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Audio News for May 5, 2015

Sonus Faber Launches Chameleon Series Speakers – Sonus Faber speakers are targeting the decor-minded with a three-SKU Chameleon series of interchangable side panels and lower opening-price points. To import the three speakers, made in Italy, at these price points is unheard of. Each one comes with one set of lacquered-MDF side panels in a different color and consumers pay for additional sets. The speakers are $550 for the center channel, $900 for a bookshelf pair and $2000 for a floorstanding pair. (The brand’s top series is priced up to $13,500 a pair.) In addition to the current 140 Sonus Faber dealers, retailers such a high-end furntiture stores may be included.

Sling TV Adds Two Latino Add-On Packs – Dish Network’s new OTT pay-TV service for cord-cutters has launched two Spanish add-on packs: deportes Etra and Peliculas & Novelas Extra, selling for $5 month each, in addition to Sling TV’s core service charge of $20 per month.

Classical News – Julliard alumnus and rising pianist star Henry Kramer has his New York recital debut at Allice Tully Hall May 6. Joyce DiDonato, the “it” mezzo of the decade, has been elected to the Carnegie Hall board of trustees. The Kansas City Lyric Opera has fired its Artistic Director, Ward Holmquist, who has held that position since 1998.  Sir Roger Norrington is also stepping down as music director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and violinist Daniel Hope will be the new principal conductor for the Fall 2016 season. Trumpeter Mark Grisez is now acting associate principal trumpet with the San Francisco Symphony as well as principal trumpet with the California Symphony, though he is still completing his final year of training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Home Entertainment Continues to Outdraw Box Office –  Consumer spending on digitally-accessed streaming video rose 14.2% in the first quarter of this year to more than $2.1 billion. According to DEG (Digital Entertainment Group), this is in sharp contrast to the decline in sales of DVDs and Blu-rays, which fell 13.3% for the first quarter of this year. However, rentals of packaged media from kiosks rose 7.7%. Leading the digital charge were electronic sales of movies and TV shows, as well as subscription streaming. Less popular were non-subscription video on demand (VOD) services. Consumers purchased significantly more catalog and family films electronically, and spending on new theatrical releases rose over 60%. Total U.S. home entertainment spending was $4.6 billion, and still outpaced box office theater sales, which were just under $3 billion. HDTV now has nearly 105 million households penetration, with Blu-ray playback at about 90 million.

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