The Philips Fidelio B97 is a premium Dolby Atmos soundbar with detachable surrounds

The Philips Fidelio B97 is a premium Dolby Atmos soundbar with detachable surrounds
(Image credit: TP Vision)

The Philips Fidelio B97 is the latest in a new wave of products designed to deliver true home cinema surround sound from a soundbar-shaped package. Like the recently reviewed JBL Bar 9.1, it features detachable, battery powered speakers that can act as dedicated surround speakers to add an extra dimension to movie night, as well as dedicated upward-firing drivers for genuine Dolby Atmos sound.

Despite the slim chassis (which should ensure it doesn't encroach upon the picture of a TV it's placed in front of), the B97 boasts no less than 17 drivers and a total power output of 740W, 240W of which comes from the bundled wireless subwoofer.

The 7.1.2 driver configuration can recreate both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtracks, and there's also support for the new IMAX Enhanced format. HDMI 2.1 is also supported (slightly surprising, given that Philips has so far deemed it unnecessary to add HDMI 2.1 to any of its TVs), with eARC ensuring that high bandwidth Dolby Atmos signals can be sent to it by a compatible TV.

Audio can also be sent to the bar via Bluetooth and AirPlay, and the B97 can even be integrated into a multi-room system, thanks to support for DTS Play-Fi. Voice control is offered, too, in the form of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

The Philips Fidelio B97 will set you back £1000 (around AU$1900) when it launches in November. If you like the idea of what the B97 does but know deep down that you won't actually use the detachable surrounds, you can instead opt for the B95, which comes in at £800 (around AU$1400).


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Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons has been writing about TV, AV and hi-fi products (not to mention plenty of other 'gadgets' and even cars) for over 15 years. He began his career as What Hi-Fi?'s Staff Writer and is now the TV and AV Editor. In between, he worked as Reviews Editor and then Deputy Editor at Stuff, and over the years has had his work featured in publications such as T3, The Telegraph and Louder. He's also appeared on BBC News, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and Sky Swipe. In his spare time Tom is a runner and gamer.