Audio News for June 16, 2007

by | Jun 16, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Conflicting Approaches to the All-Digital Home – The all-digital home is seen entirely differently depending on what basic area of technology is talking – that’s what is responsible for the confusion and the many conflicting products trying to be on top of the game. The consumer electronics industry says the focus in the home is to be on entertainment devices – displays, amps, speakers, players, storage devices – which can connect to the Internet or computers.  They see PCs are just devices on the network.  The IT industry, however, says that intelligent servers, computers and home networks will connect to the Internet and controls everything in the digital home. Multipurpose cables in the home, such as the CAT5 cables provided in new home construction, are seen as the key to the digital home by the home automation industry. They want to link home security, lighting, curtains, sprinklers, entertainment devices, and everything else to this infrastructure of cabling. Lastly, there are the telcos and providers of content such as cable TV, satellite TV and radio, etc.  The amount of digital audio and video content available, without having to purchase physical discs such as DVDs and CDs, has grown immensely. These providers would like to see the digital home be made part of their larger content and communications network. We are in the early stages of what used to be called convergence, but industry experts feel that real convergence is at least ten years in the future.

Alienware HD Entertainment Center Launched
– The do-everything PC-based Hangar18 HD Entertainment Center, announced at the January CES by Alienware, is now on sale starting at about $2000. It competes with Sony and other PC makers in the home theater PC area, coming equipped with a 200w surround sound amp, HDMI output, Wi-Fi, USB 2.0, Firewire, Ethernet and component outputs. Extras include a $50 keyboard and $50 HDMI cable. You can upgrade to two OTA (over-the-air) HD TV tuners and two analog tuners and a Blu-ray drive is promised soon for around $650. There is also an upgrade chip available to output 1080p video. The Hanger18HD is designed for consumers desiring a comprehensive media solution for their living room or den, consolidating all the separate boxes, wires and remotes in the home.

Panasonic Launches Wireless Surround Speakers – Panasonic is one of the several home electronics firms now offering wireless surround speakers in their complete DVD home theater system.  The system includes four tower speakers, a center speakers and a sub, with the surrounds operating on the 2.4GHz frequency. The system can play compressed digital music and video, including DivX and there is a USB terminal on the front panel of the main unit to accept iPods and other portable players. Retail is about $1100.

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