Audio News for December 25, 2007

by | Dec 25, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Coupons for Digital Video Converters – It’s actually happening – although not until February 17, 2009. But starting January 1 – next week – you can apply for up to two coupons per household which will give you a $40 discount on digital converter boxes which are now becoming available in stores.  The feds have set up the coupon program to allow everyone to continue to receive free OTA (over the air) TV from their local stations on present legacy sets after all the analog transmitters are turned off on 2/17/2009.  (If you receive all your TV only from a satellite or cable service, they will do the conversion at their end for your analog sets and you won’t need a converter box.)  Starting January 1 (next Tuesday) you can either go to and request your coupons, or call 1-888-388-2009 to request them. They will be offered thru March 31, 2009.

FCC Auction of Freed-Up Analog TV Spectrum – The Federal Communications Commission’s Auction 73, starting January 24 and closing 2008 midyear, involves the lower 700 MHz band to be freed up in February of 2009 when all analog TV transmitters are turned off. There is huge interest in the auction by the burgeoning wireless industry.  A myriad of new wireless electronic devices will be offered which will depend on the new frequencies, which have advantages over present Wi-Fi, 900 Hz, IR and other RF technologies. One of primary players is web giant Google – for their new Android wireless phone using a Linux operation system.  While Google is going after more of a mainstream phone market than Apple’s iPhone, the two firms may be competing in a general way.

Jazz Virtuoso Oscar Peterson Dies at 82 –  One of the greatest jazz pianists passed away at his home near Toronto on Sunday.  Oscar Peterson was called “Maharajah of the keyboard” by Duke Elllington, and he won eight Grammy awards. At age 14 he heard a recording of Art Tatum and dropped out of high school to spend all his time playing the piano. He began his career as a specialist in boogie-woogie and was discovered by Norman Granz in 1947, becoming a mainstay of Jazz at the Philharmonic.  His most famous trio setting was with guitarist Herb Ellis and bassist Ray Brown. He recorded for Pablo, Verve, MPS and Telarc among others. A stroke in 1993 had compromised movement in his left hand.

Wi-Fi Radios – They’re really not radios at all, but purposed PCs designed to connect to the Internet using a broadband connection and play back the streaming audio from the more than 8,500 Net-based broadcasters now available. Most of the standard radio stations on the air are also now on the Net, but there are also thousands of others around the globe which are strictly online broadcasters. You can also access on-demand streaming audio, podcasts to download, and live RSS news feeds. The choice is much greater than terrestrial digital radio or even either of the satellite radio services , which only have something around 100 channels each.  Moreover, although HD Radio, DAB and satellite radio all must seriously data-reduce their signals and webcasters do the same, the webcasters have an almost limitless spectrum space and thus can offer higher bit rates and more modern compression codecs – thus sounding better. There are no atmospheric vagaries in reception either. The radios are not much more expensive than HD Radios; this may be the radio of our future.

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