Samsung squeezes Dolby Atmos into slim CES soundbar

Samsung has baked Dolby Atmos into its latest soundbar, kicking off CES 2016 with a fresh batch of music and movie focused audio tech. The HW-K950 Soundbar is Samsung's first model to include the Dolby "overhead surround" system, not to mention the first soundbar on the market to include a set of Atmos-compatible wireless rear speakers.

If you've not yet experienced Atmos, it takes traditional surround sound and throws in support for noises from overhead. That can be as subtle as birdsong in the trees above the characters on-screen, or as dramatic as a helicopter roaring up from behind you and surging into the frame.

Usually, though, it demands a room full of speakers, but Samsung's newest soundbar promises to streamline things considerably. The HW-K950 itself is 2.1-inches high, and accommodates three forward-facing and two upwards-facing drivers; it pairs wirelessly with a subwoofer and the rear speakers, for full 5.1.4-channel audio.

Meanwhile, the Wireless Audio 360 Series speakers that Samsung outed back at IFA 2015 have also been given a revamp, with a selection of new colors and patterns for the R1, R3, and R5 cylinders.

There are new companion apps for the Gear S2 and Gear S smartwatches, along with a new Samsung Multiroom app for phones and tablets. Samsung has also extended smart home functionality into the mix, with audible notifications among other things piped through the speakers.

It's likely to be a smart home heavy show for Samsung, with the company integrating SmartThings functionality into its 2016 sets.