Weekly AUDIO NEWS for December 25, 2002

Surround Music Award Winners - The discs winning awards for surround sound in several different categories were announced in Los Angeles on Thursday by Surround Professional Magazine, who established the awards. Winners were selected from a short list of nominees by a panel of industry judges:

Best of Show: Nitty Gritty Surround - AIX DVD-Audio
Best Non-Orchestral Mix: Ziroq - Silverline Records DVD-A
Best Orchestral Mix: Paavo Jarvi/Cincinnati Symphony (no title!?)* - Telarc SACD
Most Adventurous Mix: A Night at the Opera - Queen - DTS Ent. DVD-A & Herbie Hancock’s “Headhunters” - Sony SACD
Best Made for Surround: LAGQ Latin - Los Angeles Guitar Quartet - Telarc SACD
Best Hi-Res Stereo-only: Trio - Monty Alexander/Ray Brown/Herb Ellis - Hi-Res Music DVD-A
Best Concert Video: Live at Royal Albert Hall - The Who - Image Entertainment DVD-Video
Best Multichannel Re-issues: JT - James Taylor - Columbia SACD & American Beauty - The Grateful Dead - Warner Bros. DVD-A
2002 Surround Artist of the Year: Graham Nash, for Songs for Survivors - DTS Ent. DVD-A
2002 Surround Pioneer Award: Elliott Scheiner

Blue Laser Standard Set for Hi-Def DVD Format - The DVD Forum, which sets the standards for the entire DVD format, will use the .6mm bonded disc that was originally proposed by NEC and Toshiba as the basis for the HD-DVDs using a blue laser. The rival blue laser technology, Blu ray, was not considered because it was not formally submitted. Blu-ray is more complex, with a much smaller optical stylus, requiring an extra cover layer be bonded to the disc to prevent contamination of the microscopic pits in this standard - which has the highest storage capacity. The NEC/Toshiba format is more friendly to current DVD standards but the discs are still more easily damaged than present day DVDs due to the tiny lens aperture required to store 15 GB per side. Oddly, the format was originally developed as a recordable medium for time-shifting of HDTV programming, rather than as a commercial prerecorded medium for movies. There is also the HD-DVD-9 format, which uses the present red laser with extensive data reduction codecs which are still being tested. It looks like yet another format battle coming up here...

Two Products Gone - Sony has announced that after 27 years they have abandoned the Betamax format, including the professional analog Betacam production which had been the main source of much TV programming. However, the digital Betacam continues. Also, noted high end speaker- maker Dunlavy Audio Labs has ceased operation.

[* = My guess is it's SIBELIUS: Sym. No. 2 & TUBIN: Sym. No. 5]


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