September 5, 2007 Meridian Audio is set to unveil a product later today at the 2007 CEDIA Expo which could have quite some significance if it delivers on its claims. A unique new enabler for the Apple’s iPod family, the Meridian iRIS Universal Dock for iPod accepts the full range of current iPod models and delivers battery charging and home audio-system integration and control. More importantly, the design features high-end video up-conversion processing (up to 1080p) that produces what it claims are astonishing images with clarity and detail, delivering true big-screen performance from iPod Video. The company claimsthe new dock can play iPod videos on the big screen, with big-screen quality, clarity, and freedom from video-noise, “jaggies,” or blocking-artifacts.
The Meridian iRIS design incorporates specialized video processing courtesy of its Qdeo digital processing engine from chip-maker Marvell. This empowers the Meridian iRIS to derive upscaled and upconverted video—including full-HD-format 1080-progressive mode—with unprecedented quality. Instead of the lower definition resolutions “native” to small-format iPod Video clips, downloaded video can be displayed on the large screen in HD-formatted full-screen video—up to 1080p on HDMI, or 1080i or 720p via the Meridian iRIS analog component-video outputs. Qdeo technology further incorporates advanced DSP for per-pixel, motion-adaptive video processing that corrects both colour and contrast losses.
“It’s not big news that the iPod continues to influence every aspect of home entertainment,” says Meridian co-founder and Chairman Bob Stuart. “But the video side of the ubiquitous portable’s capabilities has eluded effective usefulness in any sort of high-performance environment—until now. With the Meridian iRIS, Meridian can offer astonishingly good big-screen playback on today’s HD displays, from an affordable device that features simple, ‘dock-and-hit-play’ usability.”
The Meridian iRIS circular design provides a standard Apple 30-pin dock connector on its top surface, accepting any current or recent “3G” iPod or iPod Video model, while its rear edge includes HDMI, component, and standard-def S-Video and composite video outputs, plus coax and optical digital-audio, and headphone and line-level analog-audio outputs. There’s also an HDMI input to accept an outboard non-iPod source such as a DVD player or game-console, and a simple source-select button to switch between a docked iPod and an external source—so the iRIS needn’t “use up” an HDMI input on the home system. Another simple iRIS button selects video format/aspect-ratio, matching the displayed clip to the home screen. A third automatically synchronizes the iPod with a computer linked via USB.
Volume up/down keys complete the very simple and entirely intuitive iRIS controls. However, the Meridian solution also supplies a compact wireless remote controller that commands the docked iPod as well as the Meridian iRIS itself, and since Meridian iRIS displays iPod menus on-screen in the same format and organization as on the portable itself, there’s no new interface to learn.
Meridian’s iRIS Universal Dock for iPod is available November, at a manufacturer’s suggest price of US$379.