By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Denon focused on high-performance video, connectivity and custom installation in launching new receivers, DVD players and other products here during its dealer show.
In stressing the transformation of A/V receivers into home entertainment system hubs, Denon expanded the number of A/V and stereo receivers with iPod connectivity and control, XM-ready capability and high-definition up-scaling HDMI outputs. Denon also launched what it said are the world's first two A/V receivers that up-scale all analog/video sources to 1,080p through their HDMI outputs.
In DVD, Denon expanded the number of models with up-scaling HDMI outputs to five of six models. Five up-scale to 1,080i and four of those also up-scale to 1,080p. They're Denon's first DVD units capable of out-of-the-box 1,080p output. A previous model could be upgraded by consumers with a disc upload that turned on the player's 1,080p feature.
The high-definition up-scaling devices are targeted to consumers "who invested in large advanced TV displays and DVD libraries," said Denon president Stephen Baker. "And we're trying to ensure they get the best possible performance in the products' price ranges."
With the launch of four new A/V receivers in its 10-SKU series for custom installers and A/V specialists, Denon is expanding iPod connectivity and control and XM-ready capability to six of nine models priced down to a suggested $329. Denon is also incorporating both features for the first time into its derivative series of A/V receivers. All five models in the derivative line offer the two features at suggested retails of $299 to $1,099.
XM/iPod connectivity has also been extended for the first time to the brand's stereo receivers, which start at $299. All three specialty receivers and the single derivative receiver offer the features. Connectivity and control for iPod requires the purchase of a $120 docking/charging station.
All of the new specialty A/V receivers have 7.1-channel analog inputs for connectivity to new high-definition disc players. All feature HDMI 1.1 inputs and outputs capable of passing through 1,080p signals from an HD disc player, and the receivers decode 7.1-channel 96/24 PCM soundtracks transferred from HD discs via HDMI cables.
Specialty-series A/V receivers with HDMI inputs and outputs, but without HD up-scaling, now start at $799, down from $1,099. A continuing $1,999 model offers HDMI with 1,080i up-scaling. The models with 1,080p up-scaling are the $7,000 AVR-5805 Mark II and $4,000 AVR-4806CI. Information on the HDMI capabilities of the derivative A/V receivers was unavailable.
The $4,000 and $7,000 receivers also expand the number of A/V receivers that stream music from an Ethernet-connected PC to three SKUs. The PlaysForSure-certified models control a PC's Windows Media Player 10 application, which includes Internet radio, and display metadata on a connected TV.
XM-ready receivers with five-channel Neural surround decoding start at $329. XM broadcasts select channels in stereo-compatible Neural Surround.
DVD players that up-scale to 1,080i start at $169, and 1,080p output is available at $369, $849 and $1,499, in both the specialty and derivative series. The 1,080p models also play DVD-Audio and SACD discs. Up-scaling to 1,080i previously started at about $349 in Denon DVDs.
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