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Video Calibration Comes To Integra AVRs, Pre-Pro

8/21/2008 09:26:00 AM Eastern

Upper Saddle River, N.J. — Integra is taking video-display calibration technology out of the high-definition display and putting it into two A/V receivers (AVRs) and a preamp processor.

The $1,900-suggested DTR-8.9 and $2,600 DTR-9.9 AVRs are the industry’s first with embedded Imaging Science Foundation Certified Calibration Controls (ISFccc) protocols. The products will also be the first, or among the first, AVRs with built-in video-calibration technology, depending on other introductions at the CEDIA Expo.

Integra’s $2,000 DHC-9.9 preamp-processor, also incorporating ISF calibration, is among a handful of pre-pros with video-calibration technology. Anthem has such pre-pros, but they don’t use ISF technology.

All three Integra models ship in September and will be displayed at the Expo.

The introductions make it possible, Integra said, to individually optimize video signals for each video source connected to an AVR or preamp-processor without resorting to complex cable routing and customized remote-control macros. Such “workarounds” make system operation more complex for consumers, Integra contended.

Using the Integra components, installers can use a video-switching AVR or preamp-processor to select video sources, optimize video settings for each video source, and direct the video signal over a single HDMI output to a TV or projector. In contrast, in home theaters that combine other AVRs and video-calibrating TVs, installers can’t individually calibrate video settings for each video source unless they run a video cable or cables from each source to the TV, then separately run audio cables from each video source to the AVR or pre-pro, Integra explained. Without the additional cables, the TV would apply the same calibration setting to all of the multiple sources being switched in the A/V receiver or pre-processor.

In the new Integra components, all coarse-grain and fine-grain calibration adjustments correspond to the ISFccc protocols, and access to the adjustments will be restricted to ISF-trained calibration technicians who perform calibration services to consumers for a fee. Most of Integra’s installer accounts have ISF-certified technicians on staff, said sales director Keith Haas.

Integra “made everything simple by putting the calibration controls in the receiver and providing separate calibration memory for each input,” said Joel Silver, president and founder of ISF, which provides video calibration training and services. “Now, ISF-trained technicians can achieve a perfect match for all the sources and also provide the end user will simple, intuitive control over sources and switching."

For consumers and installers, Integra added, “the simplest and most reliable way to connect different video sources – DVD player, HD player, satellite TV, cable TV, etc. – is by using an A/V receiver or preamplifier to select the desired source and direct the video signal over a single output to the TV or projector. “

Multiple display makers incorporate ISF calibration tools in at least some of their models, Integra said. Those companies include Pioneer Elite, LG, Runco, Vidikron and Epson. Other brands and models also offer detailed levels of color adjustment but do not feature ISF calibration, a spokesman added. Sometimes these controls are easy to access by the end user, but in other cases, the person calibrating the set must know a secret set of commands to get into the hidden menus, he said.

With the three new products, Integra is expanding its selection of components equipped with HD Radio to four from three. All three new models feature HD Radio, joining a carryover $550 TUN-3.7 component tuner with optional HD Radio/satellite-radio tuning card. Two other HD Radio-equipped components, the $2,400 DTR-8.8 AVR and $1,600 DTC-9.8 pre-pro, will be dropped when the three new models ship.

Other features common to the three new models include XM/Sirius-ready capability, HDMI 1.3 inputs and outputs, embedded decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, 1080p Deep Color support, THX Ultra2 Plus certification, THX Neural Surround, HQV Reon-VX up-scaling of all video sources to HDMI 1080p, analog FM RDS text, zone three output, biampable front left-right channels, and a full suite of Audyssey technologies: Dynamic Volume for automatic volume leveling, Dynamic EQ for loudness correction and MultEQ XT for room correction.

The DTR-9.9 AVR adds Internet radio, Certified for Vista (formerly PlaysForSure) certification for network audio streaming, and higher output at 7x145 watts into 8 ohms. The Internet radio capability will be enhanced compared with the Internet radio capability in the PlaysForSure-certified DTR-8.8 that will be phased out, the company said. The 9.9 and 8.8 feature iRadio, which requires the end user to input up to 20 of their own Internet radio stations, but the 9.9 adds access to Sirius Internet Radio and the vTuner Internet portal, which allows easy access to thousands of stations.

The DHC-9.9 pre-pro lacks Internet radio and PlaysForSure certification and carries a feature set closer to the DTR-8.9 AVR. Nonetheless, it includes a toroidal transformer power supply as in the DTR-9.9, although the supply is smaller because the pre-pro lacks an amplifier. Also like the DTR-9.9, it features four separate audio and video processing power supplies, whereas the DTR-8.9 has three, and it features balanced inputs and outputs, unavailable on Integra’s AVRs.

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