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Expanding SACD To Home Theater

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -Sony will expand its selection of multichannel SACD players to four, add multichannel-SACD technology for the first time to Dream System home-theater electronics/speaker packages, and enter the in-wall speaker market.

The SACD introductions will bring the industry’s opening price point for multichannel SACD to an expected everyday $299 for a single-disc model.

The company announced its intentions here at a regional dealer show, where Sony also:

  • Expanded its selection of receivers equipped with 6.1-channel decoders.
  • Developed a Gen Y-targeted Psyc series of high-gloss-colored products, including audio portables, a clock radio and a home phone. Five audio products will be available in three colors each, as will the phone. Sony will offer a floorstanding display for the products.
  • Expanded its selection of CD-R/RW-compatible portable audio products to include almost its entire line of headphone CD players and CD boomboxes.
  • Added G-Protection quick-recovery sleds to portable MD players for the first time to further reduce the likelihood of mistracking. G-Protection appeared in headphone CD players for the first time in fall 1999 and this year will again appear in headphone CDs starting at an expected everyday $79. These products use quick-recovery laser mechanisms that recover from shock up to 10 times faster than previous mechanisms, making it possible to use lower-capacity antishock memory buffers and thus increase battery life.

Multichannel SACD: In unveiling two more multichannel SACD players, Sony will expand its multichannel selection to four, with two ES series models and two HiFi series models. The two latest models, due in September, are the single-disc HiFi series SCD-XE670 at an expected everyday $300 and the ES-series SCD-C222ES, retailing at an expected everyday $800.

They join two five-disc models shown at January’s CES: the HiFi series SCD-CE775 at an expected everyday $399 and an ES series model at an expected $1,700 (also its suggested retail price). They’re due in July and April, respectively.

In expanding its selection of Dream System home theater packages to two models from one, the company is incorporating SACD playback in Dream Systems for the first time. Last year’s single Dream System consisted of a single-disc $599 DVD-receiver packaged with five satellite speakers and a subwoofer. This year’s Dream System lineup consists of the single-disc DAV-S500 and five-disc DAV-C700, due in July at expected everyday retails of $599 and $799, respectively.

Compared to the current system, the S500 will add two-way speakers, 280-watt amplification vs. 180, and headphone output that simulates a 5.1-channel experience.

The C700 will be Sony’s first DAV system with five-disc DVD-receiver. The only other company offering a five-disc DVD-receiver in a home theater package is Panasonic.

Both models use Sony-proprietary digital-amplification technology.

Receivers: In its HiFi series receivers, Sony will offer 6.1-channel decoding for the first time to complement similarly equipped ES series receivers launched at CEDIA’s fall Expo. The three receivers, due in May and June, use Sony’s Virtual Matrix 6.1 decoding technology for compatibility with DVD discs encoded with 6.1-channel Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES Matrix soundtracks.

Three HiFi receivers priced at an everyday $399 to $599 feature the technology. Two have five-channel amps and deliver a phantom rear-center channel. The $599 model features a six-channel amp.

At last year’s CEDIA Expo, Sony unveiled its first ES series receivers compatible with Dolby Digital Surround EX and DTS ES Matrix soundtracks. They delivered a phantom rear-center channel at an everyday $800 to $1,300. But new ES series receivers due in July will add 6.1-channel amps.

Three HiFi series Dolby Digital/DTS 5.1-channel receivers due in April and May are priced at an everyday $199, $249 and $299.

For the first time, select HiFi-series receivers deliver frequency response out to 50kHz to complement SACD playback. They are priced from $299 to $599. ES receivers deliver response to 100kHz.

A light-gray $299 receiver, color matched to the company’s Wega TVs, is Sony’s first receiver to use the company’s digital-amplifier technology.

In-walls: Sony’s two two-way in-wall speakers feature paintable grilles, frequency response to 50kHz, and everyday prices of $199 and $299/pair. They’re due in May.

Shelf systems: In shelf systems, the company will offer two models with DVD-Video players, up from one.

The $599 MHC-DP1000D features a three-disc DVD changer, five speakers and Dolby Digital/DTS decoding. It’s due in the summer. Another shelf system with a three-disc DVD changer is the $799 MHC-S9D, which comes with five speakers and consists of four separate electronic components.

The $399-everyday MHC-DP700 features three-disc CD changer, Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, Wega-coloring and two speakers. A three-speaker add-on is available separately. It’s due in the summer. Marketers said the company won’t offer SACD playback, MP3-CD playback, CD-recording or streaming Internet audio to shelf systems this year.

HTiBs: In its three new receiver/ speaker home-theater-in-a box packages, two models at $599 and $699 get component DVD-Video players, the latter a five-disc model. Those models and a $399 system lacking DVD are due in the summer.