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Samsung Plans Receiver, 802.11a

Ridgefield Park, N.J. — Samsung is considering a March launch of its first A/V receiver and has unveiled a wireless 802.11a connection between a plasma monitor and set-top box.

The 7×250-watt receiver, intended for custom-install applications, can power three two-channel audio zones from its internal digital amplifier or simultaneously drive a 5.1-channel home theater and a second two-channel music zone. Features include rear-panel IR input and output, RS-232, DC triggers, IEEE 1394 input for DVD-Audio and SACD connections, two HDMI inputs and one output, two DVI inputs and one output, automatic room equalization, video up-conversion to HDMI or DVI, and up-scaling of DVD content to high-definition. It includes FM tuner but no AM tuner. Distribution is targeted to independent A/V retailers, custom installers and the Pro Group.

The price is expected to range from $4,000 to $5,000.

In its wireless plans, Samsung dropped plans for ultrawideband (UWB) technology in favor of 802.11a to cut the cord between a plasma display and a set-top box. UWB wasn’t ready for commercial deployment, Samsung contended.

A 50-inch plasma panel, due in the fall at a suggested $8,999, uses 802.11a-based technology developed by Samsung and a California company. An 802.11a-equipped media box with built-in NTSC tuner features cable connections for multiple video sources, including HD tuners. The video sources’ content is distributed wirelessly to the plasma panel up to 30 feet away, the company said.