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JVC Outlines A/V Receiver Vision

JVC outlined a multiyear A/V-receiver strategy that emphasizes PC and HDTV connectivity, MP3 player connections to home audio systems, enhanced compressed-music sound quality, and stylish models as slender as the flat-screen displays and DVD players that they’re meant to complement.

As part of the strategy, the company’s 2005 receiver lineup gets wired-USB and wireless PC connectivity for the first time; HD up-scaling HDMI outputs for the first time (at an everyday $499 and $799); and proprietary CC converters, which enhance the sound quality of compressed music streamed from a PC.

JVC will follow up in 2006 and 2007 with receivers that will get Ethernet ports and compatibility with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) interoperability standards for sharing content among networked PCs and consumer electronics products. During that time, JVC also plans to incorporate HDDs into microsystems.

In a related announcement, the company unveiled its first hard-disk-drive (HDD) MP3 portable, which ships with IR remote and home docking station. It incorporates a CC converter to convert compressed-music sound quality into CD sound quality and extend frequency response beyond 22kHz from about 15kHz. The HDD portable is due in the third quarter.

In other announcements:

  • JVC scaled back its planned 2005 home theater in a box (HTiB) selection, dropping plans for its first three models with HDD PVRs and for its first three models with HD up-scaling HDMI outputs. JVC also dropped plans to expand its DVD-recorder-equipped selection and in fact dropped DVD recorders from its HTiB selection altogether. The company cited pricing as the reason for changing its plans.
  • The company launched its first three stand-alone enclosed speaker pairs incorporating sake-soaked wood-cone drivers. Last year, the company began offering microsystems with the technology, said to provide more natural sound than paper, polypropylene, or other materials.

In receivers, JVC:

  • Added wired USB connections to all seven new receivers, starting with its two entry-level $199-everyday models, the RX-D401S in silver and RX-D402 in black, and running through to the flagship $799 RX-D702B in black only. They’ll reproduce music streamed from a PC’s hard drive and from Internet radio and satellite-radio channels streamed through the PC’s modem.
  • Added CC converters to all models starting at $399 to enhance the sound quality of music streamed from a USB-connected PC.
  • Added wireless PC connectivity for the first time, starting at an everyday $399 in the RX-D301S (silver) and RX-D302B (black). The $799 RXD702B also gets it. The receivers use proprietary JVC 2.4GHz direct sequence digital spread spectrum technology with a high-speed 2Mbps data rate and 30-meter range. The receivers feature built-in wireless receivers and come with companion USB dongle that acts as a PC’s transmitter. The PC’s content can’t be controlled through the A/V receiver.

Last year, JVC showed its first microsystems with wired and wireless USB connectivity to a PC. This year, wired connectivity starts at an everyday $149 in microsystems, and wireless connectivity appears in a $549 microsystem.

JVC added HDMI switching for the first time, but whereas the HDMI outputs were originally said to upscale 480i to 480p, the company now says they upscale as well to 720p and 1,080i. The outputs appear in the $499 and $799 receivers.

No HD Radio or dedicated home satellite-radio tuners are planned in 2005.

In portable MP3, JVC said the 6GB XAHD500 with 1-inch HDD plays MP3 and protected-Windows Media Audio (WMA) songs. as well as subscription-download WMA songs. It also stores data files. It ships in the third quarter with black brushed-aluminum finish at an unspecified price.

It will join the company’s first three flash-memory models, launched this year.