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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for March 21, 2001
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Delos Opts in Favor of SACD - Delos International has been one of the small labels recording in multichannel form for some years now. They have released a number of matrix surround CDs under their VR2 designation and their first SACD release is a two-channel Mahler Second Symphony. Although they released a few special music surround video DVDs some time ago, Delos has decided not to pursue DVD-Audio. They feel recording via DSD serves classical music better than PCM digital, that the audiophile community is leaning heavily towards SACD, and that the only way DVD-A will be accepted by the ordinary consumer is if it employs a strong video component - and Delos finds that too gimmicky for classical music releases. So the label will focus its energy on SACD.

Sony and Universal's Online Music Business - This summer a new copyright-secure alternative to Napster is planned by label leaders Sony and Universal. It is as yet undecided whether "Duet" will be a monthly subscription service with possible additional fees paid for specific listening/downloads, or whether distributors of the service will deliver it and then bill customers. The two labels are trying to get other music labels to join in the venture since Napster had music from many different sources. If Napster is closing down users will probably switch to the several other free music services, so a major label effort toward secure downloads may possibly be too late.

First TV With Built-In Hard Drive Video Recorder - Panasonic recently announced the marriage of a 27-inch TV with a 30-hour Replay Personal Video Recorder. [We reviewed the 60-hour standalone Panasonic Replay PVR last month in AUDIOPHILE AUDITION.] The many advantages of a hard drive video recorder were mentioned, and this new step - which will surely be the first of many - should convince customers to go for the amazingly versatility and efficiency of a PVR. Users can record (can't say "tape" anymore!) favorite shows automatically and even watch them from the beginning while they are being recorded, skip instantly over commercials, and there is no monthly subscription fee. The shorter internal wiring from tuner to PVR probably enhances the already far superior-to-VHS image and sound quality.

- John Sunier

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