We've been harking on about Dolby Atmos and extra height channels in a surround sound setup for a while now, but you've really only been able to replicate the more immersive experience at home for yourself if you had a supported AV receiver. Samsung's latest soundbar could change that however, as it has extra Dolby Atmos speakers contained within.
To be honest, the Samsung HW-K950 is more than just a soundbar, and we're not talking about the two upwards-firing drivers inside. It comes with a wireless subwoofer and two wireless rear channels too, also containing upwards-firing speakers.
This provides a 5.1.4 setup, all without wires and driven by the soundbar itself.
The result is excellent - at least from our CES demo which was in a specially contained room on the Samsung stand. Dolby Atmos encases you in sound, with audio fills coming from above as well as around the sides and rear. The upwards firing speakers bounce off the ceiling to the listening position, giving height to the soundtrack.
Samsung's decision to add Dolby Atmos to a more mass market product will also hopefully prompt studios to release more Blu-rays with the sound encoding. There are plenty of cinemas around these days that support it, but we've not seen many of the films mixed in Dolby Atmos get the full soundtrack treatment for consumer release. Some episodes of Game of Thrones are available, and a few movies, but we need more.
Release date and pricing is yet to be revealed, but the HW-K950 could be the catalyst for giving us more immersive Blu-ray experiences.