LG has been one of the first companies to adopt Chromecast, then Google Cast, in its speakers and soundbars with the LG Music Flow series, to let users stream music wirelessly and without the need for a separate Chromecast Audio dongle. Support for its line-up has been less than stellar though, with the speakers being seemingly abandoned without firmware updates, no sign of multi-room or grouping to make them compatible with other Chromecast devices and Google Home, and leaving users without any hope for the future (check these threads as two small examples of customer frustration). With that grim asterisk in mind, I can tell you about these new soundbars that LG is showing off at CES.
One is the SJ9, pictured above, the first Dolby Atmos soundbar for a cinema-like audio experience and 3D rendering of objects and sounds in space. This is accomplished thanks to multiple front-facing speakers and two up firing ones that try to envelop the room as much as possible with sound. The second is the SJ8, pictured below, which doesn't have Dolby Atmos but does come with a slim 38mm profile and a "TV Perfect Fit Kit" that lets you replace the TV stand from any LG 2017 model with the soundbar, for a more streamlined look.
Both soundbars have high-resolution audio, which LG is calling 4K audio (because 24bit x 96kHz x 2ch = 4,000kbps and that makes sense somehow...), high quality lossless audio files (no detailed specs yet), upsampling of low bitrate files to 24-bit/192kHz, 4K pass-through to get picture and sound from Ultra HD Blu-Ray players, and yes, Chromecast built-in. There are no specifics there, but given the release date, the "Chromecast" and not "Google Cast" name, it should have grouping and multi-room support to work with Google Home and other Chromecasts.
I am in the market for a soundbar and these both seem interesting, though the question over future support looms in the air. I'll either buy a regular soundbar from another maker and attach my Chromecast Audio to it right away, or get something like the LG SJ series or Sony's line-up (which have been very awesome with updates) and enjoy less cord clutter knowing fully well that I may need to plug a separate Chromecast Audio at one point or another when support wanes. Decisions...
- LG Newsroom