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Audio News for September 19, 2014

LSO Live Begins Releasing Audio-Only Blu-rays – The London Symphony Orchestra’s own label, LSO LIve, has joined those labels offering audio-only Blu-rays, and their first two releases will include both the Blu-ray and an accompanying SACD, as do the 2L releases. First is The Mendelssohn Scottish Symphony and Hebrides Overture and Schumann’s Piano Concerto. The second release is the Symphonie fantastique of Berlioz plus his Waverley Overture. Both are distributed by Harmonia mundi.

CEA Adapts and Supports Wrong Use of 4K to Promote UHD – The Consumer Electronics Association has announced two new logos to designate so-called “4K” Ultra HD TVs, monitors and projectors. According to their copy the logos “address various attributes of picture quality, help move toward interoperability, and provide clarity for consumers and retailers alike.”

How can it provide clarity when it is obviously wrong? Only commercial film theaters show 4K; the home system is greatly reduced in resolution, though still about 4 times that of HD TV and noticeable if you sit very close. The next generation of UHD may possibly enhance other aspects of the image such as color and contrast and may therefore be worth waiting for and purchasing. Incidentally at the moment there is almost no actual UHD source material readily available. Revenue from UHD displays is expected to exceed $5 billion next year.

Yamaha Back In Computer Speaker Market – After an absence of about five years, Yamaha now has a pair of small computer speakers: one at $219 and another at $149. The first has Bluetooth. They are self-powered and have a headphone jack and front volume control, with automatic loudness control. Both have metal grilles and an auto-standby mode to handle periods of inactivity. Bass ports on the front are said to deliver deep bass and both speakers are mobile-device-friendly.

New Debate Between DisplayPort 1.3 and HDMI – The new version of the DisplayPort AV interface was developed by Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). DisplayPort is the AV standard for Thunderbolt, DockPort and other interfaces between computers and monitors. Version 1.3 offers a better connectivity solution than HDMI 2.0, with higher dynamic range, faster bit rates, expanded color gamut and greater bit-depth elements that will enhance UHD display. It supports a 4:2:0 pixel structure and doesn’t need two cables to hi-def displays. However, some in the CE community feel that HDMI has such broad acceptance by now that it’s probably too late to be switching sides.

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