Audio Briefs

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Onkyo, iPod Link Forged
Upper Saddle River, N.J. — Onkyo plans midyear availability of an iPod docking station that connects with most Onkyo receivers and home theater systems produced in the past 10 years.

The recharging/docking station connects to the products’ remote interactive (RI) port, which connects to other manufacturers’ A/V products to allow for automatic start-up and the integrated operation of separate components.

Details weren’t available, so the company couldn’t say whether the iPod’s user interface would appear on a connected TV screen. At the least, major iPod features will be controlled from the A/V system’s main remote.

Onkyo said it sold 5 million RI-compatible audio/video systems, audio/video receivers and amplifiers worldwide.

Zen’s Ascetic Philosophy
Milipitas, Calif. — Creative Labs dropped the price of previously announced HDD MP3 portables following Apple’s launch of lower price iPod Minis. All of Creative’s new Zen Micros are compatible with subscription-based WMA downloads and come in a choice of 10 colors.

The new Zen Micro 4GB MP3, previewed at International CES, is now priced at a suggested $179 after $20 mail-in rebate, down from the previously announced price of $229. Apple’s new 4GB Mini is a suggested $199.

The new 6GB Zen Micro is a suggested $249, down from a previously announced $299. A new 6GB iPod Mini is also $249. Creative’s current 5GB Micro has been repriced to $229 from $249.

Sim Wong Hoo, chairman and CEO, said “With the introduction of the Zen Micro 4GB MP3 player at … $179, we offer superior features and more than twice the song capacity of the 4GB iPod Mini at a substantially better price.”

Zen Micro features include 12-hour replaceable rechargeable battery, FM radio and recorder, and voice recorder.

The Creative Zen Micro 4 GB and Zen Micro 6GB MP3 players can be preordered now on Creative’s Web site. They ship in late March or early April.

Altec Enters Satellite Radio
Milford, Pa. — Altec Lansing launched its first satellite-radio product, a three-piece powered speaker system that docks with the transportable Roady and Roady 2 XM Satellite Radio tuners. The $199 system, excluding tuner, is available on the Altec and XM Web sites. More satellite-radio products are in the works.

The THX-certified system features two desktop piano-black satellite speakers and a subwoofer. An aux input allows for amplification of other sources.

Altec also offers iPod docking stations.

Logitech Adds iPod Add-On
Fremont, Calif. — Logitech plans April availability of its first amplified speaker system for iPods and other MP3 portables. The battery- and AC-powered mm22, at a suggested $79, comes with three cradles that accept any iPod model and many other portable players, the company said. It folds into a travel case that’s 9.8 inches by 5.9 inches by 2 inches.


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