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Philips appeals to Apple-haters with 'Android SoundBar'

Philips has announced the CSS5123 SoundBar, which it describes as the 'first Android streaming Home Theater experience.' Only it doesn't run on Android.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury

LAS VEGAS--If you consider yourself a "Fandroid," you might like to know that Philips has announced the CSS5123 SoundBar: the "first Android streaming Home Theater experience."

The $349.99 SoundBar is designed to sit at the center of a home-streaming setup controlled with a dedicated Android app, SimplyShare, which Philips is pitching as an alternative to AirPlay. It's worth clarifying that the SoundBar itself doesn't run on Android.

SimplyShare is based on DLNA and is compatible with other DLNA devices including Windows PCs, network servers, and dare we say it, (probably) DLNA apps on iOS. Unlike some other networkable devices, the CSS5123 lacks Web streaming apps like Netflix, though.

The 30W x 2 SoundBar features upward-pointing speakers, and comes in a brushed-aluminum finish and includes a 90W subwoofer.

The SimplyShare app lets you drag content from one device to the SoundBar. Philips

To choose content, including formats such as AAC, FLAC, MP3, PCM, MP4, MKV and DiVx, you "draw a line" from the server to the SoundBar via the main screen of the app.

The SoundBar has HDMI but it's an output only. It does feature ARC (Audio Return Channel) so it can play back ATSC tuner sound. If you want to hook up a Blu-ray player, you'll need to use the digital coaxial or digital optical in.

Wireless connectivity is included, but the Philips also includes Ethernet and a USB for plugging portable drives in.

While Philips recommends the use of the app, you can also use the included remote control. You can start queuing up outside your favorite electronics retailer this April.