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Meridian iRIS Universal iPod Dock - high-quality video on HD screens

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September 5, 2007

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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.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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