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AC-3Dolby Digital Sound Format (used in movies)
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Besides the requisite five-speaker home theater setup, consumers will have to purchase an AC-3 receiver/processor, an AC-3-ready laserdisc player and AC-3 encoded laserdisc software to get AC-3 sound.
Brian Miller, audio buyer for Tandy Corp.'s Incredible Universe, said AC-3 buyers may want to upgrade their two rear surround sound speakers to full-range speakers.
Speaker makers are gearing up for the arrival of AC-3. Miller said some manufacturers will put special stickers on speakers that can be used with AC-3 Surround Sound.
Audio makers were quick to concede that AC-3 sales this year will be barely measurable.
In place of a dedicated AC-3 receiver, Yamaha will introduce an AC-3 decoding box that can be used with Yamaha's new seven-channel receiver model RX-V2090 which has a suggested retail price of $1,499.
Most major electronics specialty and superstore chains contacted said they plan to offer AC-3 home theater demonstration.
Tandy Corp.'s Incredible Universe plans to install an AC-3 demonstration area in two of its four home theater rooms as soon as AC-3 products begin shipping, said Rich Hollander, vice president and general manager of Incredible Universe.
"The reality is that speciality retailers is where AC-3 will get sold to leading-edge customers who want to get the state of the art."
Denon's Baker said other specialty retailers will jump at the chance to carry AC-3. "I don't think that there will be any problem convincing our type of distribution to invest in higher-priced product, whether it's $2,000 or more, to be able to demonstrate new product.
Denon will position its AC-3 receiver as premium technology.
Baker said Denon's first AC-3 units will be priced "somewhere between $1,600 and $2,000." The company will offer offer lower-priced AC-3 receivers and integrated amplifiers in the first half of 1996, Baker said.