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Sherwood Taps Into HD Video, XM Radio, USB

Sherwood is coming to CES with its first two 1,080p-upscaling A/V receivers and first two receivers with built-in decoding of all HD DVD and Blu-ray surround sound formats.

The company is also expanding its selection of XM-ready A/V receivers. Five of six new A/V receivers in the Sherwood and Newcastle series are XM-ready at prices down to a suggested $400. Only one SKU was XM-ready in 2006.

All but the entry-level $180 A/V receiver feature the latest version (1.3) of HDMI inputs and outputs.

Other new feature developments include the company’s first two models with USB host, first two with XM-Neural Surround, first two to deliver Dolby Virtual Speaker through a zone-two output, and first three-zone A/V receiver.

Three new Sherwood Newcastle receivers start with the $400-suggested R-672, due in the first quarter with XM-ready capability, automatic room equalization, HDMI switching and 7×100-watt amplifier.

The other three models, due in the second quarter, start with the $600-suggested R772. It adds multisource/dual-zone capability, RS-232 port, analog-video up-conversion, and automatic switching from 7.1-channel mode to 5.1 channels plus two stereo channels when zone two is engaged. The $1,000 R872 adds decoding of all HD DVD and Blu-ray surround codecs, conversion of analog video to HDMI, 1,080p up-scaling via HDMI, Neural Surround to deliver Neural-encoded XM channels in surround sound, USB host input and zone-two output with Dolby Virtual Speaker.

At $1,500 suggested, the Newcastle R-972 adds decoding of all high-definition disc surround formats, 4×1 HDMI switching and Audyssey’s version of room equalization.

In the Sherwood series, the $400 RD-7502 is XM-ready and features 7×100-watt amp, automatic room equalization and 2×1 HDMI switching. It’s available. A 5.1-channel receiver, the $180-suggested RD-6200, ships in the first quarter.

Also in the Sherwood series, the company’s first two-zone stereo receiver with 4×100-watt amplifier and ability to play two sources simultaneously. It’s the $300-suggested RX-4501.