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Pioneer Taps New Niches

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

The introductions accompanied a demonstration of  EntertainmentTap
concept technology, which appears 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, streams audio and
video from a networked PC, 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 biamplified 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’s
also due by the end of the year.