to movie and music lovers’ desire for beautiful devices that perform as well as they look.”
   Unfortunately, there’s no word yet on when the Music Flow HS8 Wireless Curved Sound Bar might make it to North American stores, nor how much it will cost when it does so. But it will be available in European markets starting next week, and will be on display in LG’s booth at IFA in Berlin next month. More info on pricing and availability should be available once the HS8 pops up on LG’s Music Flow website.


later edit:
Key Specifications:
  • Connectivity:Auto Music Play: Syncs with user’s mobile devices via Wi-Fi to transfer music automatically to the Sound Bar
    Smartphone App Controller: Smart UX (Universal Search, Music Curation)
  • Google Cast: Easy access to internet streaming and radio applications including Google Play™ Music, Pandora, Songza, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and Rdio, among others (availability of services differ by country)
  • Network: Wi-Fi / Bluetooth 4.0
  • Mood Station: Multi-room Mode / Home Cinema Mode
  • HomeChat™ (Available in Australia, US, UK, Germany, New Zealand and Korea)
  • Sound: i-Sound / 4 Tweeters (2 Front, 1 Left, 1 Right) / LG Auto Sound Engine / SFX for Stereo Surround Sound / 24bit/192KHz Sampling / LG Sound Sync
  • Power: 4.1 Channel Speaker System / 360W
  • Dimensions (W/D/H): 1200mm x 43mm x 82mm
  • Wall mountable
  • Compatible with TV remotes