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Pioneer Plans To Enter New Home Markets

Pioneer used the CEDIA Expo to tap into multiple new home entertainment markets, including iPod-docking speaker systems and sound bars.

The introductions accompanied the company’s demonstration of a concept technology called EntertainmentTap, which appeared in a component-style device that plays Blu-ray discs, copies and stores CD music to an embedded hard drive, streams and downloads audio and video from authorized Web sites, and streams audio and video from a networked PC (TWICE, Sept. 10, p. 1). On top of that, the component also place-shifts audio and video to Wi-Fi-connected iPhones and iPod Touches and centralizes control of home-theater components and home systems within a home-theater room.

In another announcement, the company said it obtained THX Select2 Plus certification for three Elite EX series in-wall speakers launched late last year and obtained THX certification for its Elite BDP-09FD Blu-ray player, one of the industry’s first THX-certified Blu-ray players. The products join Elite series A/V receivers, all of which are either THX Select2 Plus- or Ultra2 Plus-certified.

In iPod speaker systems, the company’s first two models are due by the end of the year with proprietary automatic sound leveling technology and the company’s Advanced Sound Retriever technology, which improves the sound quality of compressed music. Both bi-amplified models feature dedicated built-in low-bass drivers and iPhone certification.

The XW-NAS3, expected to retail for around $399, features component and composite video outputs, optional Bluetooth receiver to stream music from Bluetooth-enabled devices, and full-range left-right speakers. The step-up XW-NAS5, expected to retail for around $499, adds the ability to capture an iPod’s digital output, two-way speakers, and AM/FM tuner.

The company’s first sound bar, the HTP-SB300, is a 3.1-channel systems designed as a TV-sound enhancer. It incorporates amplification, surround decoding, drivers for three front channels, wireless subwoofer, two HDMI inputs and one HDMI output. Surround decoders include Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1, but the sound bar might include additional decoders by the time it ships, a spokesman said. Virtual surround processing isn’t included. Total output is 250 watts. It’s designed for use with 32-inch to 37-inch TVs. Expected pricing wasn’t available. It is also due by the end of the year.