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AUDIOPHILE AUDITION - web magazine for music, audio & home theater

May 26, 2004

TAG McLaren Sold - The high-end audio division of TAG McLaren, which announced a bit ago they were greatly reducing their production, has now been sold to International Audio Group (IAG), which also owns Quad and Wharfdale speakers. The company is Chinese-owned, based in the UK, and says they will continue to market under the TAG McLaren brand name for a limited time.

Hi-Def DVD War Rumbles - It now definitely looks like an idiotic format war of two competing hi-def systems will break out next year. Hard to believe that the movie industry wouldn’t want to have a single format for HD video product, as happened with standard DVDs, due to some head-knocking carried out by Warner Bros. But Warners now is one of the many studios and manufacturers behind HD DVD - an extension of the present DVD format (relying on many of its present patents). While Sony, Mitsubishi and Philips comprise the Blu-ray Disc Founders Group which promotes a more radical,higher-res, higher-capacity disc requiring an advanced blue laser for playback. The Blu-ray backers say their launch will be late 2005 or early 2006, thus prodding the HD DVD group to get moving faster as well. It looks like VHS vs. Beta all over again. Movies from a Blu-ray member such as Columbia/Sony Pictures will only be available in that format and not the other, and vice versa. As the Japanese say, Umbeedy!

SACD Progress Reported - At last week’s Home Entertainment 2004 Event in NYC Sony officials listed some of the following stats in support of their contention that the SACD format was in a very healthy condition: ABKCO’s Rolling Stones Remastered Series of SACDs sold over 2.2 million units. During 2003 over 1.3 million SACDs were shipped in the U.S. market. The worldwide discography for SACD is now over 2000 titles and about 100 additional being released per month - half of them multichannel discs. The core of the catalog is in the audiophile, classical and jazz areas. The Bob Dylan SACD Project has been so well-received that several more discs from the Dylan catalog will be issued. ABKCO will issue Greatest Hits SACDs from both The Animals and Herman’s Hermits. Universal has a new Sting SACD plus four classical titles and plan to release a dozen more classical SACDs later this summer. Koch Records will have 13 classic Kinks SACDs out in the fall. Sony has introduced several new SACD players, including one at only $130. Toshiba has moved from DVD-A-only players to universal players starting at $179. More than 118 SACD-compatible players are now being offered by 26 audio manufacturers.

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