LG Expands BD HTiB Selection

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LAS VEGAS -Three new 5.1-channel Blu-ray HTiB (home-theater-in-a-box) systems from LG include the company's first two models with embedded Wi-Fi and DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) certification for streaming content from a networked PC.

The LHB975 and LHB535, both with integrated Wi-Fi 802.11n, as well as the entry-level LHB335, which features wired Ethernet connection, also go out to the Internet to stream an expanded portfolio of A/V content from LG's Netcast service, which now includes the Picasa photo-sharing site and AccuWeather information. Like current Ethernet-connected HTiBs from LG, the three new models also access Netflix, VUDU, CinemaNow, YouTube, and the Pandora music service.

The LHB975 is also the company's first HTiB to pair a wireless subwoofer with included wireless surround speakers. The company includes wireless surround speakers in a current Blu-ray HTiB.

All three models ship in February to replace two current Blu-ray HTiBs, whose prices start at $479 MAP. A DVD-equipped HTiB will be carried over. Prices hadn't been set at press time.

During CES, LG also plans to:

- display its first Blu-ray-equipped surroundbar to get market feedback but won't use the show to announce whether it will bring the product to the U.S. market. The system was due in Europe in December 2009 with wireless subwoofer, DLNA certification, and decoding of all authorized Blu-ray surround formats.

- unveil its first Blu-ray player with embedded hard drive to archive CDs ripped at 20x speed by the device, due in February.

In new Blu-ray HTiBs, the opening-price LHB335 features wired Ethernet port, single HDMI 1.3 input, decoding of all authorized Blu-ray surround formats, and access to all LG Netcast services. The step-up LHB535 adds 802.11n, DLNA certification, and dual HDMI 1.3 inputs. Output is rated at 1000 watts.

The top-end LHB975 adds 5.8GHz-band wireless to eliminate wires running to the powered subwoofer and to the surround speakers. It's also rated at 1000 watts. Dual HDMI inputs are already available on the current flagship model.

In stand-alone Blu-ray players, the new top-line BD-5000 will double as a music jukebox, thanks to a 250GB hard drive that also stores movies purchased from Vudu rather than rented from Vudu. The player rips CDs inserted into its drive at 20x speed, and it accesses GraceNote's online database to capture a song's metadata and album art. The player also accesses GraceNote when consumers want to identify a song they're hearing on a movie disc. Music can be stored in compressed and uncompressed form.

The player, due in February at a price to be announced, also stores video, photos, and music transferred from a connected USB stick or USB hard drive, and it's DLNA-certified to stream music, video and photos from a networked PC.


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