Chalk up another soundbar with eARC support, with Klipsch unveiling a new high-end, eARC-enabled model at CES that also boasts object-based Dolby Atmos and DTS:Virtual X support.
Slated to arrive this fall, the Klipsch Bar 54 with Dolby Atmos is a 5.1.4-channel soundbar with 1,000 watts of system power, dedicated up-firing drivers for Dolby Atmos height cues, a wireless 12-inch subwoofer, and support for HDMI 2.1, which features eARC functionality.
What’s eARC? It’s the “enhanced” version of ARC (Audio Return Channel), which lets you connect video sources directly to your TV’s HDMI ports and then send the sound back to your soundbar via HDMI. While the older version of ARC only supported “lossy” audio formats up to Dolby Digital Plus, eARC has enough bandwidth for lossless formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Both your TV and your soundbar must support eARC to manage the lossless audio trick.
The Bar 54 is set for release this fall for $1,500.
Also making its debut is the smaller Klipsch Bar 48 with Dolby Atmos, a 3.1-channel soundbar with a 10-inch wireless subwoofer and both Atmos and DTS Virtual:X support.
The new Bar 48 model lacks upfiring drivers, but a Klipsch rep confirmed that the soundbar employs Dolby Atmos height virtualization for delivering its Atmos height cues.
As with the Bar 54, the new Bar 48 supports eARC, and you can also add Klipsch’s Surround 3 speakers for 5.1-channel audio.
Look for the Bar 48 to arrive in the fall for $700.
Klipsch’s third soundbar announcement for CES is the Bar 44, a 44-inch 3.1-channel soundbar with an eight-inch subwoofer, Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus (but no object-based Atmos or DTS Virtual:X) sound processing, and support for the legacy ARC (not eARC) standard.
Capable of being paired with a Klipsch Surround 3 speaker set for 5.1 sound, the $500 Bar 44 is on tap for summer 2020.
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.