Pioneer Seeks Higher State Of Décor Consciousness

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To eliminate objections from the decor-minded, Pioneer plans to offer HTiBs with plasma-friendly speakers and with a proprietary technology that it adopted for the first time to deliver a 5.1-channel soundfield without traditionally located surround speakers.

The company is also expanding its use of wireless surround speakers from one to two HTiBs.

Two new 5.1-channel HTZ-series systems are the HTZ-740 with plasma-friendly cylindrical floor-standing left-right speakers, a complement of small center-channel and surround speakers, and a single-discs DVD-receiver. The step-up HTZ-950 uses NXT flat-panel speaker technology for all full-range channels and adds DVD-Audio and SACD playback capability to the single-disc DVD receiver.

The HTZ-740 also features proprietary "front-surround" technology, which delivers a surround-sound effect when the included surround speakers are mounted on top of the main left-right speakers. Pioneer uses DSP and angled drivers to produce the virtual surround channels.

Pricing was unavailable.

Front-surround technology also appears in one of two new HTD series HTiBs. The $399 HTD-540 also features a five-disc universal SACD/DVD-AV changer.

Another HTD series system, the $399-MAP HTD-645, comes with 2.4GHz wireless surround speakers. It also comes with a five-disc universal SACD/DVD-A/V changer.

Wireless surrounds also come with one of two new HTP systems, which feature receiver but no DVD player. Their street prices are $299 with wired surrounds and $499 with wireless surrounds.

As in the current HTiB lineup, three 2004-series HTiBs come with a universal DVD player.

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