New York - 3D-compatible HDMI 1.4 connections, Internet radio, HD Radio, and USB connections to hard drives and memory sticks are among the key features appearing in Anthem's inaugural A/V receiver (AVR) lineup.
The Toronto-based company, which markets component-audio separates and a Blu-ray player, is also launching its first iPod dock, which connects to the four receivers.
The four receivers are the $999-suggested MRX 300, $1,499 MRX 500, $1,999 MRX 700, and $3,999 MRX 900, all with built-in decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats, Anthem Room Correction (ARC) technology and Dolby Pro Logic IIz post-processing technology. Pro Logic IIz derives two front-height channels from soundtracks. All four models also feature second-zone audio output and 1080p up-conversion with Deep Color support.
On all four models, the HDMI 1.4 inputs and output pass through 3D video from Blu-ray players and games, but in November, the company plans a firmware update to upgrade them to 1.4a to add support for the side-by-side (Half) and top-and-bottom formats that broadcasters are adopting. The AVRs' HDMI outputs do not support HDMI 1.4's audio return channel functions.
All but the opening-price MRX 300 add:
- Internet radio access using the vTuner portal through wired Ethernet connection to a broadband modem.
- front and rear USB inputs to play music from a connected hard drive or from USB memory sticks in the MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV formats.
The top two models, the 700 and 900, also add embedded HD Radio.
The top model features nine channels of amplification, biamping capability, seven HDMI 1.4a inputs and one HDMI 1.4a output. The other three models feature seven amplifier channels and four HDMI 1.4a inputs.
The company's planned iPod dock, the $129-suggested MDX 1, captures iPod/iPhone-stored audio in digital PCM form for playback through Anthem's connected AVRs. The AVRs' remotes will access the iPod's menu to enable song selection. The dock supports onscreen iPod menu display.
MDX 1 availability wasn't announced at press time. The MRX 500 and 700 AVRs ship in late summer. The opening-price and top-end AVRs are due late in the year.