European Initiative Merges TV and Internet – “Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV” or “HbbTV” has been launched by a consortium of European TV industry leaders, designed to harmonize the broadcast and broadband delivery of news, information and entertainment to consumers thru TVs and set-top boxes with optional web connection. The HbbTV specification was developed to effectively manage the rapidly increasing amount of available content targeted at end consumers. It is based on elements of existing standards and web technologies, including OIPF, CEA, DVB and W3C. The entertainment experience is delivered with a single remote control, one one screen. Users will have access to new services from entertainment providers such as broadcasters, online providers and CE manufacturers – including “catch-up TV,” video on demand, interactive advertising, personalization, voting, games and social networking, as well as program-related services such as digital text.
The HbbTV products and services will be offered for all broadcasting technologies including satellite, cable and terrestrial networks. A spokesman said “By making the most of today’s hybrid receivers, HbbTV merges broadcasting and broadband services seamlessly to deliver value-added content… on demand in addition to traditional linear broadcast TV.” In Germany broadcast HDTV services already provide high quality HD videotext, interactive program guides and enhanced radio services. The HD-Forum in France is working with the French government for a HbbTV standard interactive solution by next year.
Bryston 8-Channel Hybrid Amps – Canadian amplifier maker Bryston has announced the first two of four new 8-channel zone amps which combine Class D amp technology with a Bryston-engineered linear power supply. The hybrid combination provides the lightweight, energy-efficient multichannel amps of Class D design together with input stages and power supplies built for sonic excellence and durability by Bryston. The D-130Z ($4,395) has 8 channels of 90 watts each into 8 ohms and the D-250Z ($5, 695) has 8 channels of 150 watts each into 8 ohms.
NAD Masters Series Preamp – The new NAD Masters Series M15HD surround sound preamp boasts modular design construction, proprietary operating software and broadcast-quality image processing in addition to exceptional sonic performance. The preamp is configured with a VXP broadcast-quality image processor by Sigma Designs, decoding of all DTS and Dolby surround codecs, four HDMI inputs for hi-def viewing, an 8-device LCD illuminated HT remote, room correction technologies by Audyssey, and features dual 32-bit Aureus 7.1 high-speed DSP chips from Texas Instruments. Composite, component and S-Video analog sources can be upscaled to 1080p and all HD and SD formats up to 2048 x 2048 pixels, complete with proper enlargement/aspect ratio. The preamp has the usual RS-232 interface, 12-v triggers, 3.5mm IR control jacks, an AV output for a second zone and a switched AC outlet. It also has lip sync compensation, bass management, four dual differential 192K/24-bit D-to-A converters, dynamic headroom scaling for optimum resolution, a center channel “dialog” setting and individual crossover settings for all speakers. The M15HD surround sound preamp will be available next month at an SRP of $4,499.
Chord Goes Wireless with Bluetooth – In a step that moves Bluetooth technology only from use with wireless headsets for speed quality, British hi-end manufacturer Chord has licensed the apt-X audio codec for use in their next-generation of audio equipment that wirelessly connects Bluetooth-enabled media players – iPhones, iPods, MP3 players, music phones – to high fidelity music systems. apt-X is designed to compress multichannel digital audio for low-latency, full bandwidth transmission over wireless links or streaming over IP networks, without compromising sound quality. The first Chord device is their award-winning ‘Chordette Gem,’ which integrates with any hi-fi system, transferring music from Bluetooth-enabled computers, mobile phones or game consoles.