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DVD-Audio, SACD: The Next Wave

INDIANAPOLIS — Suppliers used the CEDIA Expo to update the trade about their plans for next-generation audio formats. Here’s what various suppliers were saying:

JVC: September shipments are planned for the $899-suggested-retail DVD-A/V player with progressive-video output. Earlier this year, the company announced plans for June shipments. The unit also features built-in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding.

Kenwood: The company said it began shipping its first two DVD-A/V players, the industry’s first five-disc models. Their suggested retails are $1,400 and $1,150.

Meridian: The 596 DVD-Video player, due in November at $4,250, is the second Meridian DVD-Video player that can be upgraded to play back DVD-Audio discs. It also plays CD-R discs encoded with MP3 or Redbook CD tracks.

The company’s other upgradable DVD player is the 800 at $15,000. Consumers can upgrade the 800 themselves by adding a slide-out card. The 596 must be upgraded by Meridian or by a dealer’s service department.

Meridian also demonstrated a prototype of the 598 DVD-A/V player, due in the first quarter. Details were unavailable.

Onkyo: The company clarified its DVD-A/V delivery dates. The Onkyo-brand DV-S939 at a suggested $1,799 is due late September. Late September or early October deliveries are planned for the Integra Research RDV-1 at a suggested $2,999 and the Integra $1,899-suggested DPS-9.1. All feature progressive outputs.

Philips: The company plans a worldwide launch of its SACD 1000 multichannel-SACD/DVD-Video player in December, but the launch will be limited, said R. Steven Jean, Philips’ U.S. DVD-Video marketing director. Marketing and distribution options are still “open,” Jean said.

The device itself will also play back CD-R and CD-RW discs and DVD-R and DVD-RW discs.

Pioneer: January is the new ship date for the company’s first two DVD-A/V players, both in the Elite series. They were previously targeted to ship in October or November. Although delivery dates slipped, the company firmed up pricing. The DV-38A will retail for a suggested $1,700. The DV-AX10, which also plays two-channel SACD discs, will retail for a suggested $4,500. Both feature progressive-video output.

Rotel: The $1,500-suggested-retail RDV-1080 DVD-A/V player features progressive video output. Late November shipment is targeted.

Sony: The company plans November shipments of a five-disc ES series SACD/CD carousel changer, expected to retail for an everyday $1,200. November availability is also planned for the company’s first DVD-Video player to incorporate SACD playback. The $1,500-everyday, single-play device features progressive video output and is the first ES-series DVD player.

Both are two-channel models. They will join two current two-channel, single-play SACD/CD players, the 777, which was repriced to $2,500 from $3,500, and the SCD-1, which stays at $5,000.

Next year, Sony said, it will likely introduce multichannel SACD players and non-ES models available to a wider retail base. Previously, the company said it would ship multichannel SACD in late 2000.