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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Oct. 3, 2001


Latest on the high-res audio format battle - This month's special SACD and DVD-Audio issue of AUDIOPHILE AUDITION brings up the question of which of these formats will win out. Industry experts feel that in the difficult economic climes today - made worse by the 9/11 tragedy - only one format can be successful in the end. They also feel that the forcing of copy protection schemes by the music industry and their refusal to provide six-channel digital outputs for high end users is badly damaging both the SACd and DVD-A camps. Most of the public is waiting because of the expense of adding much more new equipment than just the player of choice.

Talk is of less expensive universal players using a newly-introduced chip, and prices have come down from the $5000-$6000 first generation area to the $300-$400 area in both formats. Yet many consumers recall the Beta vs. VHS situation and don't wish to make the mistake of buying whichever of the two formats may be the new Beta. (Also recall that Beta was and is superior technically to VHS, so the best performer doesn't always win.) Predictions are that the whole thing will shake down during the upcoming Christmas season, especially now that both formats have a sizeable number of releases with many of them in multichannel - made to order for existing 5.1 home theater systems.

AES Conference This Weekend in Budapest - The 20th International Conference of the Audio Engineering Society focuses on Archiving, Restoration, and New Methods of Recording. The subject recognizes that with the accelerating proliferation of the new digital formats, the life cycles of audio formats is growing shorter and shorter. The hope is to preserve and , where needed, restore our recorded musical heritage so that it is accessible to future generations. UNESCO is involved in preserving the fragile audiovisual heritage of humanity, and a UNESCO representative will give the keynote address on "Promoting Global Access to the Audiovisual Memory of the World."

HDTV Network Debuts - The first all-high-definition national TV network - HDNet - launched recently on a DirecTV channel to broadcast the first of 15 Major League Baseball games to be aired this month. This supports the feeling of many in the industry that it is the sports programming in HDTV that will expand its penetration faster than any other approach.

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