FYI - New 12004 Universal players coming

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by DavidK, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. DavidK

    DavidK Extra

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    All,
    Looks like some interesting new Universal players (changers, HTIB, HDMI, etc) coming in 2004 (not 12004 as listed in topic- fat fingered - sorry):

    By Joseph Palenchar
    TWICE
    1/26/2004


    "LAS VEGAS— The universe of all-in-one DVD players is expanding, but can consumers hear them in the electronics retail space?

    At CES, Samsung, Toshiba and Integra Research launched their first DVD players that play DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD and DVD-Video discs. Integra, Yamaha and Onkyo expanded their selection of universal models to two apiece.

    Universal players also appeared in more packaged home theater systems. Klipsch, for example, launched a system with speakers and universal player, and Sharp offered universal players in two home theater electronics packages, which exclude speakers.

    "We're moving strictly to universal," said Eric Harper, product manager for Onkyo USA's Integra and Integra Research brands. "Consumers shouldn't have to decide [between DVD-Audio and SACD]."

    Whatever the format, sales of DVD-Audio and SACD players have been hindered by a lack of demos at retail, suppliers said. Yamaha VP Steve Caldero attributes the situation to logistical issues and "a lack of interest in giving the audio experience." Salespeople, he explained, "are always talking about plasma and LCD."

    The logistical issue has to do with listening-room switching systems that don't accept the 5.1-channel analog outputs of DVD-Audio and SACD players. In those systems, he said, players must be hard-wired directly to a specific receiver for playback," and very few multichannel music players have been incorporated into retail switching systems in that manner. In some cases, however, demos occur in home theater vignettes, said Denon president Steve Baker.

    The prices of new universal players introduced here range from a suggested $249 to $4,000. New universal-equipped home theater systems start at an everyday $399.

    Suppliers hope consumers will get a chance to listen to the following new universal players displayed at CES by the following companies:

    Integra: The brand's new universal player, the DPS-10.5, is expected to ship in April at a tentative suggested retail of $2,500. It will join a $1,200-suggested universal player.

    The new step-up piece will feature HDMI video output and authorized FireWire output for DVD-Audio and SACD content. The HDMI output will scale DVD video to 720p or 1,080i. It also doubles as a video switcher by converting composite-, S- and component-video inputs to digital HDMI output, although it won't up-convert the analog inputs to 720p or 1,080i.

    It features 5.1 channel Dolby Digital and DTS decoders and 7.1-channel analog outputs to let consumers split a surround output to left/right surrounds and a pair of center-back surrounds.

    Integra Research: The brand's first universal player is the RDV-1.1, due in April at a suggested retail of $4,000. It shares all of the features listed above in the Integra-brand DPS-10.5 but adds such features as AES/EBU digital output, enabling the player to be used as a CD transport.

    Klipsch: The first HTiB system to be announced with pending THX certification is Klipsch's $4,000-suggested KES-6100, due in May with single-disc universal DVD player. It also features video transcoder to up-convert all analog video inputs to component output and down-convert a component output to S and composite.

    It also up-converts video to 1,080i and offers wideband high-definition (HD) video switching.

    The system's other features include second-zone output, THX Surround EX, DTS ES, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Neo:6, learning remote, and second-zone IR remote.

    Onkyo: The brand will expand its universal selection to two SKUs with the single-disc DV-SP1000 at a suggested $2,000. It offers HDMI outputs that up-convert DVD-Video to 720p or 1080i, but it lacks the analog video inputs of its Integra and Integra Research brothers.

    Another universal piece continues at a retail of under $1,000.

    Pioneer: As it did in 2003, Pioneer will offer three Pioneer-series HTiBs with universal DVD players.

    The HTZ-950 uses NXT flat-panel speaker technology for all full-range channels and incorporates DVD-Audio and SACD playback in its single-disc DVD-receiver. Details were unavailable.

    The $399-suggested HTD-540 features five-disc universal changer and separate receiver. The $399 HTD-645 comes with 2.4GHz wireless surround speakers, five-disc universal changer and separate receiver.

    Samsung: Its two universal models up-convert DVD video to 720p or 1,080i HDTV format signals. The DVD-HD841 ships in the third quarter at a $249.99 suggested retail. The step-up DVD-HD941 includes Faroudja's Directional Correlational De-interlacing (DCDi) technology and ships in the third quarter at a $349.99 suggested retail.

    In HTiBs, the company is offering DVD-Audio for the first time in five of seven new systems starting at $299 to for the HT-DS610 with five-disc DVD-receiver due in February. The systems weren't engineered in the same factory as the standalone universal players.

    Sharp: Three wall-hanging and pedestal-mount component home theater systems lack speakers but feature single-disc universal players.

    The $1,299 SD-HX600 consists of a wall- or stand-mountable DVD-tuner and companion 1-bit digital amplifier designed to blend in with a wall-hanging flat-panel display.

    A second system, the $999 SD-HX500, is also a two-piece wall- and stand-mountable model.

    A third Sharp system, the $499 SD-PX2, is vertically oriented like the others but is intended only for pedestal mounting with included pedestal. It's a one-piece 8-by-13.5-by-3.88-inch DVD-receiver.

    Toshiba: The company will no longer market DVD-Audio/Video players and will instead offer two universal SACD/DVD-A/V players, a single-disc model due in June at a suggested $199 and a five-disc model due in May at a suggested $249.

    Yamaha: The company's second universal player is also its most affordable, at a suggested $399. The DVD-S1500 ships in April to complement a $999-suggested model. At $399, consumers get Faroudja's DCDi video processing for progressive output, CD sampling to 176.4kHz, and MP3/WMA playback. The company's two-carousel SACD/DVD-Video changers continue in the line."
     
  2. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    FINALLY, SOMEONE ELSE NOTICES THIS!!!

    I don't want to pat myself on the back, but I've been saying this for almost three years! I'm not exactly sure if these suppliers were talking about hi-res surround or hi-res stereo, but either way, it's very true that practically no one that sells the players has them set up so you can hear them.

    I don't have much faith hi-res stereo will win over very many converts (the improvements are just too subtle) but I guarantee surround music--if demo'ed properly--would.

    For example, in the "old days" (1995 and older) most Best Buys had large speaker rooms with a dedicated HT system made up of products they sold. But in my city they either have diassembled them or don't have these nice big rooms at all anymore. Why? Do they think everybody (i.e. Regular Joes & Janes) knows what an HT system sounds like and will just blindly buy one on faith? I still run into people all the time that have NEVER heard one in person.....and simply hearing OF them doesn't count! Wow, surround music would have sounded awesome in those big carpeted/acoustic ceiling-ed rooms........

    If retailers still had long-range planning abilities, they would probably find out that showing off surround music would result in more purchases of not just the players themselves, but more speakers, subwoofers, receivers, cables and hi-res software.

    If you want to experience surround music & live in the Houston area, the Circuit City on Hwy. 6 & Richmond (next to West Oaks Mall) has a fully-functioning surround music system that sounds pretty dang good (as of 01-27-04 anyway. And no, I do not work there). Specs: Harmon/Kardon 630 receiver, Pioneer DV-563 universal player (b.m. not activated), Polk Audio RTi series speakers, Velodyne 12" sub, a Sirius satellite receiver & a Sony widescreen CRT TV. Rear channels are a little too close but otherwise everything else is properly positioned. You'll have to bring your own demo software. And don't use the H/K's "DVD-AUDIO 6CH" mode--its b.m. system hasn't been properly adjusted & who knows who has been playing with it in the meantime. So I would stick to the "6CH DIRECT" mode myself.

    LJ
     
  3. Robert Cowan

    Robert Cowan Supporting Actor

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    uh, being a salesman, i know that its not US, its the consumers. i TRY to do demos, but no one cares about audio anymore. its all video video video.
     
  4. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Robert, I know what you mean. In ANY audio/video store I go to on a regular basis (BB, CC, Tweeter) I see practically no one in the audio departments. I am usually the only one in there & on average--even on a Saturday--only one or two people will casually join me for a couple minutes then leave. It is really, really depressing.

    I am going to sound really snooty here, but are the majority of people nowadays not able to use their own imaginations anymore and have to have others provide the visuals for them, i.e. music is just too "difficult" to enjoy? Since TVs have built-in speakers there is a source for the sound, however lousy it is, to accompany the bright & shiny pictures so investing in a real audio system isn't a priority for these people (and I'll bet lots of them are stressing out their credit cards to buy those kewl thin TVs). Are people slowly turning into passive entertainment sponges, while getting fat from stuffing their faces with Cheetos as they watch with slack jaws another reality show about other people doing interesting things?

    Maybe I read too many sci-fi stories when I was a kid but these kinds of cultural developments scare the hell out of me.

    LJ
     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I have a buddy. We used to go see a lot of bands live. We are older now. I still try to listen to as much music as I can, but honestly, with the internet, it is less than I want to. (I am listening to Free Live right now, but it's not as focused listening as *not* being on the computer. [​IMG] ) But my buddy? Video game junky. [​IMG]

    Dang, I have started seeing rumblings of a Denon 3900. Not mentioned up above though...
     
  6. FeisalK

    FeisalK Screenwriter

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    out here I can say that probably no retailers are selling surround systems with audio in mind. i mean, the systems are there but they are part of the HT thing and people who go to these retailers expect to see a demo of a TV.

    move on to higer end systems for the audiophile and you get mired in the stereo purist crowd(!), so these audio specialist shops won't have a surround setup. and even if they do at all it's for home theater anyways.

    another thing is that even (the few) music stores which sell SACD/DVDA don't have a surround setup either
     

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