Audio News for December 17, 2005

by | Dec 17, 2005 | Audio News | 0 comments

Higher-Res and Artist-Friendly Music Download Site – Magnatune.com seems to be unique among the many sites now commercially selling downloads of music on the Net. They offer a wide choice of sampling rate options, including 320 kbps (three times the size of most MP3 files) plus unreduced 44.1K WAV files, they offer entire album downloads as well as select tracks. and they pay 50% of their profits directly to the artists. Eight genres of music are offered, the lineup of classical performers make Magnatune a virtual label in this field. The average cost to users is about $8 per album download, and one can stream the entire album before deciding to purchase the music. Acrobat files of all the artwork and liner notes are provided. The artists receive ten to 20 times what they would realize elsewhere. The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, harpsichordist Trevor Pinnock and violinist Lara St. John are among classical artists signed to Magnatune.

Coalition of Plasma Makers Formed – A new trade group consisting of five manufacturers of plasma TV displays has formed “to encourage understanding of the benefits and future potential of plasma TV.”  Hitachi, LG, Panasonic, Pioneer and Samsung have joined forces to promote the growth of plasma TV in the U.S. President of the new Plasma Display Coalition is former Sony and Aiwa executive Jim Palumbo.  He said one of his goals is to correct myths about plasma TV’s affordability and features.

VCRs Facing Extinction – Sales of VCRs, which were at $62 million in l998, have dropped to an estimated $16 million this year. The tape-based format is now an electronic dinosaur, but no single product has taken its place. DVD recorders are getting more popular as pricing has dropped below the $200 mark. But confusion caused by several different non-compatible formats has slowed sales. Some new models can handle most formats, and recording on a DVD makes it possible to play back on other DVD players and to save permanently.

This last advantage is not possible with the other popular VCR replacement, the DVR (Digital Video Recorder), which records to a self-contained non-removeable hard drive.  Though somewhat cheaper than DVD recorders, most DVRs also require a monthly subscription fee to a service such as TiVo, but with program guides they make setting up a schedule for time-shifting TV programming easier than any VCRs ever were. They can hold many hours of programming, and the latest units can record HDTV programming – not yet possible with DVD recorders. The proponents of DVRs feel that they will become the VCRs’ successor because they are remaking TV sets into virtual computers, and make one-time recording a breeze.

Day Sequerra Receives Certification for its HD Radio Monitor – Broadcasters beginning to offer the new hi-res digital HD Radio service will be able to accurately monitor their AM and FM signals with the M2.0 HD Radio Modulation Monitor from Day Sequerra, which has received certification from iBiquity – the developers of the in-band digital broadcast system. It is the first full-featured modulation monitor available with built-in Multicast demodulation capability – the ability of HD stations to offer two or three different programming streams simultaneously on their frequency. (For example, all-talk public stations can offer a separate all-music feed, or visa versa.)

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