2 Move On Digital DVD-A Output

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Denon and Meridian have adopted separate proprietary digital connections to transport audio, but not video or control signals, from a DVD-A/V player to other products in their lines. The two companies obtained DVD Forum approval for their encrypted connections.

Like a 1394 cable, Denon's DigitalLink uses a multipin RJ-45 cable. DigitalLink ports appear on Denon's new THX Ultra-certified DVD-9000 at a suggested $3,500 and top-end AVR-5803 receiver at a suggested $4,300. Both ship in March.

To connect the Denon player to other brands of receiver or preamp processors, consumers must deal with the typical tangle of audio cables. When the player is connected via a DigitalLink cable to the 5803 receiver, however, not only are cable connections simplified, but user's can take advantage of superior DVD-Audio, Dolby Digital, and DTS decoders in the receiver.

The Denon receiver also boasts DVD-Audio digital bass-management circuitry, said Denon product manager Jeff Talmadge. (The 5803 offers DVD-Audio bass management in the analog domain for other DVD player brands.)

In its introductions, Meridian upgraded its 800 DVD-A/V player and 861 surround controller to include proprietary MHR Smart Link, which uses three 75-ohm coaxial cables to transfer digital audio from the player to the surround controller. The controller can then transfer the digital signal to the company's DSP-equipped active speakers.

"By using an approved encrypted link between the 800 and 861, we can bring the full digital processing power of both components to bear on a recording today," said Meridian Audio chairman Bob Stuart.

Meridian had to get the approval of the music industry and the 4C group of companies before it could get a license to offer the technology in its DVD player, he noted.

The upgraded card-based 800 player and 861 processor are each available at suggested retails ranging from $17,000 to $20,000, depending on configuration.

Meridian noted that the processor is the first to support the new DVD-Audio recordings that include height information for playback through systems with up to 10 speakers.

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