Yamaha Adds 2-Piece Virtual-Surround HTiB

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Buena Park, Calif. - Yamaha mated its thinnest-ever surround bar, at 2 inches in height, with a first-of-its-kind A/V receiver with built-in subwoofer to produce the $599-suggested YHT-S400 two-piece home theater in a box (HTiB) system.

The system uses proprietary Air Surround Xtreme technology to deliver a virtual 5.1-channel surround experience from the surround bar's three embedded full-range drivers. It's also the first Yamaha product to incorporate proprietary UniVolume volume-leveling technology, which maintains a consistent volume level when channels or sources are switched and when commercials come on.

Yamaha

The A/V receiver-subwoofer connects to the surround bar via a single cable. The receiver-sub, which can be placed in a cabinet or on the floor, features FM tuner, 5-inch subwoofer, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround decoding, and three HDMI 1.3 inputs that accept uncompressed multichannel PCM audio from connected Blu-ray players. Amplification is rated at 3x50 watts plus 1x100 watts.

The surround bar is sized to fit in front of most 32- to 50-inch flat TVs without blocking the picture. The bar's feet can be adjusted in height.

For optimal sound quality, the YHT-S400 accepts HD Audio signals (linear PCM transmission) from Blu-ray disc players. Three 1080-compatible HDMI inputs enable three different HDMI sources to be connected to the receiver.

Other features include proprietary Extended Stereo technology, which widens the stereo stage, and HDMI CEC functionality that lets the TV remote control the YHT-S400's volume. CEC-compatibility also provides advanced functions with other components.

The system also connects to an optional Bluetooth receiver and iPod dock.

Yamaha has offered two-piece virtual surround systems before, but this is its first with an included A/V receiver, a spokesman said.

The virtual surround technology differs from that used in higher priced Digital Sound Projectors, which deliver multichannel surround sound from a single active sound bar that fits underneath a flat-panel television. These devices contain multiple tiny drivers, each driven by its own dedicated digital amplifier to create focused "beams" of sound to produce direct and reflected sound waves that

deliver multichannel surround effects. They also incorporate FM tuner, amplification surround decoders and DSP.

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