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Yamaha HTiBs Get New Features

Convenience, connectivity and HD video are taking on greater importance in Yamaha’s 2006 lineup of home theater in a box (HTiB) systems.

The six 5.1-channel receiver-based systems include the company’s first three systems to control an iPod docked in an optional docking station, which retails for $80 to $100, said national training manager Phil Shea. As in the previous lineup, all models are XM ready to control outboard Connect-and-Play and XM mini tuners.

The three iPod-docking models — at a suggested $849, $649 and $549 — are also the company’s first HTiBs with automatic room-acoustics correction, delivering seven bands of parametric equalization independently to each audio channel, he said. All six models are also Yamaha’s first with music enhancer technology, which improves the quality of compressed music produced by MP3 players connected via front-panel mini jack input or by iPods docked with the iPod-controlling systems.

One system, the $649-suggested YHT-680, is Yamaha’s first HTiB with video up-scaling, in this case to 1080i and 720p. The top-end model, the $849-suggested YHT-780, isn’t the company’s first system with flat-style speakers for use with flat-panel displays, but it is the company’s first such system with piano-black speakers to match piano-black flat-panel TVs, Shea said.

All models, starting with the $329-suggested YHT-280, incorporate the company’s convenience-oriented “scene” feature, which delivers one-button startup of all Yamaha audio components in a home theater system. Macro buttons on the receiver’ front panels and included remote can be programmed for radio, CD, home theater, TV, or iPod turn-on and listening modes. Once a button is pressed, the receiver and other connected Yamaha components, including DVD player, automatically turn on. Then the receiver switches to the proper input and to a preset listening level, and the correct surround mode is engaged, Shea said.

Two systems, the YHT-685 and YHT-680, come with component universal DVD players. Both systems retail for a suggested $649.

All systems are available.