Despite Philips admitting that the growth of 2.1 soundbars is happening at the expense of larger 5.1 set ups, the company was very proud to launch the 16-speaker 360Sound home cinema apparatus in Barcelona.
Each of the satellite units contains three speakers facing in different directions, which creates what Philips refers to as a tri-pole effect. The two sideways facing units leave a notch of sound in the middle which is supposed to draw the waves into a more three dimensional acoustic map, bolstered both by hitting off the walls and the third, directed speaker. The idea is to mimic the effect of a 7.1 system.
However it works, it certainly sounds good. It's designed for standard size and shape living rooms and offers Blu-ray playback as well as media streaming too.
For something more simple, there's also the 2.1 Philips SoundBar with Ambisound which apes the effect of a 5.1 set up. It's a good looking device designed to sit beneath a wall mounted TV and even features an angled disc loader so that you can get it as close to the bottom of your set as you like.
It's the fourth generation of soundbar from the company which claims to have invented the paradigm, and this model sees a slimming down from 16cm to 8cm. No prices as yet or dates but, if the other products from the Winter Event 2010 are anything to go by, then expect early summer/late spring availability.