At IFA 2018, Sharp announced two Dolby Atmos soundbars, with prices starting at 359 Euro. The company also teased a 22.2-channel soundbar with 8K video pass-through.
Sharp joins Atmos movement
Sharp, now owned primarily by Foxconn, is staging a comeback in the European audio market, the company said at IFA. Sharp will introduce a comprehensive range of audio products ranging from bluetooth speakers to Dolby Atmos soundbars.
- “Sharp, one of the world’s leading electronic companies, introduces a new range of cutting-edge products at IFA 2018 in Berlin and stages a comeback in the European audio market,” the company said.
Two Dolby Atmos soundbars were announced. The HT-SBW460 is a 3.1-channel soundbar that uses virtualization to imitate an Atmos experience. The more expensive HT-SBW800 is a 5.1.2-channel soundbar with both up-firing and side-firing speakers, and claims of 760W total output. Both come with a wireless subwoofers
Both models come equipped with two HDMI 2.0 inputs with ARC (Audio Return Channel) and 4K pass-through as well as built-in Bluetooth for wireless music streaming. DTS:X, the other object-based audio format, is not supported. Only Dolby’s formats, specifically Atmos, TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby Digital, will be supported, the company said.
We did not have a chance to listen to any of the new Atmos-capable soundbars from Sharp.
Sharp HT-SBW460 and HT-SBW800 will be available in Europe by late 2018 for 359 and 559 Euro, respectively.
22.2-channel “8K soundbar”
At IFA, the company was also showcasing a prototype 22.2-channel soundbar. It uses a combination of speaker units and virtualization to deliver audio in 22.2 channels.
There is a method to the madness, specifically that Japan’s NHK broadcaster recommends 22.2-channel audio to go along with 8K. NHK is currently preparing to broadcast the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 8K resolution, which it prefers to call ‘Super Hi-Vision’. Sharp said that the soundbar can pass-through 8K video.
Sharp referred to it as an “8K soundbar” but it is still prototype so the company declined to add much detail. A release date has not been set.