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Onkyo Ships THX-Certified HTiB

6/20/2006 10:34:00 AM Eastern

San Rafael, Calif. — The first home theater in a box (HTiB) system certified by THX shipped under the Onkyo name more than two years after Klipsch showed the industry’s first HTiB system with pending THX approval.

Onkyo’s HT-S990THX is now available at a suggested $1,099. The system meets the performance levels set by THX’s HTiB standard, which extends THX certification from audio components to prepackaged home theater systems. Klipsch never shipped its $4,000 system.

The new THX certification criteria, called the THX Certified Integrated Home Theater Systems spec, is geared to small home theater environments and launches “a new category of home theater systems, one that bridges the gap between lower-priced HTiB products and premium home theater systems,” said THX sales VP Robert Hewitt.

The Integrated spec differs from the Ultra2 and Select2 specs for audio components only in the sound-pressure levels they produce, said consumer technology director Warren Mansfield. “Ultra2 is designed for home theaters of 3,000 cubic-feet andSelect2 for slightly smaller rooms of 2000 cubic feet,” he said. The new Integrated spec is for “small living areas, apartments, studios, dorms, etc.,” he continued. “However, the features and requirements remain the same.”

Those requirements noise, cross talk and distortion, Boundary Gain Control (BGC) to help adjust bass response in smaller rooms, and all THX listening modes—THX Cinema2 Mode, THX Music Mode and THX Games Mode.

Onkyo’s system consists of an XM-ready 7.1-channel A/V receiver and complete 7.1-channel speaker package. The receiver is compatible with the company’s DS-A1 iPod dock, enabling the receiver’s remote to control a docked iPod and display the iPod’s menu on the receiver’s front panel or on a connected TV.

The receiver also features 32-bit DSP for decoding Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES and DTS 96/24. It also features Dolby Digital ProLogic IIx, DTS Neo:6, THX Cinema2, THX Music and THX Games, which enables it to derive surround sound from any two- or five-channel audio source. All audio channels feature 192kHz/24-bit digital to analog and Onkyo’s exclusive Wide Range Amplifier Technology for extended frequency response. Connectivity options include HD-capable component video switching for up to three high-definition A/V source components.

The HT-S990THX includes integrated Neural Surround processing to make it compatible with discrete 5.1-channel audio delivered by select XM channels and by a handful of analog FM stations.

The speaker package features seven two-way speakers that are tonally matched to each other. The front and center channel speakers each include a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter and dual 5-inch woofers, while the side- and rear-surround speakers feature a single 5-1/8-inch woofers and the same tweeter found in the front channels. A 12-inch subwoofer with integrated 230-watt amp is included.