New Docks That Don't Block Video Shown At International CES

By Joseph Palenchar On Jan 21 2008 - 8:00am




Companies such as iLive, JVC, Wadia and Spectra under the licensed Jensen brand went to International CES with some of the first iPod docks and speaker systems with an embedded authentication chip.

For its part, Altec Lansing said all new Altec models at the show have an authentication chip, including the $199-suggested T612 for iPhone with class 5 chip, enabling it to use the "works with iPhone" moniker. It became the first works-with-iPhone system available to consumer when it appeared earlier this month in Apple stores and Altec's online store, the company said. (See glossary, right.)

iLive's products include three iPod-docking speaker bars intended for use with flat-panel TVs and ranging in price from a suggested $99 to $399. They're due as early as January and February, depending on model. The $99 model features 2.1-channel speaker system with AM/FM radio. The $399 model is a 5.1-channnel model incorporating SRS TruSurround HD4 virtual-surround technology, slot-load 1080i-up-scaling DVD player and HDMI 1.3 output.

Wadia's dock, called the iTransport, lacks speakers but connects an iPod to TVs and stereo systems, features S/PDIF digital audio output, and comes with composite, S- and component-video outputs. The device features cast-aluminum chassis and ships in late February or early March at an expected suggested retail of $349.

Spectra will offer at least one product with an authentication chip. It's the Jensen-brand $199-suggested JiMS-525, a one-piece iPod-docking iTunes-tagging tabletop HD Radio with S-Video output. It features the class 5 "made-for-iPhone" chip and is targeted for second-quarter availability.

For its part, JVC launched its first two dedicated iPod speaker systems, three new iPod-docking HTiBs, two new docking minisystems, one docking microsystem and industry's first iPod-docking HDTVs. Only the TVs, two iPod speaker systems, and one HTiB, however, feature an authentication chip that enables new iPods to pass through their video.

The two speaker systems are also designated as works-with-iPhone, meaning that they mute the music when a call comes in and are shielded to prevent interference from cellular circuitry, a JVC engineer said. JVC's HTiB and TVs are designated as neither iPhone-compatible nor works-with-iPhone.

One of the new iPod speaker systems, the NX-PN7 at an expected everyday retail of about $150, holds and charges two iPods simultaneously. It's due in May with AM/FM tuner, clock/timer and remote.

JVC's other iPod speaker system, the clock-radio-size RA-P30 (black) and RA-P31 (white), will retail for about $100 when it ships in May with FM tuner, dual alarms, aux input and remote. They can be AC- or battery-powered via six AA batteries.

JVC's four LCD HDTVs, dubbed TeleDock TVs, roll out starting in March, with all available in the summer. Pricing wasn't announced.

The iPod-docking HTiB with video passthrough is the $500 TH-F3 virtual-surround system. The F3 consists of an aluminum tabletop control unit incorporating AM/FM, DVD player, JVC's proprietary Front Surround processing, and four-channel amp driving a pair of small cylindrical speakers.

For its part, Denon offers a downloadable firmware upgrade for its two networked iPod docks, enabling them to pass through video from the new Nano and iPod Classics but not from the Touch or future iPhones. Both docks incorporate an Apple authentication chip, and the company was able to get approval to offer firmware downloads for the Nano and Classics, said product development director Jeff Talmadge. Apple has declined to release the code for the Touch, he noted.

Denon's current stand-alone docks for use with it's a/V receivers lack authentication chips and can't pass through video from the latest iPod generation, he added.

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