CEDIA 2003: DVD-Audio and SACD from Sharp, JVC, Escient, Faroudja and Panasonic

CEDIA 2003: Sharp, JVC, Escient, Faroudja and Panasonic were among the manufacturers demonstrating high-resolution DVD-Audio and SACD solutions in Indianapolis this week.

Sharp introduced their first vertically mounted 1-bit audio systems, all of which are designed to be placed upon a wall or in a tight space (with the user’s choice of loudspeakers) and will make their debut early next year. The new systems all include a progressive-scan capable DVD player which boasts DVD-Audio and SACD compatibility.

The $1,200 SD-HX500 is a two-piece design that incorporates a 100watt per channel amplifier and single-disc loading mechanism. The SD-HX600, priced at $1,500, enhances the SD-HX500 design by adding an independent audio/video switcher, which can be located away from the main control unit and handles four additional sources equipped with composite, S-Video and component video inputs, analogue or digital audio, the latter via optical TosLink terminals. The line-up concludes with the $700 SD-PX2 controller, it boasts five individual 35watt 1-bit digital power amplifiers for “enhanced performance”.

The SD-HX600 and SD-HX500 both have onboard Dolby Digital and DTS decoders with comprehensive bass management together with an AM/FM tuner. The SD-PX2 adds Dolby Pro-Logic II.

Mark Knox, Director, Digital Media Devices, Sharp Electronics Corporation: “Consumers are searching for high performance home theater solutions that are as stylish as the latest flat panel displays. These new 1-bit audio systems answer the call with the latest digital amplification technology, combined with exceptional style.

Meanwhile, amongst a whole host of new video products, JVC debuted their latest flagship receiver, the RX-DP20VBK. According to the press information, it will boast THX Ultra 2 certification and is said to be “compatible with new high-resolution audio formats”. Whether that means a standard analogue 5.1 input or a high-resolution digital interface isn’t clear…

One of the most interesting introductions at the show came from Escient in the form of their FireBall DVDM-100 disc management system, said to be available from November onwards priced in the region of $2,000.

The latest iteration of the popular FireBall series, the DVDM-100 has been designed to operate with DVD ‘megachangers’ from Sony, Pioneer and Kenwood.

An ability to route Internet radio and integrate into multi-room systems together with disc information from the OpenGlobe DVD library, the DVDM-100 boasts those all-important 5.1 analogue terminals in order to output DVD-Audio (from the Kenwood changer) and/or SACD (with the addition of a Sony DVD changer).

Faroudja, now under the control of Genesis Microchip Inc., were showing their recently introduced DVP2000 Digital Video Processor. This unique product incorporates a DVD transport (with DVD-Audio and SACD capabilities) with HDTV cross-conversion and selectable output scan rate, deinterlacing, scaling and image processing.

The HDTV Cross-Conversion feature converts 480p, 720p and 1080i signals to the native rate of the display in use to give the highest possible image quality. Analogue inputs also facilitate the processing of external video sources, DVI, RGB or component.

In the audio stages, data is buffered and re-clocked prior to decoding. Aside from the requisite analogue outputs, the $15,000 DVP2000 also offers three digital outputs, both S/P-DIF and AES/EBU for Dolby Digital, DTS and PCM sources.

At the other end of the spectrum, Panasonic, busy demonstrating their new EP1061K massage chair, also introduced a plethora of new home-theatre-in-a-box systems, and they all support DVD-Audio playback! Deep breath… we have the progressive-scan capable SC-MT1, SC-ST1 and SC-HT900, which ship with a matching set of loudspeakers and subwoofer, alongside the SC-HT800V, SC-HT810V, SC-HT425D and SC-HT405D boasting Panasonic’s HighMAT technology, co-developed with Microsoft.