Audio News for January 25, 2008

by | Jan 25, 2008 | Audio News | 0 comments

NBC Offers Free Online HD – At its web site NBC Direct, full episodes of NBC-TV shows in HD are being offered using Pando peer-to-peer technology.  No special software or hardware is required, and the service is now available for PCs running Windows XP and will soon also include Mac and Linux.

New HD Streaming Web Site – Akamai has begun hi-def streaming of content at thehdweb.com. A selection of 720p or 1080p content is available for streaming to your computer, provided you have an up-to-date system and enough bandwidth. Akamai sees a great future for HD on the Web.

Initiative To Make HD Radio Accessible to the Hearing & Sight Impaired
–  The first test transmission of a new technology to make radio more accessible to the hearing and visually impaired world population was held at the recent CES in Las Vegas.  It is a global effort launched by NPR, Towson University and the Harris Corporation, and makes use of the new HD Radio technology – whose digital capabilities make it easy for stations to transmit live textual transcripts to HD Radio receivers. It will give sensory-disabled individual access to radio programming as well as radio emergency alerts and disaster recovery information. Hearing-impaired users watch a video display scrolling a text transcript of programs, and a digital radio reading service will assist the visually impaired with daily readings of current newspapers, magazines and books.  The initiative hopes to leverage advanced speech-to-text software that one day will allow captioning across the entire radio dial. Special HD Radio receivers are being developed for the visually-impaired with features such as audio prompts notifying which direction the tuning is going, what channel is being received, and larger text on the displays. More than 1500 stations in the U.S. now broadcast HD Radio, including over half of public radio stations.

DTS Launches Pseudo-Multichannel Technology
– DTS has joined the several firms which offer technology to process a stereo signal to give an impression of surround from only the basic pair of speakers or stereo headphones. The process is called either DTS Surround Sensation Speaker or DTS Surround Sensation Headphone. Psychoacoustic techniques are used to make listeners believe that sounds come from outside the boundaries of a two-speaker system or headphone pair.  They expect the process to be useful in rooms in which a discrete 5.1-channel surround system is not feasible. The process also enhances the poor audio quality of MP3 audio files while keeping the mono components – such as a lead vocalist – unchanged. The DTS algorithm enhances dialog clarity and creates a phantom center channel that improves “audio crispness.”  It also restores the perception of fundamental bass waves via “dynamically augmenting harmonics.”

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