Audio News for June 8, 2006

by | Jun 8, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Secretive New Home Media Service – A new startup in the SF Bay Area is going by the mystifying name Building B. Phil Wiser was founder of Liquid Audio and more recently a CTO at Sony but left to start the new firm which is so far cagey about what they will do. “Offering entertainment and information services for consumers to the home” was one answer. Another was that they haven’t committed to anything, but they don’t plan on being PC-centric. That’s good news to those of us cringing at the nasty possibilities of all our music and images controlled by a PC. Wiser was involved in the Connect music project at Sony, which was intended to take on Apple’s iTunes but failed  miserably. He and his partner have studied the home entertainment market carefully and foresee a few basic changes for consumers overall.  This includes on-demand video, mobility, and “the fragmentation between traditional TV viewing, Internet viewing, and gaming.”

New Arcam DVD Player Uses Anchor Bay Technologies Scaler – Until recently entry-level DVD players offered about the same video quality as high-end players, although audio playback was improved on upscale players. Now some manufacturers are including specialized high-end video scalers such as Faroudja’s as part of their high end DVD players. The latest is Arcam’s new DiVA DV 137 universal DVD player, which is powered by the ABT1010 precision video scaler from Anchor Bay Technologies. The proprietary video scaling technologies are part of Anchor Bay’s Video Reference Series scalers, which upscale lower-res formats to the ultimate 1080p which is rapidly becoming the new high-end video standard. Using the DV 137 player’s HDMI output, the hi-res image is supplied directly to displays, bypassing the low cost scaling chips included in many modern digital video displays.

Radio Shack Launches National Rollout of HD Radio Receivers
– The giant electronics retailer has begun a pilot program in several major markets of the U.S. to offer and promote the new HD Digital Radio receivers.  The plan is to eventually stock their almost 5000 stores with this latest item in digital consumer entertainment, plus knowledgeable sales associates to explain the advantages of the new format intended to bring radio into the digital age, as HDTV has done to TV.   A RadioShack CEO observed that “HD Digital Radio technology is clearly the most significant advancement in terrestrial radio broadcasting since the introduction of FM stereo more than 50 years ago.”  More than 800 stations are already broadcasting in both digital and analog forms, reaching 75% of the population. This is expected to increase to 1200 stations and 90% coverage by the end of this year. Many stations will offer more than one channel, with different programming on each.  Proponents feel that HD2 (as it is now being called) services will provide the unique local connection missing from satellite radio while offering great sound and freedom from multipath and noise. FM stations are claimed to offer CD-quality sound, and AM stations using HD2 provide FM-quality sound.

[Those seem to be rather odd similes to me; a good live FM broadcast still sounds better than most CDs – I just heard one last week! There have also been a host of listener complaints about the poor sonics of the BBC’s digital services, and theirs doesn’t even suffer from the formidable technical hurdle of the U.S.-adopted “in-band” system!  Stay tuned…]

Related Reviews
Logo Pure Pleasure
Logo Apollo's Fire
Logo Crystal Records Sidebar 300 ms
Logo Jazz Detective Deep Digs Animated 01