Audio News for January 27, 2006

by | Jan 27, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Millions Think They Watch HD When They Don’t – Have you ever wondered when you see those little notices in the corner of your screen saying “Broadcast in High Definition” if some people (less knowledgeable than yourself of course) think they are getting HDTV when they aren’t?  Well, how right you are: according to separate surveys by Jupiter Research and Scientific Atlanta, only about half of consumers owning an HDTV set are actually watching genuine hi-def programming.  The reasons may be that they lack an outboard DTV tuner for their “HD-ready” TV, or they never signed up for the additional-cost HDTV channels from their cable or satellite services and have  no antenna for receiving HDTV terrestrial signals from their local stations.

Some 23% of HDTV owners said they were confused by the “Broadcast in HD” messages – not understanding that they appear whether you are seeing the program in hi-def or not. 28% of these HDTV owners said they didn’t get a tuner or sign up for HDTV because their picture was already so improved on their new HD-ready set, and 18% didn’t know they needed any additional equipment to receive HD signals. Increasing numbers of consumers purchase their HDTVs at lower cost from “big-box” warehouses, and thus fail to receive any direction about how to properly use their purchases.

Surround Sound Everywhere
– At the recent Las Vegas CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Dolby Laboratories demonstrated an ultimate home theater with 13.1-channel surround sound. The point was that 13.1 is the theoretical maximum number of channels possible with Dolby’s new TrueHD audio technology for hi-def DVD content.  Surround sound was not just limited to home theater and home audio displays but also part of some computer introductions. Toshiba’s Qosmio AV notebook, for example, boasts a HD-DVD drive and Dolby 7.1-channel lossless surround sound. It also supports standard Dolby Digital, next generation Dolby Digital Plus, Pro Logic II for creating five-channel surround out of stereo, Dolby Virtual Speaker for simulating surround sound effects from just two speakers, Dolby Headphone for giving virtual surround sound effects with any headphones, and Dolby Digital Live – an interactive surround codec especially designed for computer gaming. Oxford Semiconductor is part of the Hi-Def Audio-Video Alliance, an industry group trying to make FireWire the universal connector among all consumer electronics products – as an alternative to the HDMI format. They demonstrated a white box which connects to any Macintosh with Firewire – allowing users to output true 5.1-channel surround to speakers.

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