Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Nov. 5, 2003

Sony & Toshiba Struggling - Sony Corporation is going to cut back its workforce by about 13% the next three years, losing some 20,000 employees. The giant Japanese corporation had a 25% drop in net income last quarter. They have even been talking to BMG about a possible merger of their music divisions - sort of like GM and Ford considering merger. Toshiba lost $302 million over six months and will cut back its workforce by at least 500, plus outsourcing production to the Philippines and China where the labor costs are much less. On the other hand, Matsushita (Panasonic in the U.S.) is flying high with a 45% profit increase last quarter.

Emmy for Jim Fosgate - Multichannel sound pioneer Jim Fosgate received a special Emmy Award for the Development of Surround Sound for Television during the 2003 Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards in NYC last month. Fosgate holds more than 14 patents on surround audio and his latest invention was Pro Logic II, which is licensed by Dolby Labs.

New Chief of Library of Congress Sound Division
- The Library of Congress recently appointed Gregory A. Lukow as the chief of their Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Record Sound Division. This section houses the largest and most comprehensive collections of both American and foreign films, TV and radio broadcasts, and sound recordings in the world. Their AV collections include more than 3.5 million items and grows by about 120,000 items annually. A new National AV Conservation Center is being launched, which will consolidate the existing AV collections at a single centralized facility with room to allow for 25 years of growth. Presently the collections are at seven different facilities in four states and the District of Columbia.

Computer-less Music Downloading from the Net - Several Japanese firms believe that there is a need for a more convenient method of connecting up home audio systems to online music services. Therefore Sony, Sharp, Pioneer and Kenwood announced they will offer products in the Japanese market only to download music files from an online media store with needing a PC. The products will look like a standard hi-fi but with an Ethernet connection and software tied to their website, LabelGate. Onkyo also announced a new receiver - the second in their “Net-Tune” line for the U.S. market. It is compatible with MP3 and WMA files and accesses Internet audio streams with a broadband connection. Neither of these two approaches is compatible with Apple’s highly successful iTunes, using the AAC file format. Oh, boy...

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