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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Oct. 15, 2003

More HDTV via Dish - Both DirecTV and DISH Network are expanding their HDTV programming and hardware choices in sync with the major networks now devoting most of their evening schedules to HDTV. EchoStar, owners of the DISH system, added several HDTV channels at an additional cost of $10 a month. They also offer an optional combo HDTV decoder and digital video recorder capable of recording 25 hours of HDTV programming for an additional cost of $999. DirecTV has also promised more HD channels and will soon offer local station feeds in 30 additional markets to what they already provide.

Berlin TV Now Entirely Digital - In August all the commercial telecasters in the Berlin area switched off their analog transmitters permanently. Cable and satellite systems are heavy in Berlin, so only 140, 000 homes were using just analog reception. Low income families who already have a waiver on paying the annual German TV license can get a free DTV receiver.

Web CD Distribution for Independents - Portland-based CDBaby has become one of the leading independent music retailers on the Internet, distributing discs by more than 45,000 performers ranging from the well known in pop circles to the totally obscure. Any artist can sign up with a $35 fee and five copies of their CD. CDBaby keeps $4 off every CD’s selling price and sends all the rest to the artist. They have an open-door policy as to what recordings they handle and admit that some they believe nobody will want sell quite well. Their web site is organized by genre, and each artist links to others in a “If you like this, then you may also like...” marketing tool. CDBaby is now a part of the Apple iTunes online catalog, has 30 employees and made a profit in their second month.

SACD Promo for Movie Theaters - An SACD Alliance of Philips, Sony and Universal has been formed as a counterpart of the recently-formed DVD Audio Council. They announced that more SACDs were sold in two months than DVD-A discs sold in the past two years; but the sizeable sales of the Rolling Stones reissues may be a major part of that - most buyers were not aware they were SACDs since no identification of that appeared on them. The Alliance next plans advertising the SACD format in movie theaters; of course that means using Dolby 5.1 for the surround sound rather than higher-res, non-data-reduced DSD.

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