On Universal Pure Audio Blu-rays Being Only Stereo – All the audio-only Blu-rays released by Universal, classical and pop, have been only two channel, even when the masters were multichannel. We wondered why. We mentioned this to Jason Serinus at Stereophile and he talked to Barry Holden, the VP of the classical catalog at Universal Music. The word is that from now on, when 5.1 masters are available, their Pure Audio Blu-rays will offer both 5.1 and 2-channel 96/24 playback instead of just stereo. In addition, probably next year, Universal will re-issue again all the material released only as 2-channel as 5.1 also, when multichannel masters are available. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Universal has decided there is not enough interest in music for surround to warrant the additional expense of their making the original masters in multichannel anymore, so they have stopped. All the 5.1/2.0 Blu-ray releases will therefore be of older catalog items.
Sonos Upgrades App for Their Multiroom Audio System – The new Android and iOS apps will be available in the spring, and updated desktop controllers for Apple computers and PCs will be available later this year. A universal search feature enables users of the wireless multi-room system to search across networked devices in the home for a particular tune or artist. When users search for an artist in one window across all their music services, they could choose to play their radio station on Pandora, look up their album on Spotify, or play a track thru Hype Machine. The new user interface is refreshed and simplified. The app allows navigating between music currently playing, the room in which it is playing, and how to find the next tune the user might want.
Seiki Offers Free UHD Up-Conversion HDMI Cable – Purchasers of Seiki’s Ultra HD LCD TVs will get a free Technicolor-certified up-converting HDMI cable is said to to up-convert 1080p HD content from a cable box or Blu-ray deck into so-called 4K images for display on the UHD screen. The cables are said to dramatically enhance image quality, perform edge restoration and noise reduction, and improve texts for better on-screen and subtitle viewing. They will also up-convert 720p content to 1080p. Brightness, contrast and saturation are also said to improve.
Consumer Electronics Market in China Tumbles – The Chinese consumerelectronics market declined in 2013 as demands for products such as TVs and digital gear decelerated, compelling the country’s manufacturers to device new strategies for growth. The cessation of government subsidies for consumer electronics products played a major role in the decline.