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1,080p Connectivity Get Focus At CEDIA

Denver — A very small but growing selection of A/V receivers and DVD players here at the CEDIA Expo feature 1,080p up-scaling to deliver the best quality images from legacy video formats to new 1,080p high-definition displays. More products here also up-scale video sources to 1,080i.

Sony and ADCOM are displaying A/V receivers with 1,080p up-scaling at an approximate everyday $1,500 and a suggested $2,899, respectively. They are due in October and September, respectively, and will join a pair of previously announced Denon models at $4,000 and $7,000. Like the Sony model, the Denon models incorporate Faroudja Cinema DCDi 1,080p upscaling.

For its part, ADCOM also plans to show its first 1,080p up-scaling preamp/processor, joining an Anthem model on display. Classe is also working on a preamp/processor with 1,080p up-scaling. Deliveries of the Classe SSP-900, targeted to retail for about $25,000 with HDMI 1.3 connection, haven’t been determined, and the unit might not be displayed at the Expo.

In DVD players, Marantz is showing its first models with 1,080p upscaling, and Sherwood is showing a new 1,080i up-scaling DVD player at a suggested $299.

Also new for the Expo:

• Onkyo is bringing HDMI 1,080p connectivity to mid-price receivers with the launch of two models at a suggested $599 and $799;

• Receivers with HDMI 1,080i connectivity, but not 1,080i up-scaling, include four new Marantz receivers, a Sunfire receiver and a Sherwood receiver.

• DVD players and receivers that upscale to 1,080p also up-scale to 1,080i, 720p and 480p. All are premised on the expectation that they will either offer better up-scaling technology than what’s available in many high-definition displays, or they’ll incorporate the latest improvements in up-scaling technology, said suppliers.

“When you can present the native pixel-to-pixel rate to an HD display, you can effectively bypass the display’s internal scaler,” explained ADCOM sales manager Bob Altenbern. “Many low- to mid-priced LCD and plasma scaling engines aren’t implemented very well, so engineering in a top-shelf scaler by a group with DSP expertise can show improvements.”

“In our products,” he added, “the user can bring in a number of analog video sources and scale to a desired rate, adjust color, brightness, contrast, color spacing and apply several filters and then save that in each input and therefore optimize performance by input source, all with one HDMI connection from the pre/pro or receiver to the display,” he said.

In other HDMI-connectivity developments, Yamaha recently unveiled the $1,699-suggested RX-V2700 and $1,299 V1700 receivers, which are the company’s first receivers with 1,080p HDMI input and output. Both also deinterlace 480i signals to 480p, and the V2700 upscales analog and digital video to 720p or 1,080i. Yamaha also offers a 1,080i up-scaling HDMI receiver at $1,399, the RX-V2600.

For its part, Denon recently announced a pair of 1,080p up-scaling receivers, already available. They are the $7,000 AVR-5805 Mark II and $4,000 AVR-4806CI. At $1,999, Denon offers a receiver with HDMI 1,080i up-scaling.

Current DVD players with 1,080p up-scaling HDMI outputs include two Yamaha models at $449 and $999 and three Denon DVD players at $369, $849 and $1,499. All of these Yamaha and Denon models also play DVD-Audio and SACD discs. The two companies also offer 1,080i up-scaling DVD players, with Yamaha offering one at a suggested $179.

Here are the latest HDMI connectivity developments appearing at the Expo:

ADCOM: The $2,899-suggested GFR-700HD A/V receiver and $2,499-suggested GTP-870 preamp/processor feature National Semiconductor AVC2510 video DSP for scaling analog video up to 1,080p. Both are 7.1-channel models due this month, with the receiver featuring 7×125-watt amplification. Analog and digital video sources such as DVD players can be upscaled to 480p, 720p, VGA, 1,080i at 50/60Hz, or 1,080p at 50/60Hz.

The preamp/processor offers the same features excluding tuner and amplification but adds balanced XLR outputs for use with ADCOM multichannel amplifiers.

Anthem: The $4,699-everyday AVM 50 Audio/Video Processor, already available, incorporates Gennum VXP Digital Image Processor to convert any SD or HD video standard to other video standards up to a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080p. It also features four HDMI inputs and video transcoding. On-Screen Displays are displayed on the component Video and HDMI outputs at any resolution up to 1,080p.

Marantz: The brand’s first 1,080p up-scaling DVD players will be displayed, but at press time, spokespeople were unsure whether two or four DVD players being introduced would have the feature or whether all four would. Of the four DVD players being introduced, price points ranged from $329 to $849.

Four A/V receivers with HDMI 1,080i connectivity include the $1,999-suggested SR8001 and $1,399 SR7001, both of which up-convert composite, S- and component video to HDMI. The $549 SR4001 and $749 SR5001 feature HDMI connectivity and up-onvert composite and S-video to component video.

Onkyo: Two new receivers — the 7×95-watt TX-SR674 at a suggested $799 and 7×90-watt TX-SR604 at $599 — feature 1,080p HDMI switching with HDMI repeater function so that audio and video pass through a single HDMI cable. Onkyo said it believes the $599 model is the lowest priced A/V receiver with this feature.

“Both receivers have HDMI repeater switching, which is better than pass-through switching,” a spokesman said. “As a result, you can send HDMI to the video display and tap off the multi-channel digital audio. Pass-through switchers can only do one or the other.”

Both receivers have shipped with Audyssey 2EQ system for automatic room-acoustics compensation. They’re also XM-ready, integrate with Onkyo’s iPod docking system, and feature multi-zone, multi-room connection options.

Additionally the TX-SR674 also transcodes analog video signals to HDMI, while the SR604 transcodes to component video.

Sherwood: The company added HDMI connectivity to a previously announced receiver. The $999-suggested Newcastle series R-871 receiver, due in October, accepts HD video over an HDMI cable and audio over a separate cable from the HD source.

The Newcastle-series V-852 DVD player, due in November at a suggested $299, will be the company’s entry-level 1,080i/720p up-scaling DVD player, joining a $799 model.

Sunfire: The 7×200-watt TGR-3 receiver, due September at a suggested $4,999, features HDMI 1.1 switching with two inputs and one output. Compared to its predecessor, it adds a Web server for control from PDAs and Web tablets, Ethernet port to join an RS-232 port for firmware upgrades and control by multiple home-control systems, and digital implementation of Carver’s Sonic Holography technology, which creates a wider, higher and deeper front sound stage.