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Fall preview 2012: Home theater

CNET previews the latest home theater tech coming out this fall, including Simple.TV's innovative over-the-air DVR and the Logitech UE Smart Radio.

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Matthew Moskovciak
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1 of 7 Matthew Moskovciak/CNET

Simple.TV

Price: $150

Availability: Late September

The outlook: At CES 2012, CNET awarded Simple.TV's innovative over-the-air DVR a Best of CES award in the Home Theater category. The company didn't quite hit its spring release target, but it looks to be finally coming out by the end of September. Its low price and lack of a required monthly fee make it one of the most intriguing home theater products in a long time.

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Logitech UE Smart Radio

Price: $180

Availability: September

The outlook: Logitech is completely rethinking the Squeezebox brand and the UE Smart Radio shows the way forward. It's a tabletop radio with a built-in 6 hour battery and its simplified (some would say stripped-down) software is aiming to bring streaming music to a larger audience than the geekier Squeezebox products.

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Sony STR-DA2800ES

Price: $1,000

Availability: September

The outlook: The STR-DA2800ES, along with the step-up STR-DA5800ES, are the first consumer-level AV receivers to offer built-in home automation functionality. That could open up home automation as an option to a much wider audience; $1,000 is still a pricey AV receiver, but it's much less than hiring a pricey custom-installer.

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Atlantic Technology PB-235 PowerBar

Price: $900

Availability: September

The outlook: There's no doubt that Atlantic Technology wants a lot of cash for its PB-235 sound bar, but it's making a big promise too: deep bass without the need for a subwoofer. Usually we'd dismiss that as the usual manufacturer fluff, but we've heard good things about Atlantic's H-PAS technology on other products. This could be a killer (albeit pricey) entry into the increasingly crowded sound bar market.

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5 of 7 Roku

Roku Streaming Stick

Price: TBD

Availability: 2012

The outlook: The pitch is simple: an entire Roku box packed into an oversized dongle. Roku's Streaming Stick uses the bleeding-edge MHL port to connect to your HDTV, which will limit its appeal at first since MHL is only available on a few TV. But the arrangement is undeniably attractive and points to the future of streaming video.

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6 of 7 Sony

Sony NSZ-GP9

Price: TBD

Availability: 2012

The outlook: It's hard to describe Google TV as anything but a flop, but products keep trickling out with interesting new twists. The Sony NSZ-GP9's remote has a built-in mic, which will allow it to be the first Google TV to take full advantage of the platform voice search capabilities without using a separate smartphone. That's probably not enough to overcome Google TV's software limitation, but it's a step in the right direction.

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Klipsch HD Theater SB 3

Price: $800

Availability: Fall

The outlook: Everybody's making a budget sound bar, but there are a lot less options if you're looking for high performance. The $800 price tag puts the Klipsch HD Theater firmly in the "premium" market and the company claims its the first sound bar to use a horn-loaded design. We'll need to have a listen to see if that leads to a better sound speaker--and it better for $800.

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