Thomson's Acoustic Research (AR) brand will unveil at CEDIA Expo a line of HDMI switchers and repeaters, with HDMI cables that have been tested by Silicon Image's Simplay Labs to ensure proper performance and compatibility with other HDMI gear.
Acoustic Research is also introducing a line of paper-thin MicroFlat speaker wire, speaker selectors that support six and eight pairs of speakers, and a variety of in-wall A/V distribution products.
Thomson said the new HDMI cabling products are among the first to carry the Simplay HD logo, signifying that they have passed testing for compatibility with other Simplay-verified products and making sure the HDMI product works properly with the high-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) system used in virtually all new HDTVs.
A number of major consumer electronics manufacturers, including Thomson's accessories business, are participating in the Simplay HD Testing Program, which has been endorsed by major Hollywood movie studios.
The Acoustic Research HDMI switchers will be offered in two models: The two-way ARHD21 (suggested retail price $499) HDMI switcher, which offers two inputs, and the four-way ARHD41 (suggested retail price $599), which has four inputs.
Both models are HDCP-compliant and incorporate the latest HDMI chip set in addition to a built-in repeater that minimizes signal degradation with long cable runs. Other common features include isolated construction to reduce crosstalk, a low-profile 17-inch, rack-mountable chassis with an anodized aluminum face plate, 24K gold-plated connectors and a credit-card-size remote control.
Meanwhile, the company will also show HDMI signal repeaters which enable long HDMI cable runs without signal degradation. The AR488 ($199 suggested retail) was designed for easy installation, using only an input and an output connection. A red LED on the device indicates an improper connection, while a green LED signals a proper installation. The repeater features 24K gold-plated connectors and is compatible with 1,080p high-definition video signals. A DVI format repeater is also available.
AR's new Simplay-verified HDMI cables will also pass a 1,080p signal, and have been developed to eliminate cable cross talk issues.
Suggested retail pricing is as follows: The PR184BP (3 feet), $79; the PR185BP (6 feet), $99; the PR18BP (12 feet), $119; the PR187BP (25 feet), $169; the PR188BP (40 feet), $234. All are sold in heavy-duty poly-bags.
The company's new MicroFlat speaker wires were designed to simplify installation of multi-channel surround sound systems. The lines enable cable runs without having to snake wires through walls The paper-thin wire is easily hidden under wallpaper, carpeting, or molding and has an adhesive backing for quick installation. It can even be applied directly to a wall and painted over.
Thomson said its AR MicroFlat wire is able to carry more current than a larger gauge round cable because of its greater surface area and ability to cool more quickly.
Also offered are new model AR1106 ($279 suggested) and AR1108 ($329) speaker selectors designed to switch six and eight pairs of speakers, respectively. Both are rated to handle 300 watts of continuous power per channel.
Thomson is also introducing its first line of AR-branded in-wall distribution products, aimed at the custom installation market. Highlights include: simple wall-plates ($1.29 suggested retail price), RCA connectors offered in a variety of colors ($1.99 SRP), single and double IR (infrared) emitters that let you control hidden components ($9.99 and $14.99 SRP, respectively), and a repeater hub with four IR emitters ($59.99 SRP).
The line also includes impedance-matching rotary and sliding volume controls rated to handle up to 100 watts. The controls are available in white or ivory and carry a suggested retail price of $69.99 and $74.99, respectively.