Philips Adds $299 BD HTiB, Sound Bar

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New York - P&F USA brought the industry's opening price point for a new Blu-ray home theater in a box (HTiB) to a suggested $299 as part of its rollout of three new Philips-branded Blu-ray HTiBs and a Philips-branded home-theater sound bar.

All three BD HTiBs in the rollout, which expands the company's BD HTiB selection to three from one, incorporate Profile 2.0 BD player, wired Ethernet port and 5.1-channel speaker system. The two models at a suggested $349 and $549 will be the brand's first HTiBs to stream Internet radio and video-on-demand services via the Internet. And the $549 will be the brand's first HTiB with Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) certification and first HTiB in years with wireless surround speakers.

The $299-suggested HTS 3051 Blu-ray HTiB, already shipping, features one HDMI 1.3 output; coax and stereo RCA inputs for TV audio; 5.1 speaker system; 1000-watt output; and decoding of the Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby True HD surround-sound formats, said P&F marketing director Keith Michael. It also features front-panel audio aux input, and a USB port and SD card slot are designed to reproduce music, video and photos stored on a USB stick or memory card. Supported video formats include DivX.

The HTS 3051 is already promoted at Walmart at an everyday $288, Michael said.

The $349 HTS 3251, also shipping, adds DivX HD video playback, streaming of Internet radio stations via the vTuner chip, and streaming video-on-demand from NetFlix, CinemaNow and Blockuster, Michael said. It also adds decoding of the suite of DTS HD Master Essentials surround-sound formats. Power output is still 1,000 watts.

At a suggested $549, the HTS 5580 adds wireless surround speakers with detachable pedestals, iPod dock, front left-right speakers with offset drivers to widen the soundstage, and DLNA certification to stream music, photos and video from a networked PC. The system ships at the end of June or early July.

The new sound bar, shipping in July, is the $249-suggested HSB 2313 with wired subwoofer, four left and four right full-range drivers, decoding of Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby Virtual Speaker technology, which delivers a virtual surround-sound experience from left-right speakers. The system features two HDMI 1.3 inputs, two HDMI 1.3 outputs, and coaxial and RCA stereo audio inputs. It delivers a total of 300 watts.

The company previously offered a sound bar targeted to console game users with Dolby Virtual Speaker but with wireless subwoofer, said Michael.

The BD HTiB lineup changes slightly from what P&F previously disclosed at CES. At the time, the company said it was showing three models, but those three did not include the $299 model or the $549 model.


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