Unity Home Theater System Promoted As New Audio Category

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Indianapolis - In2Technologies, an audio/video product development and consulting firm, wants to increase the attachment rate of audio to TV purchases with its Unity Home Theater System, which packs home-theater audio electronics, speakers and a 3D Blu-ray player into a floorstanding platform for flat-panel TVs.

The San Jose company, led by industry veterans Todd Beauchamp and Mike Fidler, wants to license Unity's design and proprietary acoustic technologies but might bring the product to market on its own.

The system, promoted as a new audio-product category, delivers sound quality exceeding that of soundbars and HTiBs and approaching that of separate audio components, the executives said while demonstrating a prototype at an off-site location during the CEDIA Expo. Though delivering near-component sound quality, the system simplifies the buying process, simplifies setup and operation, and integrates with a room's décor more easily by eliminating speaker clutter and eliminating speaker-cable runs from one part of the room to another, they said.

The Unity systems also reduces the number of purchase decisions to two -- Unity and a TV -- from three: a TV, a TV stand and an audio system, they added.

Unity consists of a T-shaped platform on top of which consumers can place a flat-panel TV up to 60 inches in size. The TV connects to Unity via one HDMI cable. Alternately, consumers can eliminate the TV's pedestal by attaching a standard VESA mount to the back of the Unity system.

The horizontal portion of the platform doubles as an enclosure for three front-firing 2-inch midrange/tweeter drivers operating from 150Hz on up. Two 5.25-inch mid-bass drivers mounted on the underside of the horizontal enclosure fire down and deliver omni-directional audio from 70Hz to 150Hz. The central tower holding up the horizontal platform features two 12-inch subwoofers, one on each side.

Two wireless surround speakers round out the speaker complement to create a 5.1 system.

Besides housing subwoofers, the central tower incorporates 3D Blu-ray player, surround-sound processor that includes Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master, amplification, and DSP to time align the midrange/tweeter drivers with the mid-bass drivers.

Setup would take about 15 minutes, the company said. Consumers would place the horizontal platform on top of the central tower, both of which feature connectors to make the connections between the tower's amplifiers and the platform's speakers. A wireless receiver/two-channel amplifier module would connect via speaker cables to the surround speakers.

The back of the Unity system contains three power outlets to plug in the TV and two components such as a game console and cable box, which would sit on top of the horizontal platform.

The prototype's configuration could retail for $999 with Internet streaming services and Wi-Fi, but the system could be scaled up to include larger drivers or scaled down to a 3.1 system.

Before becoming president of In2, Beauchamp was responsible for product development and testing within Apple's iPhone, iPod and iPad division. He has more than two decades of acoustic engineering and electronic systems experience in the consumer, professional, and military audio markets.

Chief marketing officer Mike Fidler has more than 30 years of consumer electronics experience, having previously served as a senior marketing and engineering executive at Sony and having led the home products groups at both Sony and Pioneer. He is also the former CEO of Digeo.


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