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HTiB Solutions Are Feature-Rich

Companies such as Samsung, Toshiba, and Zenith will enter the home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) business at CES, and some companies will show the industry’s first HTiBs with DVD-Audio/Video players.

Here’s what suppliers will show in home theater solutions with or without DVD players:

Aiwa: The company’s first HTiB with DVD-receiver shipped in November at a suggested $575. It features MP3-CD playback.

A second DVD HTiB, due in March at a suggested $525, consists of a DVD player and separate amp/controller, both about the size of a hardcover book. It features Dolby Digital/DTS decoding, MP3-CD playback, 180-watt amplification, five sats, and a sub that gets its power from the amp/controller. Aiwa plans a Mandalay Bay display.

Apex: A new DVD-equipped HTiB, the HT100, features DVD that plays MP3-CDs, WMA-CDs, and Kodak Picture CDs. It features component-video output, Dolby Digital/DTS decoding, virtual surround, and 5×30-watt amp.

Audiovox: The current $299-everyday DV1000 HTiB with DVD-receiver will get two companions. The $349-suggested DV1200 will get smaller cube-style speakers, and the $499-suggested DV1530 will feature DVD-receiver with five-disc changer. They ship in May and May-June, respectively, with DD/DTS decoding and MP3-CD playback.

Audiovox will enter a new segment with a wall-hanging A/V system. The VE1510DV at a suggested $1,450, due May, consists of a 15-inch 4:3 LCD TV with cable-ready TV tuner, AM/FM tuner, single-disc DVD player, and two-channel amplification. It comes with table-top swiveling stand. An RGB input enables it to be used as a PC monitor.

JVC: The $999.95-suggested TH-V70 features a single silver slim chassis that can be wall-mounted, stood vertically, or placed flat on a desktop. It consists of a DVD-receiver featuring Dolby Digital/DTS decoding, 5×35-watt amplification, and MP3/CD-RW-compatible progressive-scan DVD player. It comes with four satellites, an oblong center channel, and 140-watt subwoofer.

Kinyo: Two low-cost electronics/speaker packages are the $169-suggested K-560 and $199 D-655 feature small satellites, a powered subwoofer, and small 2.25×5.25×7-inch electronics module that, in the 655, includes Dolby Digital 5.1 and Pro Logic decoding. The other model must be mated with a DD/ProLogic-equipped DVD player.

The speakers are 3.55-inches-square. The lower priced model’s subwoofer features 6.5-inch driver; the more expensive model features 5-inch sub driver.

Linn: Classik DVD Movie System, due in the first quarter at a suggested $2,900, consists of a DVD/CD player and Dolby Digital/DTS amp, 500 watts of taotal power and four-zone capability. It lacks speakers.

Philips: Four new receiver-based HTiBs include the company’s first two with DVD-receiver, which began shipping late last year. The DVD-receiver models retail for an everyday $399 and $449, both with Dolby Digital decoding and powered subwoofer. The latter adds MP3-CD playback, 100-watt versus 50-watt subwoofer, and 96/24 audio DACs.

The company, however, plans to expand its DVD-equipped selection to four SKUs in the second half, one of which will feature a separate DVD player.

RCA: The company began in November to ship the $399-suggested RT-DVD1 HTiB, its first with DVD-receiver, MP3-CD playback, Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic 2 in a 3.5-inch tall cabinet. A second model, the RTDVD-101, due in June at a suggested $499, features digital amp with higher power and adds DTS and progressive-component output (with 3:2 pulldown), a first for RCA.

Samsung: The company’s first-ever HTiBs are two DVD-receiver models incorporating DVD-Audio. Details were unavailable.

Sharp: The company’s newest home theater solutions target the high and low ends. At the low end, the company plans June shipments of a $399-suggested HTCN300, which consists of slim control panel incorporating AM/FM tuner, five speakers, and a powered sub containing the system’s amplification and DD/DTS decoder.

At the high end, the DVD-equipped SD-AT100 will be available in January at a suggested $1,799.95. It incorporates Sharp’s proprietary 1-Bit digital amplification technology, previously available in two desktop stereo systems and two component amps. It features single-disc DVD-receiver with DD/DTS decoding and vertical-load disc system.

Toshiba: The company will reenter the audio component market after an absence of about a year with the launch of the first of a series of HTiBs. The first will feature a single-disc DVD-receiver incorporating DD/DTS and MP3 decoding. Five two-way speakers and a powered subwoofer are part of the package. Pricing was unavailable. Additional models will be shown at the company’s summer line show.

The HTiBs will “help us build our brand with audio customers” and help Toshiba and its dealers build up their DVD margins, said product management director Craig Eggers.

Zenith: The company’s first-ever HTiB is the $399-MAP DA3520, which shipped in December and is equipped with single-disc DVD-receiver, five speakers, and sub. At least one more is planned, this one with DVD-Audio and possibly due in Q2. Details were unavailable.