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Kenwood Eyes Plasma Owners, Video Game Users

Kenwood will sprinkle a variety of technologies into its expanded selection of 11 new HTiB systems, including Dolby Virtual Speaker and Dolby Headphone, Dolby Pro Logic IIx and wireless surround-channel speakers.

Most come with cosmetics that integrate with flat-panel displays, all come with powered sub, and two come with features said to appeal to gamers.

The selection starts with a 5.1-channel receiver/speaker package at a suggested $270 with HD component-video switching. The step-up is a $400-suggested package that adds 6×120-watt receiver, DD EX, DTS ES, Dolby Pro Logic IIx and separate single-disc DVD player.

The remaining incorporate plasma-friendly cosmetics, including a Fineline receiver design. Some add an matching slim-line DVD player, and most feature slim, plasma-friendly speakers, many of which are wall-mountable.

Plasma-friendly design starts with the $300-suggested HTB-S310 receiver/speaker package with wall-mountable speakers and 5×100-watt receiver with DD EX, DTS ES, and Dolby Pro Logic IIx. The step-up at $400, the HTB-S310DV, adds a slimline single-disc DVD player with progressive output and MP3/WMA playback. The $400 HTB-S610 is basically the same system without DVD player but with wireless surround speakers. At $500, the HTB-S610DV adds a slimline DVD player.

Two new systems, each with six-channel amplification, are designed to appeal to videogamers with such features as Dolby Headphone and Dolby Virtual Surround, dual-source speaker and headphone outputs, and auto detection of a front-panel A/V input. The two systems start with the $700-suggested HTB-S710DV, which features 6×110-watt receiver with digital amplification, single-disc slimline DVD, and universal remote. At $800, the HTB-S715DV adds thin tower left-right speakers.

The PC-networkable NHT-S810DV retails for a suggested $1,000.

Two new systems feature an integrated DVD receiver. They are the $250-suggested DVT-6300 and the plasma-friendly $350 DVT-7300 with thin speakers.