Sony Names Japanese President/CEO – Sony Corporation has named Kazuo Hirai president/CEO effective April 1, replacing Howard Stringer, who recommended to the Sony board that Hirai be his successor, partly due to his work in the networked entertainment businesses. Hirai said he wants to drive the growth of their digital imaging, smart mobile and game technologies, and to turn around the television business.
THX Media Director Products – THX announced at CES several of the first THX Media Director-enabled products, including devices from Epson, Dune HD, Indy Audio Labs and Sharp. The technology enables playing a variety of media formats by allowing CE devices to automatically select the most appropriate audio and video settings. It can be encoded into most CE devices and formats including streaming content, Blu-ray and DVD discs, CDs, audio files, downloads and more. Specific creative and technical characteristics of AV content captured by THX Media Director includes content type, aspect ratio, size, film grain, 2D or 3D, room size, and optimal audio surround sound. The technology allows post-production teams to set specific color parameters, for example, to ensure that a dark movie utilizes the appropriate black levels to allow viewers to differentiate images and shades in darkened areas. THX says any digital media can thus be turned into “smart content.” Other THX Media Director-enabled devices and content are expected to launch thruout the year.
Theta Digital Upgrades Its Preamp/Surround Processor – Theta Digital is preparing multiple upgrade options for its existing flagship Casablanca III HD preamp-surround processor. A new digital output card features six pairs of 192K AES/EBU outputs for connection to outboard DACs. A second upgrade is a post-processing card extending bandwidth to 192K on all channels and adding DTS NEO:X 11.1-channel post-processing. (Most AV receivers only have 9.1-channel Neo:X.) A bundled daughter card delivers Dirac Live digital room correction, which uses mixed-phase processing to improve in-room frequency response and phase errors, reduce first-order reflections, and improve time-alignment. Setup requires a laptop computer and a supplied microphone. In April, Theta will also ship their new Prometheus monoblock amp, the brand’s first Class D amplifier, rated at 250 watts into 8 ohms.
Audio Design Associates’ $40,000 Multichannel Preamp-Processor – Said to be the industry’s most sophisticated preamp-processor, the Cinema Reference Mach IV features 16-channel Trinnov room-correction technology and a direct digital signal path to the output stage, with no A/D or D/A conversion between processing and post-processing stages. The front, center and surround speakers can all be bi-amplified in a 7.1-channel system. A 7-inch 1080p touchscreen on the front panel doubles as a video preview and a setup interface. The rear panel has 8 HDMI inputs with dual-mirror HDMI outputs. There are inputs for 12 audio-only components and 8 AV sources.
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