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HTiBs, Shelf Systems Get DVD-Video Upgrade

Home theater solutions will abound at CES, where DVD players and changers will be integrated into audio products such as Aiwa, JVC, Philips and Proton shelf systems, and Nakamichi wall-mountable home theater systems.

The Proton product and one Aiwa shelf system will also incorporate LCD screens to view movies.

DVD will also be integrated into more receivers, with Panasonic showing a model with a five-disc DVD changer and Sony showing a single-disc DVD-receiver. Both are part of a home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB ) receiver/speaker solutions.

In addition, Panasonic will expand its selection of DVD-equipped shelf systems to three from two.

The move to build DVD players into audio equipment began at last year’s CES. There, RCA showed a three-disc DVD changer/receiver available separately or as part of a package with speakers. At the time, Sharp showed a similar HTiB with single-play DVD, and Pioneer unveiled a $2,200 HTZ-7 system with DVD-tuner, subwoofer enclosure incorporating DD decoding and all amplifiers, and five satellite speakers.

Here’s what you’ll find this year:

Aiwa: A three-disc DVD changer will appear in the flagship home theater mini-system, the XR-DV526, which comes with built-in Dolby Digital decoding and five speakers. It ships in May at a suggested $825 and replaces a late-1999 version with Dolby Pro Logic decoding.

One of two “Mega A/V” shelf systems, both with biamplification and built-in subwoofers, comes with an integrated three-disc DVD changer. It’s the XH-DT7, with built-in Dolby Digital decoding, biamplification, five speakers, and 350 watts of power. It’s due in May at a suggested $1,200.

A single-disc DVD player is part of the ultra-mini XR-DV3M system with flip-up 5.8-inch TFT video screen, two speakers, and 2 x 12-watt amp. It’s due in April at a suggested $1,200. Targets include upscale executive offices and home office users.

Other home theater solutions include four home-theater-in-a box receiver/speaker packages. One, the HT-D2000, adds a DVD player and is due in May at a suggested $900. It comes with DD/DTS receiver, five speakers and powered sub.

The company’s first two non-receiver-based HTiBs are the HE-701 at a suggested $450 and the HE-501 at $350. Aiwa calls them set-top home theater systems. Both ship in January.

The top model’s set-top chassis incorporates three speakers, Dolby Digital decoder, 5 x 15-watt amp, detachable surround speakers, onscreen display, and universal remote. A separate 8-inch, 55-watt powered subwoofer is part of the package.

The HE-501 is a similarly configured two-channel system with two speakers; a separate 8-inch, 50-watt powered sub; 2 x 20-watt amplification; and Dolby Virtual Surround.

The speakers in both systems are 3-inch full-range models.

The company also expanded its number of shelf systems with Dolby Digital decoding, to three from one.

JVC: The company will add a DVD player to a shelf system for the first time with the launch of the TH-A10 executive home theater system, due in late April or May at an expected everyday $1,499.

The system consists of a brushed-aluminum housing, incorporating tuner, single-play CD/DVD player, and DD and DTS decoder. A subwoofer enclosure incorporates 200 watts RMS amplification for all speakers. The one-way satellites are also in brushed-aluminum enclosures, which are wall-mountable.

The TH-A10 comes with two remotes: a full-function model to set the system up, and a simplified remote for everyday functions.

Two new receiver/speaker HTiBs are the company’s first with DD/DTS receivers. The 230 and 330 ship in March at respective everyday retails of $449 and $549, the latter with bigger sub and two-way speakers.

Nakamichi: The company plans to expand its Sound Space selection of stereo and home theater electronics/speaker systems. One new system, the SoundSpace 12, will feature a control module incorporating tuner and three-disc CD/DVD changer. It will be accompanied by five satellite speaker, two powered subwoofers, and amplification in the subwoofer enclosures. Both DD and DTS decoding are likely to be included.

A component-interface box, which can be tucked out of sight, connects to the system via a single multi-pin cable. The box in turn connects to a TV, satellite receiver, cable box and VCR.

It’s due sometime in the first half and will be positioned somewhere between the $5,000 SoundSpace 10 and $10,000 SoundSpace 21.

The SoundSpace 10, the first integrated home theater system in the series, shipped in December at a suggested $5,000. Its wall-mountable control module incorporates a five-disc MusicBank CD/DVD changer and tuner. Amplification and Dolby Digital and DTS decoding are outboarded in one of two floorstanding subwoofers. It also comes with interface box.

The derivative SoundSpace 11, which adds floorstanding pedestals for the control module and speakers, is due early next year at an undetermined price.

The SoundSpace 21 (formerly called the 11) will first be available in a polished rosewood at $9,999, although less expensive versions with less expensive finishes might be out at a later date. It’s slated for the first quarter and was shown in mockup at the CEDIA Expo.

Its remote control powers motors that move the left, right and surround speakers up and down floorstanding metal poles to one of four user-selected preset heights. It also features a five-disc CD/DVD changer.

Other introductions include: the two-channel SoundSpace 9 with three-disc CD changer, two speakers, and a subwoofer; the SoundSpace 1, a transportable 110-volt single-play CD with speakers; and the SoundSpace 2 executive travel system with computer interface.

Oritron: The Chinese manufacturer plans to show off-site a receiver/speaker HTiB incorporating DD receiver, optional powered subwoofer, and possibly a DVD player. Oritron will also show a three- or five-disc DVD changer, the company said at press time.

Panasonic: The company is shipping two DVD shelf systems with five-disc DVD changers but will replace one of them and introduce two other new ones to expand its selection to three.

The SC-DV150 mini-component system, which features Dolby Digital decoding and five speakers at a suggested $999, stays in the line. The SC-DK1 minisystem at a suggested $799 will be replaced in June with the SC-DK3 with Dolby Digital decoder and five-disc changer at $699.

The second new model is the $599 SC-DK2, due in June with five-disc changer, Dolby Pro Logic decoding, and biamplification.

In HTiBs, Panasonic’s new $499-suggested SC-HT280 and $799 SC-HT80 packages each include a DD receiver, five satellites, and a powered subwoofer, but the receiver in the step-up package incorporates a built-in five-disc elevator-style DVD changer. They ship in April and March, respectively.

The 280 offers five DSP modes, 6 x 100 watts at 1kHz into 8 ohms, 100-watt powered sub, and universal remote. The 80 features six soundfields, advanced processing such as virtual rear surround and simulated stereo, wall-mountable satellites, and S-VHS input.

Philips: The company’s first DVD-equipped shelf system will be the FW-D1, due in August. Details were unavailable.

Proton: The PRO-10 — called an audio/video bookshelf system — is a two-channel system with AM/FM receiver, CD/DVD player, 2 x 15-watt amp, shielded detachable speakers, a 181-channel TV tuner, and 6.4-inch TFT color panel. Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1-channel decoding isn’t included. The suggested retail is $1,200.

Sony: The DAV-S300 HTiB system features a DVD-receiver and sub/sat speaker system at an estimated selling price of $600. It ships in the spring. Features include DD/DTS decoding, 150 watts, optical input for digital satellite system, onscreen GUI, color-coded speaker connectors to speed up connection, and preprogrammed AV remote.

Yamaha: Two new receiver/speaker packages are the $499-suggested YHT-17 with DD receiver and the $699 YHT-23 with DD/DTS receiver. In its previous lineup, a DD package started at $699.