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Exclusive: New Meridian DVD-A Player, Updated AV Preamp Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 August 2002
The Trickle Down Theory: it sure didn’t work for Ronald Regan but it is a runaway success for Meridian who this week will announce a new DVD-Audio player called the 598 that can output a digital 5.1 high resolution signal much like Meridian’s flagship $16,000 DVD player, the 800.

The base price on the 598 will be $5,195 and can be configured with Meridian’s Smart Link which is the only commercially available digital DVD-Audio connection on the market. The 598 has a 5.1 analog output option and a progressive video option both priced separately at $500. The 598, much like the 800, benefits from Meridian’s own navigation software called Smart Content which unlike other high end DVD players successfully reads most every disc known to man including, DVD-Audio, CD, CDR, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-V and many more. Since the standards for all of the commercial AV discs are not exactly rock solid, Meridian developed Smart Content to be software upgradeable so that if they find discs that don’t read on one of their players, they can quickly and easily get a solution to the units in the field.

A digital out on your DVD-Audio player is only a benefit if you have a preamp that can accept a digital, high resolution 5.1 input. Up until now Meridian’s 861 was the only option but Meridian has an new version of their more affordable AV preamp known as the 568.2 mm. The 568.2 mm is priced at $6,995 and can be configured with a digital input option at $7,745. The 568 is loaded with a new processor that has four times the computing power of their last processor in the 568 with the hopes of being able to keep up with new technologies as they emerge via software and firmware upgrades. The 568.2 mm comes loaded with nearly every conceivable surround option including DTS ES (6.1) THX EX (7.1), Dolby Digital, DTS and many more. The 568.2 mm also comes loaded with Meridian’s own surround modes including their tasty tri-field mode which tastefully blends a center channel into stereo music. More importantly, the 568.2 upconverts music and movies in 8 total channels to 24/96 content. While we’d like every DVD or CD we buy to sound as good as a DVD-Audio disc, they simply don’t. The Meridian allows you to dramatically improve the sound of your library of music and movies without any fuss.

There are many significant upgrades in these two new Meridian components but none are more important than their digital connection for 5.1 surround. Meridian has accomplished what the audio-video community still has not in terms of getting the music industry to agree that a digital connection between a high resolution music source and preamp is actually securely encrypted. At over $30,000 for a Meridian 800-861 DVD/AVpreamp combination, the technology existed for the 1/10th of one percent of music and movie enthusiasts who can afford the units. With the 568.2 mm and 598 priced in closer to $13,000 consumers have a groundbreaking opportunity to own a cutting edge music and movie playback system at a much more affordable price.

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