New DVD Players Heading To Stores

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In new DVD player announcements from opposite ends of the market, Marantz said it will ship in July its first 301-disc DVD/CD changer, the $1,500-suggested-retail VC-8100, while Konka said it will offer a DTS-compatible single-play model, KD1800U1, for under $200.

Marantz joins a small fraternity of suppliers shipping DVD megachangers. Pioneer and Onkyo each offer a 301-disc model, and Sony and Escient offer 200-disc models.

Marantz's model features an RS-232 port for integration with distributed-audio systems and with Escient's PowerPlay CD/DVD disc-management controller, which autobuilds a database of information on stored DVDs and CDs. The database includes cover art and such disc data as title, artist, chapters, reviews and ratings.

The changer features component but not progressive-scan output. It requires the use of an outboard Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1-channel decoder for 5.1-channel playback. A random mode distinguishes CDs from DVDs so that DVDs aren't inadvertently accessed when the listener wants to play only CDs.

Escient's controller grabs disc data automatically from Escient's CDDB website after discs are loaded. The CDDB site stores text information on more than 3,300 DVD titles and about 420,000 CD titles and accesses a separate cover-art database to deliver cover art to the controller. Once the controller builds the database, a GUI displayed on a TV or other display device lets users select DVDs or CDs by cover art, genre, artist or disc title.

Konka USA's KD1800U1, meanwhile, will replace the KD1800U DVD player it introduced last year as one of the first less than $200 DVD players. The new unit will add pass-through compatibility with 5.1-channel DTS surround sound titles, in addition to the standard Dolby Digital system. Konka said the KD1800U1 keeps the $199 suggested retail price of the previous model.


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