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Onkyo Readies Entry-Level HTiB Trio

Upper Saddle River, N.J. — Three new Onkyo receiver-based home theater in a box (HTiB) systems include the company’s lowest-priced HTiBs with included iPod dock, first system with music optimizer technology to enhance compressed-music playback, and first with Audyssey Dynamic EQ for loudness correction.

Onkyo-brand iPod docks are included with the 7.1-channel $579-suggested HT-S5100 and 5.1-channel $479 HT-S4100. The 5.1-channel $379 HT-S3100 features connection to an optional iPod dock. All three receiver/speaker packages, available in either black or silver when they ship in April, feature component-video switching, with the top model adding three-in/one-out HDMI passthrough switching.

Previously, Onkyo included iPod docks with HTiBs priced at a suggested $899 and $1,099.

Though not shipped with iPod dock, the opening-price S3100 features an input to connect one of Onkyo’s two  RI (Remote Interactive) iPod docks, enabling iPod control from the HTiB’s included remote. Features include Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding, DTS Neo:6 and Dolby pro Logic II to up-convert stereo into matrix 5.1, 192/24 DACs for all channels, and 3/1 50MHz component-video switching, and CinemaFilter equalization to remove brightness from a movie soundtrack. The speakers consist of two-way front-channel speakers with 3.25-inch woofers and 0.75-inch tweeters, full-range surround speakers, and passive 8-inch powered sub.

The $479-suggested HT-S4100 adds wider bandwidth component-video switching to pass through 720p and 1080i video, powered subwoofer, and included DS-A1XP iPod dock, whose features include sleep timer and alarm.

The $579-suggested HT-S5100 adds 7.1-channel playback, 6.1-channel Dolby Digital EX, 6.1 DTS ES Discrete and Matrix, and Dolby Pro Logic IIx, which delivers a 7.1-channel experience from stereo and 5.1-channel sources. The HTiB also adds step-up DS-A1L iPod dock, which permits remote iPod control from the HTiB’s remote, and music-optimizer technology for improving the quality of compressed music. It’s Onkyo’s first HTiB with music optimizer technology.

The S5100 is the company’s first HTiB with Audyssey Dynamic EQ, which dynamically adjusts frequency response to compensate for the human ear’s lower sensitivity to bass and treble sounds as volume levels decrease during a video program. Likewise, it adjusts surround levels in real time when volume levels change.

The S5100 also features Audyssey 2EQ room correction and Sirius-ready capability. It’s Onkyo’s first Sirius-only HTiB. Previous models incorporated ports for tuners from both satellite radio providers.

The HTiB’s 3/1 HDMI switching supports 1080p video passthrough. A separate audio connection is needed for the HTiB to get multichannel audio from a connected DVD or Blu-ray player.