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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Oct. 17, 2001

Universal and Sony Adding Copy Protection to CDs - The world's largest record company, Universal Music Group, announced they have begun issuing CDs this month with special software to prevent digital copying or conversion to computer audio files. This negates the Macintosh promotion for users to "rip, mix and burn" their music on their computer. One will no longer be able with these discs to make backup copies on CD or cassette entirely for one's own use, to make personal compilations, or to create MP3 files on your own computer. The titles carrying the copy protection have not been publicized, but Universal hopes to have their entire catalog protected by the end of the first quarter of 2002. To prevent hacking Universal has not stated what the technology is or how it actually works, but it will probably only be a matter of time until a hacker breaks it as occurred with the DVD-A watermark code and the DVD-V protection earlier. After Michael Jackson's new single started showing up on the Internet, Sony music began pressing that CD single with copy protection software in Europe only.

U.S. Symphonies Struggling - The uncertain economy has brought two more leading orchestras into dire straits. The Chicago Symphony expects a deficit in the upper six figures although they have enjoyed a 14-year stretch being in the black. Flat ticket sales in recent years under conductor Daniel Barenboim are part of the problem, but the board doesn't want to increase ticket prices. The 120-year-old St. Louis Symphony may have to declare bankruptcy. They received a $40 million challenge grant from Enterprise Rent-a-Car but haven't been able to raise their required $20 million. For now the players have been asked to take a cut in pay and to play a shorter season.

Super-Large-Screen HDTV Plasma Display Introduced - Zenith Electronics has announced one of the world's largest hang-on-wall video monitors - their DPDP60W is the first 60-inch plasma display available in the U.S. The 16:9 widescreen unit is as big as four 30-inch TVs combined, and has 1280 x 720p resolution capability, making it compatible for both HDTV and traditional video sources. Grey side panels mask images displayed in 4:3 mode and the screen has a wide 160-degree viewing angle - far greater than rear projection screens. SRP is $25,000.

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