Weekly AUDIO NEWS for August 6, 2003

Survey on Satellite Radio - The Consumer Electronics Association conducted a survey in March showing that there is a captive audience ready for the benefits of satellite radio. The survey found that 94 percent of consumers listen to car radio and 67 percent of those feel the sound quality is not as good as are CDs. The respondents were also attracted to the ability of satellite radio to display data such as the song titles and artists, traffic reports and weather updates. Those in the 18-34 age group had a greater interest in digital radio than those older. 49 percent reported they have an interest in satellite radio that provides CD-quality sound, with women showing more interest than men. The survey said that though there is a market demographic primed for digital radio and satellite radio, the challenge will be selling consumers on the idea of paying for radio, since 51 percent said they would not be willing to pay the extra fee for satellite radio service.

TiVo for Radio - Introduced at the recent MacWorld in NYC, the $50 RadioSHARK from Griffin Technology is a little fin-shaped FM/AM radio powered by a USB connection to Macintoshes. It plays thru your Mac speakers and optionally can store the audio on your hard disk. It is entirely controlled with software, so it can be programmed like a VCR to record radio programs at specific times for later listening at your convenience. It also captures streaming audio from the net so you can time-shift programs to your iPod for listening wherever you are.

Macros for Home Theater - Most of us have a coffee table full of remotes; most claim to control other devices, but each seems to have some unique function that forces you to keep all of them around. The so-called universal remotes often aren’t, and some cost as much as $500. The new Harmony SST-768 remote is programmable in that you can easily teach it a set of actions needed to accomplish setting up a particular component for playback. A small LCD and roller wheel are augmented by the standard number of buttons. The unit connects to your computer with the USB jack and special software downloads remote definitions and TV program guide info. The top-of-line remote is $300, with a simpler SST-748 model at $200.

TAG McLaren Audio Stops New Products - High end manufacturer TAG McLaren Audio - a division of the racing car firm - has announced that due to the present world economy it will cease development of new products. However, products already introduced will remain available along with existing upgrades, as well as warranty, repair and helpdesk services. The company is currently reviewing its continued participation in the audio market.

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