Audio News for November 10, 2015

Important Audio News – Linear Audio for September has an article titled “The Pleasure of Playing Vinyl.” It concludes that vinyl as a music medium has a special place in many people’s lives – a place and role that is “not solely based on technical parameters.”  The world leader in optical drive manufacture, Taiyo Yuden, will stop production later this year. (Everything seems to going toward downloads and streaming.) Concerns about long-term data preservation seem to have been brushed aside, and it appears that any future audio will exist only as generic digital data with all the perils which that entails. (Will today’s digital formats be playable in the future?) The public library system still suggests open reel analog tape, and re-recording occasionally since all storage degrades eventually.

Hi-Def TV Concerns – High-dynamic range is being mostly ignored by today’s UHDTV manufacturers. For HDR to meet the ATSC UHD-TV subcommittee standards it must deliver at least ten times the maximum light output level that today’s consumer HDTVs do. The resulting image will more closely reflect what we see if we were outside on a bright summer day and shifted our eyes from a shaded area to watching the clouds. The next generation of UHD TVs must include HDR, wide color gamut (WCG), high framerate (HFR), and advanced audio. This is all much more important than the increased pixel count of UHD TV sets sold today. And again, only commercial movie theaters show genuine 4K – the home TV sets today are UHD, not 4K. So wait for the next generation of UHD sets.

Stations intermix SD and HD programming, sometimes even during the same show. This mixture is likely to  persist for years because of the huge SD archives and the cost of HD production. Broadcasters can transmit four or more SD signals in one channel in addition to one compressed HD signal, thereby generating more ad revenue. About 7% or more of US households exclusively use an antenna for TV reception.  Millennial-age viewers are opting for Internet TV with free and subscription services and using antennas for the local telecasts. (You get better resolution and audio OTA then with any cable or satellite TV system.) They subscribe to high-speed Internet access, having grown the North American IPTV subscriber base to 11.7 million. If the remaining cable and satellite customers do not subscribe to the more expensive special HD channels, they will be watching only SD signals.

Classical Music House Call – In Brooklyn, a group called Groupmuse offers a chance for music lovers to experience classical chamber music in a really intimate setting – the way composers intended their music to be heard. “You show up, you socialize for an hour, you sit down on the floor, and you listen intently for 25 minutes to three movements of a tremendous masterwork,” said one of the participants. “It’s not quite a concert and it’s not quite a party.”  Anyone can connect with Groupmuse on their website and there’s no cover charge, but the hat is passed.

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