Philips appeals to Apple-haters with Android SoundBar

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Ty is a journalist with 15 years experience in writing for IT and entertainment publications. He is in charge of the home theatre category for CNET Australia and is also a PC enthusiast. He likes indie music and plays several instruments. Twitter: @tpendlebury

If you consider yourself a "Fandroid", you might like to know that Philips has announced the CSS5123 SoundBar: the "first Android-streaming home-theatre experience".

(Credit: Philips)

The US$349.99 SoundBar is designed to sit at the centre of a home-streaming set-up controlled with a dedicated Android app, SimplyShare, which Philips is pitching as an alternative to AirPlay. It's worth clarifying that the SoundBar itself doesn't run on Android.

SimplyShare is based on DLNA, and is compatible with other DLNA devices, including Windows PCs, network servers and, dare we say it, (probably) DLNA apps on iOS. Unlike some other networkable devices, the CSS5123 lacks web-streaming apps like Netflix, though.

The 30W x 2 SoundBar features upward-pointing speakers, and comes in a brushed-aluminium finish and includes a 90W subwoofer.

The SimplyShare app lets you drag content from one device to the SoundBar.
(Credit: Philips)

To choose content, including formats such as AAC, FLAC, MP3, PCM, MP4, MKV and DivX, you "draw a line" from the server to the SoundBar via the main screen of the app.

The SoundBar has HDMI, but it's an output only. It does feature ARC (Audio Return Channel), so it can play back ATSC tuner sound. If you want to hook up a Blu-ray player, you'll need to use the digital coaxial or digital optical in.

Wireless connectivity is included, but the Philips also includes Ethernet and a USB for plugging portable drives in.

While Philips recommends the use of the app, you can also use the included remote control. It's expected in the US in April, with an Australian date yet to announced.


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