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Denonís small yet stylish booth was demonstrating their new AVR-1803 and AVR-3803 receivers, which join their flagship AVR-5803 model. Although much less expensive ($499 and $1199, respectively), the new models donít skimp on features. The 7.1-channel AVR-3803 features a full complement of Dolby and DTS decoding formats, HDCD decoding, 110 watts into each channel, high-bandwidth component video switching, 7.1 stereo model, Burr-Brown 24-bit/192kHz D/A converters and multi-room capabilities. The 6.1-channel AVR-1803 offers 80 watts into each channel, Dolby Digital EX and Pro Logic II decoding, DTS ES Discrete 6.1 and Matrix 6.1 decoding, 5.1 analog inputs and multi-source/multi-room capabilities.
New progressive scan DVD players were also shown. The $429 DVM-1805 is a 5-disc DVD changer with 12-bit 54MHz video D/A converters and Faroudja DCDi processing for ultimate image quality. It also includes a 2mb buffer for uninterrupted playback during layer changes. The $329 DVM-900 is a single disc player with black level adjustment, auto aspect ratio function, MP3 playback CD-R and CD-RW compatibility.
Denonís Aktis touchscreen remote remains the same, although Denon recently updated its firmware with Windows XP compatibility, more devices and macro steps, page jumps, unused key and page removal, enhanced hard key programming and multiple simultaneous file editing.
On display almost everywhere was JVCís impressive D-VHS format. As one demonstrator commented while showing off his high-end gear, ďI canít believe itís 2002 and Iím demoing equipment with a tape formatĒ. D-VHSís main claim to fame is that it can record and play prerecorded HDTV material in all its 1080i glory Ė something that canít be done on any other consumer level equipment. Their new D-Theater format for D-VHS is gradually gathering support from the major studios, although movie releases are still incredibly slow to appear.
Several factors holding the D-VHS format back are its price Ė $1300 for a tape recorder is a lot to spend Ė and the fact that itís still a linear format that doesnít offer random access and (gasp!) needs to be rewound. Still, with a 28.2 Mbps data rate (higher than HDTV) and capability of recording up to 40 hours of SVHS-quality material on one tape, thereís no denying that itís an attractive proposition.
One of the more interesting products at JVCís booth was their Iíart 34Ē widescreen television, the AV-34WP84. This display upscales all images not to just 1080i, but to 1500i Ė thatís 39% higher vertical resolution than most HD displays. Of course, since there arenít any 1500i sources and this is only a 34Ē screen, the resolution enhancement seems wasted. Apply this technology to rear projection televisions or projectors and there might be something to celebrate.