MIPS Technologies Supports Dolby Digital Plus – MIPS is the first processor IP company to support the new Dolby Digital Plus next-generation audio technology. The joint effort will reduce engineering time and accelerate time-to-market for chip designers using MIPS cores, and will make it possible to deliver the advance audio technology to all segments of home entertainment, including set-top boxes, HD-DVD and Blu-ray markets.
Directed Electronics Purchases Polk Audio – Vista, California, based firm Directed Electronics Inc. has announced their agreement to acquire loudspeaker maker Polk Audio, provider of high performance home and mobile audio equipment. Current Polk management, including cofounder Matthew Polk, will join the Directed team. Jim Minarik, President and CEO of Directed, said “This acquisition of Polk…complements our current Definitive Technology product line. Having these two powerful brands under the Directed umbrella will give us the No. 1 position in the U.S. home speaker market according to industry data.”
New HDMI Chips Announced by Analog Devices – One of the leading makers of semiconductor chips for audio and video signal processing, Analog Devices, has announced the broadcast portfolio of ICs for HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface). HDMI is the widely-used digital interface standard delivering uncompressed hi-def video (and now audio) content via a single compact cable. All of ADI’s transmitters and receivers support the latest HDMI v1.2a signals, and receivers are equalized to ensure signal integrity for cable lengths up to 30 meters at full 1080p resolution. The receivers also support S/PDIF signals and audio up to 7.1 channel surround at 192 kHz. The company has pre-testing labs in North Carolina, Beijing and Taipei and a fourth underway in Tokyo, where customers can have equipment evaluated prior to submission for HDMI Compliance Testing. The advanced ICs will be used in DVD players, DVRs, set-top boxes, digital cameras, gaming consoles, AV receivers and preamps, VCRs, computers, and video projection systems.
We Could Have Had Stereo Movie Soundtracks Much Sooner – Harvey Fletcher of Brigham Young University demonstrated three-channel stereophonic recording and reproducing equipment to the Society of Motion Picture Engineers in 1941. Optical film was the medium, with three tracks and a control track contained on the 35mm film. This was following its use in Disney’s Fantasia in l939, which also included a surround channel. (Reference was also made to the 1933 Bell Labs experiments with wired three-channel transmission of the Philadelphia Orchestra from their concert hall to Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.). Why did stereo and surround have to wait until first Cinerama and then Cinemascope? Because of the apathy of the studios to a new medium of sound presentation in theaters (and perhaps WWII as well).