Yamaha Adds Network Streaming to Tabletop Audio System – The new three-piece MCR-N560 from Yamaha ($649) includes AirPlay and DLNA 1.5 to play music from networked computers, drives and mobile devices. It also streams netcasters and plays FLAC and WAV files with up to 192K/24-bit resolution. If you want to use it wirelessly you will need a $99 Wi-Fi adapter, or a $69 Blutooth adapter. The unit includes an FM tuner, two 32-watt amps, and both optical and coax inputs for connecting a TV or Blu-ray deck. The speakers use a 4.75-inch woofer and 1.12-inch dome tweeter.
Harman Kardon and JBL Add Networked Audio – JBL’s first networked soundbar was introduced at CES, and two wireless tabletop speakers were introduced, both using AirPlay, DLNA and Bluetooth. Harman Kardon added Wi-Fi to that list, enabling the wireless streaming of music direct from any mobile device. The Infinity high-end line of audio products will also be resuscitated.
Many Vehicle-Specific OEM Car Stereo Upgrades – were introduced at CES, designed to plug into existing factory wire harnesses with no splicing or fabrication. Packages include speakers, subwoofers, and an acoustically-tuned digital amp. The Rockford Match upgrade is designed for specific VW and BMW vehicles, and includes two either five-channel or eight-channel DSP amps and three sets of vehicle-specific speakers. Tuning parameters can be downloaded from the Internet and flashed to the amps via USB.
CEA Praises Supreme Court Decision About Aereo TV Case – Consumer Electronics Association president and CEO Gary Shapiro has praised a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear a lawsuit brought by the nation’s major TV broadcasters against streaming video service Aereo TV. Aereo is a paid service which allows viewers in the broadcaster’s area to watch the same free TV programming on their mobile devices. The TV public spectrum has been given to broadcasters who are required to make free over-the-air TV available to anyone in their area. The broadcasters’ contention is that watching free OTA TV with a remote paid service is somehow infringing on the law requiring them to offer free OTA TV. Some TV networks have claimed they will stop OTA broadcasting if the court finds Aereo to be legal. If so, their TV spectrum will sold by the government for wireless Internet use, which the government is trying to do anyway, and the CEA supports this. [So take advantage of OTA TV while you can; it may not last forever…Ed.]
Sony Has Media-Oriented Smartphones – Sony has a new mid-tier Android smartphone focused on music playback. The GSM/HSPA+21 Xperia E1 has a 4-inch display, a 100dB speaker (what does that mean?), and uses ClearAudio+ mode to balance frequency response at all listening levels. It combines online and offline music, can create playlists and share tracks. It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU and 4GB of storage. There is also a “big-screen” smartphone that integrates with cloud services. It has a 6.4-inch screen.