Audio News for August 12, 2008

by | Aug 12, 2008 | Audio News | 0 comments

Opera House Venue for Met Opera-in-Hi-Def – Ten full Metropolitan Opera productions, plus one Baltimore production, will be transmitted in HD with surround sound via satellite between October and next May, using regular movie theater screens for the simulcasts.  The Met introduced the idea two years ago and it has been a tremendous success. (Some of the productions are also later carried on PBS stations, but with only 720p HD and no surround on many of the stations.)  In Baltimore, something a bit different is being tried: the city’s historic 1894 Lyric Opera House is being converted to have the Met Opera HD series beamed into its 2400-seat auditorium, as well as to beam out its local productions.  The technical challenges have included installing a satellite dish, cables, control equipment, decryption equipment, a streaming video device called a “sling box,” and a $80,000 HD video projector. The sound system is being updated to state-of-the-art. National CineMedia, who handle the live simulcasts, carries out required tests two weeks before each showing, two days before, and again two hours before to ascertain that everything is working correctly.   Aida will be the opening night opera on stage at the Lyric Opera House, preceded by the first Met Opera telecast of R. Strauss’ Salome that afternoon (Oct. 11).

All-In-One Extended Service Plan – GreenUmbrella.com has announced launch of a direct-to-consumer, all-in-one extended service  plan protecting an unlimited number of most home electronics, computers and appliances for one low monthly fee of $9.95.  The idea is to avoid expensive individual extended service plans for products costing under $5,000. The Warranty Group and Experian back the new service. It offers qualities which were found in extensive consumer research and feedback to be most important. Customers can register multiple products at any time following signup at no additional cost and with no deductibles or fees for in[home repair or replacement service.  Those seeking to place a claim will have the support of a U.S.-based network of over 25,000 repair service providers.

However, there are some gotchas to be considered: No matter how many electronic items you have covered, you are allowed only two claims in a year. GreenUmbrella says this rule strikes a balance between providing coverage to subscribers and protection for the company.  If you happen to end up with two faulty products back to back, you’ll have to wait a year to make a claim. The policies also don’t cover accidental damage or natural disasters, and they don’t cover two specific types of products: cell phones and exercise equipment.

Survey Shows Lukewarm Blu-ray Sales – ABI analysts found in a survey of over 1000 consumers that over half had no plans to purchase a Blu-ray player and 23% said they were like to buy, but not until next year. The high prices of most players constituted a major barrier, plus the need to purchase a new HDTV.  An observer said that DVDs took off because consumers saw their dramatic improvement and accessibility over VHS tape, and they didn’t require the purchase of a new TV. However, the popularity of the Playstation 3 has insured an ongoing market for Blu-ray discs – many people with no interest whatever in video gaming are purchasing PS3 consoles, and their increased sales should drive down many Blu-ray prices.

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