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Audio News for June 24, 2014

CE Devices in Home Multiply but Home Electricity Useage Falls – According to new research from the Consumer Electronics Association, despite the higher market penetration of CE gadgets in the home, the total use of electricity per home has now a lower percentage than it was three years ago. CE devices accounted for just 12% of residential electricity consumption in the U.S. last year, a 9% drop from 2010. CEA CEO Gary Shapiro said “…it’s clear the energy efficiency improvements for consumer electronics are best drive by innovation, competition, voluntary agreements and programs such as ENERGY STAR.”  It shows that U.S. consumers don’t have to sacrifice to save energy and help protect the climate.” [Yes, but it’s already Too Late to protect the climate!…Ed.]

Onkyo Offers Dolby Atmos for Home Theaters – Dolby’s next-generation Atmos surround sound technology is now part of Onkyo’s top and mid-line home theater components, and they are one of the first companies to bring the new technology to HT in the home. Dolby Atmos decoding will also be included in its mid price receiver-based HT packages, and two of their HT speaker packages designed to meet Dolby specs will deliver an Atmos sound field when connected to an Atmos-decoding component. Dolby Atmos “places and moves specific sounds anywhere in the room, including overhead.”  In-ceiling height speakers complement traditional 5.1, 7.1 or 9.1 speaker configurations, but consumers may also enjoy Atmos benefits with ceiling speaker by setting up Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. Atmos technology in the theater delivers up to 128 individual simultaneous sound objects to up to 64 different speakers in the cinema. Sound studios attach specific X, Y or Z coordinates to each sound object to describe its location in three-dimensional space at any give time. For home use, the 64-speaker theater process is down sampled, the Blu-ray played till feed the Atmos bitstream thru their HDMI outputs to AV receivers and preamps with embedded Atmos decoders. Atmos can slo be embedded in an active sound bar to deliver surround sound that exceeds that of current soundbars with different types of surround processing. All three of the new components also use Marvell’s Qdeo technology to upscale low-res video. Selectable ISF video calibration optimizes picture settings for night or day. There are also powered outputs for both Zone 2 & 3, and multiroom control via a mobile app.  The components support hi-res audio with network streaming via Wi-Fi of Double DSD, gapless 192/24-bit FLAC and WAV, and Dolby TrueHD streaming.

Pioneer Launches its First AV receivers and Speakers with Dolby Atmos – Their Elite series receivers will be Dolby Atmos upgradable via a firmware update due by the end of the year. The speakers will be the first to meet Dolby’s specs for delivering an Atmos surround field. The technology pans sounds more smoothly around the listener, and the surround experience is improved no matter where you sit. The movie studios have been freed from cramming many sounds into a limited number of discrete channels, and for home use the number of channels has been reduced.

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