Denon is adding HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs and HD audio decoding to all 10 new A/V receivers (AVRs) for the 2010 model year at suggested retails ranging from $249 to $1,999.
With the 10 new AVRs, Denon is also lowering its opening price point for HD Radio to $599 from $1,499, for networked AVRs to $999 from $1,499, and Audyssey DSX post processing to $999 from $1,999.
The starting price for HD audio decoding of all Blu-ray surround formats was previously $349.
In other A/V developments announced during a New York press conference on Monday, the company:
• expanded its selection of universal Blu-ray players to four from two, bringing the opening prices of Blu-ray/DVD-Audio/SACD players down to a suggested $399 from $1,999. The new $399 DBP-1611UD and new $799 DBP-2011UDCI will also be the company’s first Blu-ray players to play 3D Blu-ray discs when a firmware upgrade is available in the fall.
• expanded the network capabilities of its Blu-ray players. The two new universal models are the brand’s first BD players to stream audio, video and photos from a networked PC and to stream video content — other than BD Live content — directly from the Internet. The new models connect directly to the Internet to stream NetFlix movies and YouTube video.
• launched six new headphones to expand its selection to 14, including four models with a three-button remote and microphone compatible with Apple Voice Control on the iPhone 3GS, iPod Touch 2G and latest-generation Shuffle.
• expanded the connectivity of its products to more home-control systems with the announcement that 13 current and new products have been certified to integrate with Control 4’s IP-based home-control systems.
In other custom-related announcements, Denon:
• upped its warranty to three years in CI models from the $899 AVR-2311CI and up; and
• announced plans to bring Crestron compatibility of Denon components to market faster by creating Creston-system software modules on its own.
In AVRs, HDMI 1.4a repeater inputs and outputs will pass through all 3D formats, including all broadcast 3D formats, mandated in the 1.4a standard. In all but the $249 AVR, the 1.4a outputs also support HDMI 1.4’s Audio Return Channel (ARC).
Pro Logic IIz post processing appears in all new AVRs down to $349, like before. The technology adds two height channels to a 5.1- or 7.1-channel system. Audyssey DSX, now starting at $999 instead of $1,999, adds two front-height and two left-right wide channels to a 5.1 or 7.1-channel system and appears in the new $999 AVR-991. Audyssey DSX also appear in the carryover $2,999 AVR-4810CI, which was introduced late last year.
Dolby IIz delivers multichannel surround with two front-height channels from mono, two-channel and multichannel sources, while Audyssey DSX adds two height and two front-wide channels to sources with 5.1 or more discrete channels, the company said.
Ethernet connectivity to stream PC content and Internet radio starts at $999, down from $1,499. The networked models also access the free Pandora Internet music service and the Flickr photo-sharing site. The new networked AVRs join current networked AVRs in being compatible with Windows 7 home-networking features.
As for HD Radio, reception expands to six AVRs starting at $599, down from a previous opening price of $1,499. HD Radio appears in the three new CI series AVRs at $899, $1,199, and $1,999 and in the $599 7.1-channel AVR-1911.
The 2010 AVR selection also expands the selection of 9.3-channel AVRs in the custom series to two with the launch of the $1,999 AVR-4311CI. It joins the current 9.3-channel AVR-4810CI, introduced late last year at $2,999.
Also in the 2010 AVR lineup, all AVRs feature iPod-dock inputs, but models starting at $499 feature iPod Digital Direct via USB along with iPhone certification.
Analog-video-to-HDMI conversion starts at $349, and 1080p up-scaling starts at $499. Products that integrate with Control4 systems include select current AVRs priced down to a suggested $849, two current universal Blu-ray players, and a handful of new AVRs starting at $899. Select components already integrate with integrated home systems from Crestron, AMX and RTI and with remotes from Universal.
Two of three new AVRs in the CI series — the $1,199 AVR-3311CI and the $899 AVR-2311CI — ship in June, and the $1,999 AVR-4311CI ships in September. The seven other AVRs priced from $249 to $999 ship between May and July. The $399 DBP-1611UD universal Blu-ray player ships in June, and the $799 DBP-2011UDCI universal player ships in August in the CI series.
In Blu-ray players, the company will carry over current universal players, which lack 3D capability, at $1,999 and $4,499.