Sony is introducing a wireless compact TV speaker that can automatically adjust the volume according to ambient noise levels.
The SRS-LSR100 is a portable unit housing dual 2-watt speakers. It can be used to project a TV's sound to a kitchen or other areas at a distance from the screen, or simply bring the sound closer to a viewer watching in a noisy room.
It also serves as a TV remote control that works with set-top boxes. On its top panel are an oversized number pad and volume dial, as well as other controls, for ease of use by seniors. It also has a carrying handle.
In automatic volume mode, a microphone by the speaker can monitor ambient sound. Algorithms developed by Sony analyze the sound so the unit automatically adjusts sound volume and quality. The company said the SRS-LSR100 is the first wireless TV speaker of its kind with this function.
A "voice zoom" feature can boost the sound of voices on TV amid noise, such as commentators at a sports event.
The SRS-LSR100 consists of a recharger cradle and the speaker itself. A three-hour charge will power the speaker unit for up to 16 hours.
The cradle plugs into the TV and transmits sound to the speaker unit via 2.4 GHz radio waves. The remote-control function operates by infrared, with a line-of-sight range of 30 meters.
The SRS-LSR100 goes on sale in Japan in September for ¥19,880 (US$166). Sony hasn't decided whether it will be released overseas as well, a spokesman said.
While the SRS-LSR100 doesn't use Bluetooth, Sony has a number of wireless speakers that do, some of which are cubic or spherical in shape. Earlier this year, the company introduced a 2-watt Bluetooth speaker housed inside an LED lightbulb that fits into standard sockets, enabling lamps to "play" music.