Audio News for May 22, 2015

Apple Under Scrutiny – The Department of Justice, FTC and the EC Competition Commission are all looking into Apple due to accusations that the company if working with the record labels to rid the industry of free streaming services prior to Apple’s planned launch of hi-res streaming next month (if they do that). That would certainly reduce the competition to Apple’s new service, hi-res or not. A complete article is at The Verge. Apple would like to kill the free service providers such as Spotify and Pandora providers ahead of their Beats relaunch. iPhone users are finding it difficult or impossible to play hi-res files; perhaps Apple is purposefully crippling their hardware until their business plan takes advantage of the so-far “hidden” features in the phones.

M-Go, Amazon, Vudu and Netflix Planning HDR Video Streaming in 2015 – M-Go, a joint venture of Technicolor and DreamWorks, has joined with the other three services to begin offering UHD video streaming with high dynamic range sometime later this year. The pay-erp-view site will have a full selection of several dozen titles and will build up quickly. An M-Go rep said that HDR technology is a giant leap more dramatic than going from 1080p Full HD to 4K UHD, due to the wider color gamut, brighter highlights, and deeper blacks that don’t wash out details. Technicolor is developing specs and minimum performance standards for UHD content, including HDR. Vudu will have multiple Warner Brothers titles in Dolby Vision HDR, and both Netflix and Amazon have announced support for Dolby Vision. It is a “two-layer” standard whereas there is also a single layer standard.  TVs could incorporate both standards, and should be hitting the market later this year. Studios are not letting out a lot of UHD-processed films until HDR arrives to provide a “more refined” picture.

Denon Unveils Their First AVR for 2015 – The AVR-S510BT is only $279 and features HDCP 2.2 and remote control via Bluetooth. The 5.2-channel receiver has full-speed 18Mbps HDMI 2.0 ports which are upgradable to HDMI 2.0a and is the first receiver in any series controlled via Bluetooth from an iOS or Android Denon app. The controlled functions include on/off, volume, mute and source select. HDCP 2.2 copy protection is important because anyone trying to stream protected UHD content who lacks HDCP 22 would just get a black TV screen. The AVR is 75 watts per channels at 8 ohms, has room EQ, a USB port for iPod and iPhone, Dolby TrueHD and DTS- HD MA surround decoding, and decoding of MP3, FLAC, WMA and MPEG-4/AAC tracks from USB-connected sources.

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