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Thomson Plans Step Ups For HTiBs, Portables

Thomson’s new eight-SKU HTiB lineup includes its first HTiB with DVD recorder, its first to up-convert DVD Video to high definition, and an expanded selection of three models with wireless surround speakers, up from one.

The new wireless surround models use 5.8GHz technology to eliminate interference with 2.4GHz wireless home networks, cordless phones, and microwave ovens.

The company also:

  • showed its next-generation HTiB with HDD music jukebox, stepping up capacity to 40GB from 20GB. It incorporates a music-title database to make it unnecessary to download the data from the Internet, and it adds five-disc changer to replace the single-disc version. The suggested retail drops to $599 from $799. Like before, it transfers music to a USB-connected MP3 portable.
  • launched its first two systems that control USB-connected HDD- and flash-based portable A/V devices. The devices’ audio and video content will appear in the HTiB’s on-screen menu and can be controlled from the HTiB remote. The systems will talk to any USB-based portable device, and the company hopes to incorporate iPod connectivity in one of the models.
  • added standard-definition DivX playback to three models, up from one.

Prices start at a suggested $349. Wireless surrounds start at a suggested $399.

In portable audio, the company announced:

  • that all of its headphone portables using flash memory or hard-disk drives for storage will support Windows Media Audio 10, thus allowing them to store and play back subscription downloads for as long as a consumer subscribes to a subscription-download service.

In addition, all flash-memory models will play back Audible spoken-word content.

  • unveiled a second-generation 20GB A/V portable media player (PMP) that, like its 20GB predecessor, records directly off a TV but now incorporates a time-shifting capability, allowing consumers to program the device to record a show in their absence. It ship in June for a suggested $449. It also supports WMA 10.
  • launched its first 5GB HDD portable.