CES 2019 Preview: Samsung, Kanto, Klipsch & More

Companies across the AV landscape are gearing up for CES 2019, which opens Tuesday in Las Vegas. Here’s a quick peek at some of the announcements and demonstrations planned for big show, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018.

Samsung will showcase updated versions of its Frame and Serif lifestyle TVs featuring the company’s QLED picture technology and Bixby voice control. The heart of The Frame is an Art Mode that displays digital artwork when the TV is off and a “luminance sensor” that automatically adjusts colors of the displayed artwork to match the ambient brightness of the room. In addition to improved picture quality, The Serif includes an Ambient Mode that displays imagery or headlines and weather updates when the TV is turned off. Samsung says it will expand distribution of The Frame TV to include consumer electronics retailers in 2019.

Samsung also announced that the HDR10+ high-dynamic range platform and certification program it launched in June with Panasonic and 20th Century Fox is now supported by 45 companies. Like Dolby Vision, HDR10+ uses metadata to optimize brightness and contrast frame by frame. Content encoded in the format is available from 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service.

Klipsch will introduce a number of new products, including a line of in-ear headphones, wireless speakers, and soundbars. Slated to ship in the spring, the new T5 family of wired and wireless earbuds features the company’s patented oval ear tips for improved bass, noise isolation, and comfort at prices ranging from $59 to $199. The company will also demonstrate a new, less expensive version its WiSA-based wireless home theater speaker system along with a new voice-enabled version The Three wireless speaker and new portable models in its Heritage Wireless series; pricing for the new portables will start at $149 with delivery set for the spring and summer.

High-performance soundbars “designed with quality materials and horn-loaded technology to look and sound more like the brand’s premium Reference speakers than run-of-the-mill black plastic tubes” will be in the CES spotlight as well with 40- to 54-inch wide models featured at prices ranging from $299 to $1,599 with or without a subwoofer. Highlights include the Klipsch Bar 40G featuring Google Assistant voice control; the Bar 48W, which supports Google Assistant, Alexa, AirPlay 2, and DTS Virtual:X surround sound; and the Bar 54A, which uses Dolby Atmos surround processing and discrete elevation drivers to enhance envelopment by adding an overhead dimension to the sound. Except for a couple models that are available now, most models are slated to ship in the spring

Audio-Technica will unveil “an unprecedented number of new products,” including a new turntable line and a number of headphones, starting with the ATH-M50xBT over-ear model that brings Bluetooth wireless capability to the company’s acclaimed ATH-M50x headphones. Among the other introductions are three audiophile headphones, wireless earbuds, and QuietPoint wireless noise-cancelling headphones, including a new flagship model featuring improved digital hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC) technology. The company will also feature its VM95 line of affordable moving-magnet phono cartridges.

Kanto, maker of the Top Pick-designated SYD speaker, will unveil a powered speaker dubbed TUK it plans to ship in early 2019. Described as well suited for near-field listening, the $799 speaker supports high-quality aptX HD/Bluetooth wireless streaming and boasts a built-in phono preamp, headphone amp, and USB digital-to-analog converter (DAC) along with analog and digital audio inputs and a subwoofer output. The speaker mates a newly-designed Air Motion Transformer (AMT) tweeter with a concave-cone aluminum woofer and 2 x 65-watt amplifier. It includes a remote control and will be offered in matte white or black.

AudioControl will showcase its flagship Maestro M9 AV preamp/processor ($8,900) with the new five- and seven-channel Pantages ($2,500) and Savoy ($3,000) Class H power amplifiers in an upscale demonstration featuring video projection by Wolf Cinema and Seymour-Screen Excellence and speakers from Dynaudio. The M9 features Dolby Atmos and DTS:X surround processing, Dirac Live room correction and supports Dolby Vision high-dynamic range (HDR).