What Suppliers Say About Their Products’ 3D Repeater Capabilities

By Joseph Palenchar On May 3 2010 - 4:01am




NEW YORK — Here’s what individual suppliers are saying about their plans to support all of the 3D video formats specified in the HDMI 1.4a specification:

Denon: The company just announced a lineup of new A/V receivers (AVRs), all with HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs.

Onkyo: Recently announced AVRs and home-theater AVR/speaker packages feature HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs.

Panasonic: Two recently announced active sound bars and the SC-ZT2 two-speaker Wireless Home Theater System feature 1.4 inputs and outputs that the company’s engineering department believe “are already compatible with the HDMI 1.4a format because they will all pass 1080p/24 fps (3D),” said product manager Troy Livingston.

Both surround bars feature built-in decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, Dolby Virtual Speaker technology, single HDMI 1.4 input, and single HDMI 1.4 output with audio return channel (ARC) capability. One surround bar, the SC-HTB10, is scheduled to ship in June at a tentative suggested retail of anywhere from $199 to $249. The step-up SC-HTB500 is due in the fall at a price not yet disclosed.

The SC-ZT2, at a tentative suggested $999, features two HDMI 1.4 inputs. It consists of a preamp/decoder control unit with virtual surround processing, two wireless floorstanding speakers with built-in amps, and subwoofers mounted in the speakers’ pedestals.

Pioneer: Five recently unveiled AVRs priced from $229 to $749 feature HDMI 1.4 inputs, and the company confirmed they will pass through the 3D broadcast formats specified in the 1.4a spec without a firmware upgrade.

Samsung: The company’s first three AVRs, fi rst two home-theater AVR/speaker packages, and first home theater in a box (HTiB) system with integrated 3D Bluray player feature HDMI 1.4 inputs and outputs. The company confi rmed the units will repeat the 3D broadcast formats.

The AVRs are priced at an everyday $299 to $499. The HTiB is the $899 7.1-channel HT-C6930W with integrated 3D Blu-ray player and two HDMI 1.4 inputs.

Sherwood: Two AVRs unveiled earlier this year and possibly due in the late third quarter feature 1.4 ins/outs compatible with all 3D formats outlined in the 1.4a spec, said Jeff Hipps, marketing and product development senior VP. The company also plans 1.4a firmware upgrades to most if its AVRs equipped with HDMI 1.3, he said.

“Per our factory, all HDMI 1.3 units are electrically compatible with HDMI 1.4a, and most of them can be updated to 1.4a via new firmware,” he said. “Of the upgradeable HDMI 1.3 receivers, there are actually two classes: those that the consumer/end user can update and those that can only we can update here in California.”

Sony: Two active sound bars and a home-theater AVR/speaker package announced this month feature 1.4 inputs that repeat all of the 3D formats outlined in the 1.4a spec. They join a previously announced AVR and a previously announced Blu-ray-equipped HTiB whose 1.4 inputs also repeat all 3D broadcast formats.

The previously announced AVR is the 7.1-channel STR-DN1010, shipping in June at an everyday retail of about $500. The Blu-ray HTiB is the BDV-HZ970W, due in the summer at a price that hasn’t been revealed.

The new sound bars are the 400-watt HT-CT350, expected to retail for about $400, and the 340-watt HTCT150, expected to retail for about $300. Both are due in May with proprietary virtual surround processing, three HDMI 1.4 inputs, one HDMI 1.4 output, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding, seven-channel PCM playback, HDMI 1.4’s audio return channel (ARC) function, and passthrough of audio and video from HDMI-connected devices to a TV when the sound bars are off but in standby mode.

The new AVR/speaker package is the 5.1-channel HTSF470, due in June at about $550. The system features three HDMI 1.4 inputs and one HDMI 1.4 output with ARC. It also features A/V passthrough in standby mode.

Yamaha: The company announced its first five hometheater receiver/speaker packages and first three AVRs with HDMI 1.4 inputs and outputs, but the products need a firmware upgrade to support 3D video, the company said. The upgrade will enable all of the products, even the opening-priced $249-suggested receiver and $399 receiver/speaker package, to pass through all 3D content specified in the 1.4a spec. To accomplish that, the firmware upgrade will be downloaded to a PC and burned to a CD. The CD must then be played back through a CD or DVD player connected to the S/PDIF digital input of the Yamaha products.

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