IFA 2014: Philips unveils its latest soundbars

Sometimes the best ideas are the simple ones, and having hit upon an excellently straightforward idea, Philips isn’t about to abandon it. So the firm's latest home cinema offerings, launched at IFA 2014 in Berlin, are much more about evolution than revolution.

Having scored a medium-sized hit with its soundbar-with-detachable-rear-speakers brainwave, Philips has evolved its thinking into the Fidelio B5 (pictured above). It’s a soundbar, sure, but if you so require the two end of the bar can be detached and deployed as wireless rear speakers. Custom spatial calibration makes positioning them a question of simply putting them down where you want them to go. AptX Bluetooth and NFC connectivity gives the best of wireless sound and connectivity, HDMI pass-through gives flexibility and Dolby Digital and Pro Logic II decoding gives state-of-the-art sound processing from the turn of the 21st century. €800 seems a lot, but then we won’t know for sure until we test it.

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By contrast, the HTL6145C soundbar/subwoofer combination seeks to make a virtue of its proportions. The soundbar is less than 3cm deep, yet features aptX Bluetooth and NFC functionality, outputs up to 320 watts and an HDMI Audio Return Channel to deal with all your TV’s audio. Its partnering subwoofer is wireless for maximum positional flexibility. The pair can be had for €450, or the subwoofer alone is yours for €150.

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Simon Lucas is a freelance technology journalist and consultant, with particular emphasis on the audio/video aspects of home entertainment. Before embracing the carefree life of the freelancer, he was editor of What Hi-Fi? – since then, he's written for titles such as GQ, Metro, The Guardian and Stuff, among many others.