The all-digital HDMI cable has become all important, connecting both video and multichannel audio between HDTVs and DVD players. More AV receivers are featuring hi-def video uprezzing to 720p and 1080i, and some even take it all the way to 1080p to match the resolution of the new 1080p displays. The latest AV receivers will have native decoding of all the surround codecs offered on both of the new hi-def DVD formats, using the new HDMI 1.3 version connections. Stimulated by sales of flat-panel TV displays, more hang-on-the-wall and in-wall speaker systems are being offered, as well as all-in-one surround speakers which use special processing to give surround effects from a single cabinet – sometimes in conjunction with a subwoofer for a 2.1 surround system.
New Promotion of HD Radio – New radio ads have begun promoting the availability of receivers for the new HD Radio technology of heavily compressed digital broadcasting on the same frequencies as used by present analog FM and AM stations. iBiquity – originator of the system, which is unique to the U.S. vs. the rest of the world – hopes to sweeten the pot with $25 and $50 product rebates. More than 600 HD Radio Alliance stations will run the commercials in the top 68 markets, announcing that HD radios are being now offered by RadioShack and Circuit City, as well as Amazon, Crutchfield, Cambridge SoundWorks, Tweeter and JVC. Additional marketing efforts will include print ads, inclusion in catalogs, online and in-store campaigns.