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Sharp Adds Wall-Mount Components

Wall-hanging and pedestal-mount components are the key elements in a trio of home theater-oriented audio components that Sharp plans to unveil at CES.

All three feature vertically oriented components, universal SACD/DVD-A/V playback, and proprietary 1-bit digital amplification. They will be available in early 2004 to A/V specialists that want to combine them with other brand-speaker systems, including wall-hanging speakers, to create their own plasma-friendly HTiB systems.

Sharp said it isn’t planning equivalent systems for broader distribution in 2004.

The $1,299-suggested retail SD-HX600 consists of a wall- or stand-mountable DVD tuner and companion 1-bit digital amplifier designed to blend in with a wall-hanging flat-panel display. The speakerless HTiB system upconverts composite and S-video to component video and downconverts component video to S-video and composite.

A second system, the $999-suggested SD-HX500, is also a two-piece wall- and stand-mountable model, but it lacks video up/down conversion.

Both systems feature a slender, silver-toned aluminum chassis packed with high-speed 1-Bit digital amplification, Dolby Digital and DTS decoding, and single-disc SACD/ DVD-Audio progressive-scan DVD system. Both systems also come with wall-mounting brackets.

Like Klipsch’s new speaker-equipped KES-6100 HTiB system, the SD-HX600 will downconvert standard-definition (SD) component-video output to S- or composite-video but won’t downconvert HD component output to S or composite. At press time, Sharp wasn’t sure whether the HX600’s component-video switching bandwidth was wide enough to pass through a high-definition (HD) source with little or no degradation.

A third Sharp system, the $499-suggested retail SD-PX2, is vertically oriented like the others but is intended only for pedestal mounting with included pedestal. It’s a one-piece 8-b-13.5-by-3.88-inch DVD receiver with single-disc progressive-scan universal player and Dolby Digital/DTS decoding.

Boston Acoustics recently launched a speaker-equipped home theater system with video up/downconversion but with slightly different functionality. The $3,999-suggested Avidea 770 DVD-equipped electronics/speaker package upconverts composite and S-video to component, but it doesn’t downconvert component video. It downconverts S- video to composite, however.