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Soundbars, Music Flow multiroom wireless speakers and Netflix-enabled Blu-ray players will be the focus of LG’s audio visual strategy for 2015. The Korean company today launched its AV range alongside its new TVs at the Sydney Cricket Ground, highlighting sound quality, ease of use and the ability for customers to choose one brand across for all their home entertainment needs.
“TV sound is making a comeback,” said LG category manager for AV Bruce Leigh. “All those years squeezing tiny speakers into super slim bezels has had an impact on sound quality. However, when you ready to dial up the power for that immersive audio experience, watching your favourite movie, big sporting event on streaming music, that’s when LG technology such as soundbars really come into their own.
“Our 2015 AV range is also smarter than ever, reflecting the consumer trend to stream even more content, instead of using traditional playback such as DVD or Blu-ray. This AV range is really moving with the times and the trends.
Leigh went on to say that there has been a significant shift in this segment, from an even split between audio devices and visual products like Blu-ray and DVD, to audio devices making up threequarters of the market.
“There have been big changes over the last few years,” he said. “We’ve seen declines in our traditional strongholds of home theatres, Blu-ray and DVD, but that has been offset by huge growth in audio segments, such as soundbars.
“We expect this market to grow by 30 per cent this year and LG has a very strong #2 marketshare, driven by TV add-on sales, great design and competitive pricing.”
LG’s new Music Flow Soundbars are the LAS950M (RRP $1,299) and the LAS750M (RRP $899). These two soundbars are part of LG’s wireless multiroom system, which allows users to playback music from their MP3 catalogue, smartphones and tablets and music streaming service — Spotify, for example — through their soundbar, as well as whatever they are playing on their television. LG also has non-Music Flow soundbars: the LAS550H (RRP $549), the LAS450H (RRP $399) and the LAS350B (RRP $249). All of these soundbars will be available on 20 April 2015, save the LAS350B, which is being released on 15 June 2015.
In addition to the new Music Flow soundbars, LG has a new speaker for its multiroom system, the H4 (RRP $279). Not only can this table speaker connect to the wider Wi-Fi system, it also has Bluetooth on board so that can it can be used outside the home, on a picnic or in a hotel room. This speaker is the seventh to be released for the Music Flow system, which is becoming more and more of a threat to Sonos’ domination of the market. From commanding around 85 per cent of the wireless audio category, Sonos’ strangehold has slipped as LG, along with Samsung, Bose and various other brands join the fray. Bruce Leigh tells me it’s not about stealing share as much as it is growing the overall pie.
“Wireless multiroom audio is a huge growth engine in the market, which is dominated at the moment by Sonos. As more and more competitors enter the market and get that competition going and spreading the message to consumers, we expect to see growth of 145 per cent in 2015.
“LG launched Music Flow last October and we’ve got some great new features and product to help us stand out from the crowd this year.”
Although the focus has moved away from Blu-ray players over the past few years, LG sees life yet in its new Netflix equipped players, which provide a easy and convenient way for users to access Smart TV functionality with the investment in a new panel. The BP550 (RRP $209) and the BP450 (RRP $159) will be coming to market on 20 April 2015.
LG will also be marketing mini and micro systems, Blu-ray recorders and two new home theatres in 2015.
Retailers on board for LG’s AV range include JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, Betta Home Living, Harvey Norman, Dick Smith, Radio Rentals, Bing Lee and Big W.