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Meridian 800 Version 4

Meridian Audio continues to improve its already excellent model 800 Optical Disc Player.

In mid-December, the Huntingdon, UK–based technology company announced the latest updates to the 800, including support for High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) output and video input cards. The updates leverage the 800's "card-based architecture," enabling the addition of video switching cards originally designed for the model 861. The 800 Version 4 can be set up with Meridian’s new "Mconfig" application, which includes step-by-step configuration and graphic system design, according to the announcement.

Version 4 features new software with a modified "core" card complement offering what Meridian claims is "a significant increase in the quality and flexibility of the system." The new VI00 Video Input card is included along with the recently released VE12 HDMI/Progressive Component output card. These enable the 800 to be interfaced with a display via a single interconnect, the 800 providing video switching and scaling of internal and external video signals.

Outputs include two composite, two S-Video and one interlaced component video input, and studio-quality on-board video A/D conversion allows analogue video sources to be converted to the common broadcast resolution standard digital video format that is used internally in the 800. The VE12 provides HDMI output for compatible displays, and automatically handshakes with the display to determine the highest quality signal that can be provided by the player. The VE12 card also provides analog progressive component video out.

The 800 Version 4 also supports analog video input/switching cards designed originally for the 861 Digital Surround Controller, and includes the VE00 Video Encoder card, which generates NTSC or PAL (software switchable) in composite, S-video or component formats. Claimed benefits include "wide video bandwidth, low noise, and extended black level setting." The encoder allows adjustment of aspect ratio, picture position, brightness and contrast, and NTSC hue.

The 800 Version 4 is available in traditional Meridian black lacquer or a sleek new silver finish, with the latest MSR+ IR. Price is $18,000 to $20,000 depending on configuration.

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