TV Market To Grow 10% in 2010 – Industry research organization GfK reports that about 24 million flat panel TV sets will be sold this year and the TV market will grow over 10%. Most Western European countries’ TV markets consist purely of flat panel displays; this is one area continually subject to technology advances. And within this market the speed of innovation moves faster all the time. At the beginning of this new century flat panel sets were being launched, and now Full HD is viewed as a matter of course. 3D began with a handful of animated movies such as Up, but has now entered the major blockbuster area with the success of Avatar. This will have a significant impact on private home cinema, with Blu-ray players soon to be available in 3D format. They say this will also influence the continuing trend towards multiple ownership of TVs, more screens in more rooms, increasing Internet connectivity, and more digital reception. (Don’t know about that last one – the percentage of viewers returning to OTA [over-the-air] is on the increase.)
Dolby Pulse: New Multi-Platform Audio File Format – Dolby Laboratories has introduced Dolby Pulse, a next generation data-reduced audio codec which claims up to four times more bandwidth and data rate efficiency for comparable sound quality compared to other lossy audio file formats. Universal, Sony Music, EMI Music, Warner Music, and leading indie labels already support the new format, and digital music service provider Omnifone has announced an international collaboration to use Dolby Pulse in their cloud-based music services for mobile, PC, in-home, in-car, streaming and downloading. Omnifone will be Dolby’s first customer to utilize Dolby Media Generator to encode its entire global catalog of over 6.5 tracks into Dolby Pulse format. The new codec combines High Efficiency AAC with Dolby’s proven quality and audio expertise to ensure an optimal combination of quality, efficiency, and integrity of content. Dolby Pulse adds to HD AAC true Dolby metadata capability. An Omnifone rep said that encoding all their tracks with Dolby Pulse format “will deliver highly-efficient track sizes, faster delivery speeds, and higher sound quality per megabyte than traditional formats like MP3.” (Dolby Media Generator is software that encodes audio content in Dolby Pulse format with “excellent audio quality” at 48 kbps or “good quality audio” at 24 kbps, delivering one audio bitstream for anything connected to the Net.)
Device Turns TVs Into Touchscreens – NextWindow has launched the 2700 Touch Screen Overlay device, which turns any LCD or plasma flat panel into a touchscreen. It fits over the screen, allowing users to click, drag, double-click and right-click just by touching the screen. Some consumers are getting used to touch screens as a result of the many PCs now offering them, and NextWindow says they are simply responding by giving the public what it wants. The 2700 overlay is expected to find usage in public-facing applications, and classroom and boardroom presentations where it can create an interactive whiteboard. It works with Windows 7 and there are no proprietary drivers to install. Details at www.nextwindow.com
Dialing Down the Decibels – The Washington Post has an excellent article on the unwanted noises which many of us are dealing with in our homes and everywhere we go in this modern world. It talks about moving further away from noisy appliances, lowering of HVAC system noises (heating/ventilatin/air conditioning), reduction of sound transmission between rooms or apartments, snoring, aircraft, and loud restaurants. The subject is a challenge to architects, engineers and acousticians because everyone hears things a little differently.