New Sony Wireless Surround Headphones – Sony has come out with a nifty-looking new pair of wireless 7.1 channel surround headphones using their Virtualphones technology, decoding of the recent lossless surround codecs, and a range of 330 feet. The Model MDR-DS6500 phones have automatic tuning and variety of sound enhancer models for the particular function they serve at the time (different ones for movies than for games, etc.). Their battery life offers 20 hours of usage for every three hours they spend charging on their special rack. It doesn’t say whether the wireless system uses 900, 2.4 or 5.8 frequency technology, and the only surround phones I have heard so far that truly replicate surround speakers are the very expensive Smyth Research phones, but Sony’s will be only $299 when available in May and look promising. (Anything is apt to be better than Dolby Headphone.) It may actually be possible to enjoy those noisy action Blu-rays in the wee hours without disturbing your housemates or your neighbors.
Amped Wireless AV Net Connect – is just one of many new devices coming out to provide home network connectivity for Internet-ready AV devices, including TVs, Blu-ray players and game consoles. The AV3000 Amped Wireless AV Net Connect Home WiFi Network Bridge for AV Devices (whew!) eliminates the need to run Ethernet cables from your media center. It uses built-in WiFi amps to ensure a reliable connection that’s fast enought for HD media streaming and online gaming. It connects AV devices using five Ethernet ports on its back panel. It also boosts and repeats the WiFi signal from home WiFi networks so that other WiFi-enabled devices can connect to it for a more reliable connection. Smart security features restrict access to specific users and create access schedules for when Internet access is available. The device works with most 2.4GHz wireless routers and WiFi networks and features a 300Mbps 802.11n wireless bandwidth channel for streaming HD media. Self-healing network monitoring software automatically fixes dropped links with home WiFi networks, and a Smart Setup Wizard is included for easy installation. Street price is $99.
DTS Premium Suite II Brings PC Audio Up to Home Theater Level – The new DTS Premium Suite II was showcased at the Intel Developer Forum 2011 in Beijing last week. It expands on the original DTS Premium Suite of integrated audio technologies for PCs, including full 7.1 channel lossless audio decoding, high quality surround from stereo sources, quality optimization for headphones, automatic sound balancing and acoustic power mazimization. DTS Clear Voice enables clear speech capture in noisy environments, DTS Clear Audio monitors ambient noise and adjusts audio levels at specific frequencies to counterbalance the undesired noise, DTS Audio Restoration restores percussion and transient sounds in compressed MP3 recordings to the clarity the artists intended the listener to hear, and DTS Enhance automatically provides bandwidth extension to restore missing high-frequency audio components in low-bit-rate MP3 material. The Suite is intended to offer consumers a more enjoyable sound experience – whether they are watching movies, listening to music or video or chatting on their PC.
DTS Neural Surround Sound On Over 750 HD Radio Stations – More than 750 stations in the U.S. are now broadcasting surround sound content on HD Radio using DTS Neural Surround Sound, and Ford is a licensee, offering Neural Surround Sound decoding in Lincoln vehicles. It is used on broadcasts of the LA Philharmonic, the Nashville Symphony and Miami’s New World Symphony, and NPR’s JazzSet from Kennedy Center. NPR’s Performance Today also uses Neural Surround. Over 100 performances remain in 2011 which will be surround sound, including events performed at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Newport Jazz Festival and other world-class venues. The technology is compatible for broadcast over existing stereo transmission facilities.