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New Multichannel Music Players Due

McIntosh’s first DVD-Audio/Video player and new SACD/DVD-Video players from Philips are in development, the companies said during the recent Home Entertainment 2002 show here.

Meantime, Meridian denied a report that it plans to market SuperAudio CD. It will continue to offer DVD-Audio exclusively, a spokesman said.

At the show, McIntosh demonstrated an engineering prototype of its first DVD-Audio/Video player, and Philips said it is targeting October for shipment of a single-disc SACD/DVD-Video player, the DVD963SA, that will up-sample CDs to 192kHz/24-bit performance.

At McIntosh’s display, executives said the company’s first DVD-A/V player is due to ship in September at a suggested $3,500. It will feature built-in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoding and long-lasting blue LEDs instead of light bulbs to illuminate the front-panel display. The company declined further comment until the product’s launch at September’s CEDIA Expo.

For its part, Philips said the DVD963SA SACD/DVD-Video player due in October will offer such new features for Philips as advanced SACD bass management and ability to up-sample CD audio to 192kHz/ 24-bit performance. Advanced bass management, which will let users independently set each speaker’s low-pass crossover point, will be useful in home theater systems with full-range speakers up front, small speakers in the rear, and no subwoofer, said DVD marketing manager Matt Bereda. Street retail will be around $599, and it might replace the $599-street DVD962SA due to ship in June.

The DVD962SA is also a single-disc model that, like the 963SA, features Faroudja progressive-output chip and built-in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1-channel decoders. Its original January ship date was pushed back because of engineering delays and a decision to market it first in Europe rather than in the United States, Bereda said.

A $249-street SACD/DVD-Video player is also due from Philips in July. The DVD763SA, which will ship in place of the cancelled SACD900, features built-in DD/DTS 5.1 decoding and SACD bass management. Philips chose to go with the 763 because of its feature set and cosmetics, Bereda said. The 900 was originally targeted to ship in January.

Philip’s first SACD/DVD player, the SACD1000, was reduced in price in May to an everyday $999 from $1,499. It lacks SACD bass management.