Audio News for December 17, 2010

by | Dec 17, 2010 | Audio News | 0 comments

Really Wireless Speakers Getting Closer – Researchers at Intel have been working on a wireless power project.  It uses magnetic fields to transfer energy and is confined to short distances of less than two meters. The radiation shared between the two coils is nonradiative and continues the basic idea quirky physicist Nikola Tesla proposed back at the end of the 19th century.  While wires have done the job well for more than a century, now that portable electronics of all sorts seem to need constant recharging, the idea of wireless electricity is coming back. Also, the advent of plug-in electric vehicles is a motivating factor; some consumers may not want to have to remember to plug their car in all the time.  The challenge is to make it practical.

The technology depends on a phenomenon called resonant coupling, in which objects can exchange energy with one another only when they resonate at the same frequency.  Such fields have little known impact on the environment or on peoples’ health, compared with electrical fields.  Intel demonstrated last year a wirelessly-charged iPod speaker using coils of 30 and 60 centimeters size. A startup named WiTricity is developing prototypes, though there is no timeline for actual products. The Intel researchers are interested in how the technology could be used on Intel products such as laptops and other portable devices. (Present wireless speakers still require being plugged into an AC outlet; the new technology would eliminate that.)

NuVo Music Port Server – NuVo is one of several companies offering equipment for whole-home AV installation.  Their Music Port Server (NV-MPS4) is now available, and can serve up to four audio sources in a Nuvo Essentia, Grand Concerto or Renovia multi-room audio system. The Music Port Server merges audio content on computers, using iTunes and Windows Media Player, from a home wi-fi network, and then merges it into a comprehensive music library by storing all the files on a 320BG internal hard drive.  It can also access music from Pandora, Sirius/XM Radio, and RadioTime.

ViewSonic Has Under-$1000 HD Projector – The new ViewSonic Pro8200 home theater projector has full 1080p HD resolution and combines DLP and BrilliantColor technologies for a 4000:1 contrast ratio. It is a 16:9 widescreen projector with a seven-segment color wheel for bright and accurate color reproduction. Its connectivity includes two HDMI 1.3 inputs with HDCP plus a component video input.

Remain CALM During Loud Commercials – Far from all commercial TV viewers engage in the logical practice of either turning off the sound during commercials or fast-forwarding past them on your DVR.  Those who sit and take it are ofter bothered mightily by the commercials’ soundtracks raising their volume over that of the program they are part of.  This has been going on for years and seems to be getting worse. So bad that the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) has received a mountain of complaints and prompted the House of Representatives to pass the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act last week. The legislation, which becomes binding within a year, requires broadcasts to use the industry technology – which Dolby has been pushing for years now – to modulate sound levels so that commercials and programming are the same. (But the government might want to reconsider their new acronym. CALM already stands for Cal-Maine Foods, Computer Assisted Learning Method, California Living Museum, Child Abuse Listening & Mediation, and Campaign Against Living Miserably. If you don’t believe us check Google.)

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