By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
In adding six new models to this year's eight-SKU line of A/V receivers, Denon is making its receivers more custom friendly, expanding its selection of models priced at a suggested $1,000 and up, expanding its selection of XM-ready models, and incorporating automatic room equalization in more models.
"We're offering more custom options at multiple price points," said marketing manager Jeff Talmadge. They include "exceptional control capabilities," ease of installation and use, and ease of integration with other custom brands, he said.
The company is also expanding its selection of universal SACD/DVD-Audio players and its selection of DVD players with HD up-scaling HDMI outputs.
In its receiver lineup, Denon is:
expanding its selection of receivers with automatic room equalization and auto setup to seven from two starting at $699;
expanding its selection of XM-ready A/V receivers to four from one. Models at a suggested $699, $1,299 and $1,999 join the $3,499 AVR-4806 model, introduced earlier this year;
beefed up its $1,000+ receiver lineup to four SKUs from three with the launch of the $1,999 AVR-4306 and $1,299 AVR-3806, joining the $3,499 4806 and $5,999 AVR-5805, which shipped late last year and remains the company's only receiver with HD up-scaling HDMI output. In 2004, the company had two $1,000+ receivers;
extended seven-channel amplification to all models, all of which also feature the ability to assign amps to deliver 5.1-channel surround sound to a home theater while simultaneously powering second-zone stereo speakers. Seven-channel amps that can be assigned start at a suggested $329.
The company also announced September availability of in-the-field upgrades to two current A/V receivers, the $5,999 AVR-5805 and $3,500 AVR-4806. The upgrades let the receivers stream music from a Windows XP PC, stream Internet radio stations directly from a broadband modem, and let custom installers diagnose the unit remotely over the Internet. The upgrades will be available as a download or on a CD-ROM. The upgrades would be transferred to the receivers via a laptop PC.
In DVD, Denon expanded its selection of universal players to four from three, with a new model at a suggested $369, reducing the opening-price point from $699. The $369 model features HD up-scaling HDMI output and no DVI output. The three current universal models feature upscaling DVI and HDMI outputs. All four models up-scale to user-selectable 480p, 720p and 1,080i resolutions. Last year, another DVD-Video player featured HD up-scaling DVI output at a suggested $279.
Here are the details on select products:
The company's first XM-ready receiver, the $3,499-suggested AVR-4806, began shipping earlier this year with analog-to-HDMI up-conversion and multizone capability with independent second-zone source and volume control;
the AVR-4306, at a suggested $1,999, is XM-ready and features HDMI up-conversion and automatic room equalization. It ships in October in silver and black;
the AVR-3806 adds multiple features over the model it will replace, including XM-ready capability, HDMI switching and automatic room EQ;
the AVR-2106, at a suggested $699 adds XM-ready capability and room EQ to its predecessor's feature list. It's due in August in black;
the AVR-1906 at $549, already available, adds auto setup and component-video up-conversion to its predecessor's feature list;
The AVR-1706 and AVR-1506 at $449 and $329, respectively, also get refreshed features.
For its S series of two-speaker virtual-surround systems with iPod docks, the company is looking to broaden distribution to sellers of flat-panel TVs, including such major chains as Best Buy, Fry's and others and to such upscale catalogs as Sharper Image. The company has a limited Sears presence.
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