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European Custom Installer

System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Theater

Marantz Adds SR7012 AVR, AV7704 Preamp

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The Marantz home cinema line-up gets a pair of additions-- the SR7012 network AV receiver and the AV7704, a multi-channel AV preamplifier/processor successor to the current AV7703.

Marantz SR7012The SR7012 is a 9.2-channel network AVR with 11.2 channel processing capability. It includes a 192kHz/32-bit digital to analog converter block with a clock jitter reducer for more precise and high-quality sound, while each channel provides 125W of power to drive a full 5.1.4 home cinema setup without need for additional external amplifiers.

Another addition is integration with the Amazon Home Entertainment skill, enabling voice commands through the Amazon smart assistant. Commands include power on/off, track skip and volume, among others. Meanwhile built-in HEOS technology allows users to enjoy music anywhere in the home through HEOS app, and wireless connectivity via Bluetooth and AirPlay allow streaming from any compatible device.

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The Next Apple TV Feature: 4K HDR Video?

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The leaked HomePod firmware remains treasure trove of potential future Apple device features-- the latest being developer Guilhereme Rambo's discovery of a reference to a 4K HDR display mode.

Apple TVThe HomePod lacks a display, and the only Apple devices with native 4K capability are the latest iMac models, suggesting the disovery pertains to the Apple TV. In addition, Rambo discovered strings kCADisplayModeDolby and kCADisplayModeHDR10, suggesting a future Apple TV might even include support for the Dolby Vision and HDR10 colour formats.

Lending further credibility to such rumours is the fact Apple is listing select movies as 4K and HDR in the iTunes purchase history. This was discovered by MacRumors forum member Tomas Jackson, who shared a screenshot of his purchase history of the 2016 film Passengers. It lists as "Movie (4K, HDR)." However, as it currently stands the film can only be played in 720p and 1080p resolution, with no HDR.

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Meridian Adds Immersion With 271 Digital Theatre Controller

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Meridian announces the 271 digital theatre controller-- a means to allow installers to integrate any analogue or digital AV processor on the market with Meridian DSP (Digital Signal Processing) loudspeakers.

Meridian 271The 271 incorporates Meridian High Resolution (MHR) technology, and supports 16 channels of analogoue audio on any combination of single-ended or balanced input connections (RCA or 2 x 8 channel DB25 connectors). It offers 16 + 4 digital audio outputs on SpeakerLine connections/unbalanced RCA connectors for easy integration of Meridian DSP speakers with passive loudspeakers.

Meanwhile balanced digital input options support 16 channels of digital audio fed from processors from manufacturers including Trinnov, Datasat and Storm Audio (x2 RJ45 and x1 DB25). The 271 can also be integrated into an existing system with an IP controlled setup and configuration platform, as well as control modules for a number of 3rd party systems.

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Sony Pro Preps UBP-X1000ES 4K Blu-ray Player

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Sony announces the European launch of the X1000ES-- a high-end 4K/UHD Blu-ray player aimed at custom installers, making ideal for advanced home theatre AV systems.

Sony X1000ESThe X1000ES is compatible with UHD Blu-ray discs, as well as 4K and HDR video streaming. It uses a Sony developed Precision HD drive to maintain consistent performance with virtually every optical disc format, including DVD Video and DVD Audio, CD and SA-CD, Blu-ray 3D and BD-ROM media, and handles a variety of video codecs to deliver 4K streams from the likes of Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube.

A dedicated picture mode for HDR content is included, along with video processing to upscale 1080p content in a "near" 4K 60p resolution. A unique Sony algorithm reproduces the intended brightness and colour gradations of 4K HDR content when played on a 4K SDR TV, providing the best picture quality.

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Oppo Blu-ray Players Get Dolby Vision

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The Oppo UDP-203 and UDP-205 UHD Blu-ray players are the first to receive Dolby Vision support via firmware update, in addition to the HDR-10 spec all UHD Blu-ray players support.

Oppo UDP-2013The OPPO UDP-203 and UDP-205 support 4K UlHD Blu-ray disc playback, as well as regular Blu-ray and DVD. Packing a resolution of up to 3840 x 2160 pixels, UHD Blu-ray delivers four times the pixels of regular Blu-ray. Prior to the Dolby Vision upgrade, the UDP-203/205 already supported HDR10 (High Dynamic Range) and Wide Colour Gamut.

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Denon Intros Entry-Tier AVR-X540BT

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Denon presents an AV receiver option for the more budget-conscious customer-- the AVR-X540BT, a 4K-ready 5.1-channel model feauturing Bluetooth streaming.

Denon AVRThe AVR-X540BT lacks 3D audio decoding, since it sticks with standard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio support. However it ramps up on the wireless streaming, being able to remember up to 8 paired Bluetooth devices. Such devices can also double as a controller, since the 500 Series Remote app offers functions such as on/off, volume up/down, mute and source selection.

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Onkyo Activates Built-in Chromecast

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Onkyo releases a firmware update to activate the Chromecast built-in audio audio streaming and voice control capability (via Google Home) in select 2016 home theatre and audio components.

Onkyo AVRChomecast built-in is the Google audio streaming platform allowing customers to share a wide selection of music, internet radio, podcasts and other programs from enabled apps. It is supported by iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android devices, Chromebooks and the Chrome browser on Mac, Windows and Linux PCs.

Streaming operates on 5/2.4GHz wifi for streaming with less buffering and fewer dropouts, and supports sampling rates of up to 48kHz for lossless sources. One can also use other apps during streaming, and no special device setup, password entry or pairing process is required.

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