By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS -DVD players will appear in more shelf systems and home-theater-in-a box packages this year as suppliers continue to tap into demand for simplified home theater solutions.
Multiple suppliers have acknowledged the success of a $699 Panasonic package consisting of a five-disc DVD-receiver and speakers and of a $599 Sony single-disc DVD-receiver with speakers.
"We had high expectations for ours, and it exceeded retailers' expectations," said Panasonic audio group VP/general manager Gene Kelsey. "Initially, they didn't expect it to do as well as it did."
The move to build DVD players into home theater solutions and shelf systems began building at the 1999 CES with products from Pioneer, RCA and Sharp. Panasonic followed with a DVD-equipped shelf system, and Nakamichi offered DVD-equipped high-end home theater systems.
At CES 2000, Aiwa and Proton added them to shelf systems, and Sony showed its DVD-receiver/speaker package.
Here's what you'll find this year at CES:
Aiwa: The company's selection of DVD shelf systems rises from two to three. One new model features a 5.8-inch LCD screen and TV tuner. Last year, Aiwa was one of two companies to introduce a DVD shelf system with LCD screen, but neither featured a TV tuner.
The XS-DV335 features three-disc DVD/
CD changer, DD and DTS decoding, five satellites and subwoofer, matching stands for the main speakers, and a motorized front panel at a suggested $820. It ships in July.
The second shelf system is more compact, featuring a top-load single-disc DVD/ CD player, low-profile main unit, DD and DTS, five satellites and a powered sub, also at a suggested $820. It's due in July.
In other introductions, the company will add DTS decoding to four shelf systems for the first time. They also offer Dolby Digital.
Fisher: The brand's first three DVD-equipped home theater solutions are a microsystem, a two-speaker electronics/speaker package, and a DVD-receiver packaged with five satellites and sub. All ship around May.
The $399-suggested microsystem features tuner, single-disc CD/DVD player, two speakers and virtual surround decoding developed by Sanyo.
The $399-suggested two-speaker package, the HTD-5201, incorporates virtual surround decoder and single-disc CD/DVD player in one speaker. The other speaker comes with powered sub.
The $449-suggested AVD-8501 DVD-receiver/speaker package offers Dolby Digital decoding, single-disc DVD mechanism, five satellites and passive sub.
All three play CD-R discs but not CD-RW discs.
JBL: The brand's first DVD-equipped solution comprises a DD/ DTS receiver, separate five-disc DVD changer, five satellites and 100-watt powered sub. It ships in January at a suggested $999.
Although the electronics aren't made by LG, which makes the electronics portion of JBL's SoundGear shelf systems, LG will make a second JBL-branded solution due in early spring but not planned for CES display. This unit, at a suggested $799, will feature a single-disc DVD-receiver and speakers.
JVC: The company is expanding its selection of DVD-equipped solutions with the two shelf systems and an electronics/speaker package.
JVC's first two DVD-equipped shelf systems ship in July or August. One is the $440-suggested MX-DVA5 with two three-way biamped speakers, Dolby Digital decoding and three-disc carousel changer. The step-up $650 MX-DVA9 has five biamped speakers, Dolby Digital and higher power.
The company's second DVD-equipped electronics/speaker package is the TH-A9, due in April at a suggested retail of about $1,000.
All electronics-including Dolby Digital and DTS decoding and AM/FM tuner-are in a console, and all amplification for the satellites and subwoofer are in the sub. Its bigger brother, the TH-A10 at a suggested $1,650, remains in the line.
GPX: The DV-7000 solution, available since October, features a DVD player with DD/DTS decoding and a powered subwoofer that powers the satellites at an everyday $399. It's the company's first DVD-equipped solution.
The DV-3000 in the package, and a separate DV-2000 already available at about an everyday $199, also play MP3 discs. Both have microphone inputs and karaoke controls.
Panasonic: Its latest solution consists of a five-disc DVD-receiver and five small speakers and powered subwoofer. Due in late March or early April, it will replace a similar system, but the new system's DVD-receiver will be smaller and slimmer. The tentative suggested retail is $699.
The receiver in both features Dolby Digital decoding.
In 2000, the company offered shelf systems equipped with five-disc DVD changers at a suggested $999 and $699.
To accommodate dealers who want to create their own solutions, Panasonic will bring back Panasonic-brand receivers, both in silver to match the cosmetics of select Panasonic DVD players and its Tau TV sets.
A Dolby Digital model will be priced at a tentative suggested $299, and the DD/DTS model with six-channel inputs will be around $349.
Philips: The company's first DVD-equipped receiver/speaker package will be unveiled as part of a home-theater-in-a-box expansion. The MX990D will feature a receiver, component DVD player with CD-R/RW playback, five two-way speakers and powered subwoofer. The system will be available in early Q1 along with two DD receiver/ speaker packages starting at an everyday $299. Last year, Philips unveiled its first DVD-equipped shelf system.
Samsung: To solicit dealer feedback, the company will privately show its first DVD-equipped home theater solution. Details were unavailable.
Teac: The company's first DVD-equipped shelf system, a mini, will come with five speakers, no subwoofer and Dolby Digital decoding. Details were unavailable.
Yamaha: The company's selection of DVD-equipped receiver/speaker packages will grow to two from one. A third new package lacks DVD player. Details were unavailable.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.