Audio News for July 11, 2007

by | Jul 11, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Universal To Provide Music to iTunes on “At Will” Basis – The digital music biz might have a shakeup because the world’s largest music conglomerate – Universal Music Group – has announced that it will no longer grant Apple’s iTunes online music store guaranteed access to all its new releases. The company wants to keep its options open as it does with other retailers in the brick & mortar record shop world. Universal represents one of every three albums sold in the U.S., but they won’t be turning their backs on Apple, because digital downloads now make up 15% of their global sales, and iTunes is the leader in that. Many others are getting into paid digital music downloads, including Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Amazon. Even if Universal decides to furnish music to iTunes’ rivals and thus reduces Apple’s sales there, it would still encourage more iPod sales – increasing Apple’s already healthy sales from the hardware.

XM Radio Shows Two New Receivers
– The largest of the two satellite radio services, XM Radio, has unveiled two new ways to access their 170 channels of music, talk, sports and other entertainment. The XpressR is the first satellite radio with split screen display, and also features 30-minute pause and replay.  The XpressEZ is the most affordable XM receiver, an entry-level unit that still accesses all the XM audio channels. The XpressR allows viewing on the left the channel name, artist or song title of the channel to which one is listening, while on the right five additional channels’ information can be displayed. You can program up to 30 favorite channels and a remote has pause, replay and channel entry buttons. Both radios are compact and can be moved easily from home to car. Pricing is about $130 and $70 respectively (plus the monthly subscription of $13).

Bluetooth Home Audio Systems From Philips – Two new Philips home audio systems – the 628 & 630 – have Bluetooth wireless connectivity to phones and in the case of one model, to iPods too. The 628 has a separate iPod dock which wirelessly connects the player to the audio system, and has a CD player and separate speakers.  The 630 is an all-in-one unit.  Both offer SD card connectivity. They will retail for around $200.

Philips has also launched the Ambisound Home Theatre system (HTS8100). A Philips rep said their analysis study shows that customers want a real cinematic experience from their home theatre without the clutter of multiple speakers in the room. Ambisound features five amps and speakers integrated into a single horizontal sound bar, a three-band equalizer and a proprietary circuit for deep bass performance.  Something called the Smart Surround feature automatically ensures correct surround sound settings when playing music or a movie.


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