Streaming Grows Tremendously – According to the 2014 Nielsen SoundScan, on-demand streaming of music has grown more than 50% and the sales of digital songs for downloads has dropped by more than 12%. In spite of lossy streaming services like Spotify, and the new CD-quality ones from Tidal, Naxos and others, the single biggest way most people stream their music is the highly compressed YouTube – their on-demand video streams topped 85 billion in 2014. When both video and audio-only are included, Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” was the single most-streamed song of the year.
New Ultimate 3D Sound Processor – Dr. Edgar Choueriri and his staff at Princeton have come up with an audio processor package which began with binaural recordings, which are unique because they emulate the workings of the human head. The processor does this electronically, using HRTFs, special software and head-tracking in order to create a surround experience from two stereo loudspeakers which audio engineer Bob Katz claims sounds better than not only 5.1 but even 10.2 surround. Unlike the Smyth Brothers system (and several others which don’t work), the BACCH system does not require stereo headphones. The experience, however, is limited to a certain sweet spot in relation to the listener, though software enhancements to provide the experience to several people simultaneously in a room have been made. The system is so far sold only thru commercial agents/dealers and costs about $54,000. The January issue of Stereophile had articles on the system.
LG Teams With ADT to Offer DIY Home Automation – This fall the new LG Smart Security hub will be part of many LG sets. It incorporates a 1080p night-vision camera with 150 degrees field of view, motion detection, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, and the wireless Z-Wave and Zigbee HA 1.2 home automation standards. It will have light, temperature, humidity and pressure sensors, and can send alerts to smartphones and tablets to allow users to monitor and control their devices from remote locations. It will also stream video from the hub’s camera. Consumers will also get the option to subscribe to ADT for additional home protection on a no-contract basis.
AllPlay Multiroom Audio Gets Multiple Upgrades – Qualcomm has upgraded its AllPlay wireless multiroom technology to add multiple new features, includ the ability for AllPlay spakers to retransmit Bluetooth-connected sources and wired line-in sources over Wi-Fi to other AllPlay speakers in the house. Speaker DSP settings can now be accessed to create custom EQ settings, stereo AllPlay speakers can be switch to being entirely left or right channel so that two can be used as a stereo pair to widen the soundstage. Monster has three AllPlay speakers at Best Buy and Hitachi has some at Walmart.