Chandos Site Offers 96K/24-bit Downloads – The Chandos label has relaunched their web site, theclassicalshop.net, with many new features including better-than-CD 96kHz/24-bit audio files and easier navigation. This is in addition to lossless WAV, AIFF, FLAC and WMA and the data-reduced MP3 codec. If you select a recording in “studio-master” quality you automatically get it as both a lossless file and a MP3 file. Certain surround sound albums will be offered at higher cost. All recordings at The Classical Shop are DRM-free for easy transfer between storage and playback devices. In addition to the Chandos catalog, some 70 other labels are also carried, and note booklets for each are available simultaneously for download.
Battery Classification Could Increase Shipping Costs of Consumer Electronics – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration wants to tighten air shipment requirements for lithium-ion batteries, used in many goods consumers purchase online. They say that more than 40 incidents have occurred with the batteries exploding or short-circuiting during air transport. The new rule, which the Department is seeking comments on until March 12, would classify small lithium cells and batteries as Class 9 hazardous materials, meaning shippers would have to use stronger special packaging materials and fill out more paperwork upon shipping. Shippers often do not know if items are traveling by plane or truck, so the new rules could drive up expenses for ground shipments too.
FCC Proposes Faster Broadband Speeds – The Federal Communications Commission has announced a plan requiring Internet providers to offer minimum home connection speeds of 100 Mbps to 100 million homes by a decade from now. The U.S. average Internet speed is currently below 4 Mbps. The U.S. ranks 19th in broadband speed, trailing South Korea, Japan and France. Verizon said they could make it happen using their fiber-optic FiOS network, but some other providers said the FCC’s plan was “just a dream.” The FCC also wants to use the Universal Service Fund, a subsidy program to get phone service and Internet access for low-income families.
Bose Goes from Ears to Derrieres – Bose has developed a vibration-dampening truck seat to reduce driver fatigue and back problems and plans to put it on sale first in Australia, where long-distance trucking is widespread. The Bose Ride is electronically-controlled and works with an electromagnetic piston that raises and lowers the seat in response to sensors that feel bumps, potholes and washboard roads thru the floor of the truck. Driver fatigue, head and neck tension and back problems afflict half the truckers today, accord to the Labor Department. The new seat will cost up to $15,000 and there is no mention of speakers built into the backrest.
CEA 2010 Mark of Excellence Awards Finalists – The Consumer Electronics Association awards honor excellence in innovation and achievement. The final awards will be announced at the Orange County Convention Center on March 26. Among the finalists were: Audio Product of the Year: Anthem Statement D2v with ARC, ELAN D12 12-channel amp, SRS Labs MyVolume Adaptor; Human Interface Product of the Year: Home Automation Inc. OmniTouch 5.7e touchscreen, Meridian Sooloos Digital media System; Speaker System of the Year: Paradigm Special Edition Series; Video Product of the Year: Crestron DM-MD8X8 DigitalMediaTM Switcher, Optoma Technology HD8600 HT projector, Meridian America 810 Video Reference System; Wireless Product of the Year: LG Electrnoics Network Blu-ray disc player.