Although music industry statistics show DVD-Audio and SACD software sales are on a par with vinyl LP sales, audio suppliers continue to demonstrate their support for the high-resolution multichannel music formats without taking sides.
Suppliers such as Yamaha, Denon and Sherwood have expanded their selections of universal DVD-Audio/SACD players. NAD, however, is focused on DVD-AV models.
Here's what's coming:
Denon: The company now offers a trio of universals with the launch of the $3,500-suggested DVD-5910, which is also its second with 1394 output for DVD-Audio/SACD signals. Its HDMI 1.1 output also transfers DVD-Audio. Like other Denon universals, it features separate decoders for SACD and DVD-Audio. It's the industry's first DVD player and second consumer product with Silicon Optix video processing previously available in $60,000 professional processors used by studios, broadcasters and post-production houses. It up-scales DVD content to HD and simultaneously distributes HD video over HDMI and DVI outputs while also delivering the same program in 480p over the component outputs. It also delivers detail enhancement, video noise reduction and reduces "jaggies" without softening the image. The audio DACs up-convert CD audio to higher bit, higher sampling rate signals.
Kenwood: The company plans a late-summer or early-fall launch of the industry's first universal DVD-Audio/SACD megachanger, a 400-disc model at about a suggested $1,200. When connected to a companion Ethernet-equipped home theater receiver, dubbed an audio/video control center by Kenwood, the receiver will download and store disc data and cover art accessible from an onscreen user interface. The receiver will retail for an approximate suggested $2,000.
Marantz: The DV7600, due in February at a suggested $1,099, is the second Marantz universal player to get an up-scaling HDMI output, joining the flagship DV9500. It features DVD-Audio/SACD bass management.
Sherwood: The first two Newcastle series universals are the $799-suggested SD-870 and $449 SD-860. The former, due in April, features up-converting HDMI output and a 1394 output for SACD/DVD-Audio signals. The latter ships in February.
Both play discs encoded in the following formats: MP3, WMA, JPEG, Kodak Picture CD, WMV video and DiVX video.
The 870 adds Faroudja DCDi video processing, RS 232C and improved audio and video DACs.
Yamaha: In expanding its selection of universal SACD/DVD-Audio players, the company is offering its first stand-alone integrated DVD-changer/receiver and two DVD players that are its first with HDMI outputs. One of those two is also the company's first DVD player with 1394 outputs for DVD-Audio and SACD.
The DVD-changer/receiver is the DVX-C300, due in April at a suggested $449 with 5.1-channel surround, five-disc changer, CD up-sampling to 176.4kHz, and surround-sound movie and music modes. It plays discs encoded in the following additional formats: MP3, WMA, DiVX video and JPEGs.
The two stand-alone universal players with HDMI output are the flagship DVD-S2500 player and more affordable DVD-C950 changer.
The single-disc S2500, due in January at a suggested $749, replaces the DVD-S2300MKII and adds new features, including 1394 output and an HDMI output that up-scales DVD video to 480p, 576p, 710p or 1,080i. The HDMI output also transports DVD-Audio in the digital domain to receivers. The 1394 output transports DVD-Audio and SACD in the digital domain.
The five-disc DVD-C950, due in April at a suggested $549, also features up-scaling HDMI output.
Both universals play discs encoded with MP3, WMA, JPEGs, DiVX video, Picture CD, DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW.