Audio News for May 12, 2009

by | May 12, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

Sharp Forecasts Return to Profit – The major maker of LCD-display TVs unexpectedly forecast a return to profit this year by narrowing losses at the LCD unit and higher sales of mobile phones. Sharp said it plans to increase its lead in the Japanese moble market and to sell new models in China to help counter a second year of deficits at the LCD-TV unit. The firms president already had pledged to boost earnings by closing olod factories, cutting salaries and eliminating jobs as the global recession saps spending on consumer electronics. On the Tokyo Stock Exchange Sharp’s stock rose 74% this year vs. 30% for Samsung and 54% for LG Display Co. After slipping to fifth place in the world market share for flat-screen TVs, Sharp aims to regain ground by moving the opening of a new factory making 40-inch and larger screens from next March to this October. Sharp generates almost half of its revenue in Japan.

Avid Launches Advanced Digital Console Piano – Avid has introduced the M-Audio DCP-300 digital home piano, designed for students, hobbyists and professional players alike. It is equipped with audio inputs and a built-in stereo mixer, allowing users to plug in an iPod or CD player for interactive practice. Its 16 premium sampled sounds include some of the world’s finest instruments, including the classic Steinway Model D concert grand, it has 64-voice polyphony and a 40-watt stereo speaker system, an 88-note keyboard with touch designed to reproduce the feel of an acoustic piano, and all three pedals found on grand pianos.  With the built-in USB MIDI port customers can incorporate music education software into their practice routine, and can seamlessly work with recording and accompaniment programs such as GarageBand and Band-in-a-Box. The M-Audio DCP-300 comes with the popular Sibelius First notation software which enables players to write songs and created printed arrangements.  Users simply click “record” to transcribe what they play into professional-grade sheet music and immediately print it out or post it online. The piano carries a U.S. SRP of $1,375.95.

Consumers Taking Advantage of Alternatives to Expensive Cable TV – Cable and satellite TV rates continue to rise, and some users are cutting back on their services due to the recession. The timing is propitious, because many TV shows and movies are increasingly becoming available on the Internet. Forrester Research reports that while cable and satellite providers reach roughly 100 million homes in the U.S., computer-based TV viewing is growing – driven largely by age 18 to 34 adults who like to watch content when and where they choose. The ABC network just announced it has become a partner in Hulu.com, streaming its shows and movies from the popular site, joining NBC and Fox in the free online venture. The four major networks already stream shows from their own web sites, as do many cable channels. The shows are usually posted the following day after their telecast. A variety of other sites offer either network and cable content, movies or user-generated videos such as YouTube. 

The FCC reports that the average national price for expanded basic cable TV service in 2008 was $49.65, a 122% increase from the 1995 price of $22.35.  Meanwhile the national Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, rose only 38.4%. Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable have had declines in video subscribers of 2%.  Increasingly people are turning their TV displays into computer monitors, enabling them to watch Internet content on the big screen from the comfort of their couch. The future of video content seems to be going away from the cable box to the computer or right to the back of the TV.  Many users are also adapting a lifestyle of portability, driven by the transition to laptops and wireless networks. Some smart phones are now able to stream selected video content. And don’t forget the increasing number of TV viewers going back to an antenna and over-the-air (OTA) reception, which not only is free but offers higher-resolution HDTV than either cable or satellite services.

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