Audio News for July 14, 2015

HTC Virtual-Reality Headset to Consumers –  Smartphone maker HDTS is repositioning itself as a personal technology company and has demonstrated their Vive virtual-reality headset to consumers, which should be out by the end of this year. It incorporates Valve’s Steam VR tracking and input technologies to create a 360-degree VR experience, letting users walk around and explore a virtual space, inspect objects from all angles and interact with their surroundings. It will go beyond video gaming to enhance such activties as visiting museums, shopping and attending games.

Field Test of ATSC 3.0 Transmission – The latest field tests of the transmission technology for UHD digital TV broadcasts “are even more encouraging” than previous tests last fall. Improvements include better signal acquisition for mobile TV reception, fast-moving vehicles downtown, and suburband and rural locations up to 50 miles from a transmitter. Futurecast backers say the mai benefits of their system is 30% faster thruput, 4K telecasting, improved multipath performance for both fixed and portable TV reception, and enhanced indoor penetration – particularly for portable hand-held TVs. The final ATSC DTV-broadcast standard will likely included physical-layer technologies from other companies. Other technologies being tested include multichannel audio, advanced emergency alerts, closed aptions and targeting advertising. The AWARN system for emergency alerts will broadcast emergency announcements along with maps, graphics, video and text. The ATSC’s goal is to have the final standard in place in the first half of 2017.

Maker of Screen Shine Screen Cleaner Hires Antimicrobial Expert – Whoosh, who make the Screen Shine screen cleaner, has hired a biochemist to help develop the next generation of cleaning solutions for those dependent on mobile devices to stay informed and entertained. Screen Shine cleans, polishes and protects all types of video screens and displays, is non-toxic, free of alcohol and ammonia, and packaged with an antimicrobial cleaning cloth.

The Loudspeaker in History – First were tiny transducers at the end of giant horns – not that different from what was used for the reproduction of strictly acoustic recordings. Horns are still popular in some quarters for their speed and dynamics. Next were simple ported baffles, followed by the infinite baffle with a conical driver. The loudspeaker was introduced in the late 19th century, the first conical diaphragm patented in 1901 and the first moving coil transducer was back in 1874. In 1925 was the first direct radiator and in 1929 the first patent for an electrostatic speaker. The first two-way speaker appeared in 1931 and AR’s famous acoustic suspension system dates back to 1954. Engineers are now busy refining these basic principles to reduce shortcomings and improve sonics (and increasing prices tremendously).

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