A few years ago for Kay’s birthday, I bought her an integrated 5.1 sound system and DVD player (and VCR), which is also able to decode the Dolby ProLogic II output from our GameCube and PlayStation 2 into a full surround-sound gaming experience. The whole family loved it. It was the Rio HT2030 from SonicBlue.
Then SonicBlue went bankrupt.
A few months ago, our gizmo started having trouble reading discs; it kept spitting them back. Finally the disc tray would not stay retracted even when it was empty. We continued playing games with the device sticking its tongue out at us.
I didn’t know how to resolve the problem. Could a local electronics shop fix the disc tray? If they needed to replace a custom part that no longer exists, that wouldn’t have worked. Besides, the device is the heart of our gaming center. If it disappeared, the family would rebel.
For her birthday yesterday, Kay wanted to go shopping for some kind of replacement. We found the Zenith ZHX-313 home theater system which looked remarkably like our dead Rio. In fact, when I compared the user manuals, the illustrations were the same! It seems Zenith bought the guts of the Rio HT2030 and gave it a fresh face. Not bad for $155 — I figure it would have cost that much to get the old system repaired. Whew!
Update: Nathan Stryker bought a similar system. So similar, in fact, that it looks like more than one company bought the HT2030 design. I’ve never heard of Insignia, but it looks like they offer several interesting home theater products for the budget-conscious.