Audio News for May 14, 2010

by | May 18, 2010 | Audio News | 0 comments

Sony Considering Purchase of EMI – The head of Sony Music said in a German paper that they are “in a position to seize every opportunity in the market – including EMI.” The ailing British major music company is a prime rival of Sony Music. It is the home of the Beatles, Coldplay, and many of the top names in classical music. The head of BMG, another of big music ventures, and partnered with Sony in the U.S.,  said recently that BMG would not bid on EMI in the near term. However, Warner Music’s CEO has been reported to be eyeing EMI’s assets. The largest of the music companies – Universal – is owned by the French company Vivendi; they said in March they were not holding talks about a deal for EMI.

New Standard for Portable Media Connection
– The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has published a standard determined by their Portable, Handheld and In-Vehicle Electronics Committee. The ANSI/CEA-2017-A adds capability to the Portable Media Device Connector for USB v3.0 and VESA’s DisplayPort. The new standard allows consumers to download HD movies in just over a minute, vs. ten minutes required with the previous USB 2.0 technology. The standard will pave the way for future innovations across the portable media spectrum which has become a huge market recently. It establishes an electrical interface to accommodate uncompressed HD audio and video, high speed file transfer, device recognition and control – opening the door to further protocol refinement. This will result in a more convenient and universal portable device interface for the consumer.
Paramount Recalling Saving Private Ryan Blu-rays – Paramount Home Entertainment is recalling their Sapphire Series Blu-ray edition of Saving Private Ryan, just released in North America, the UK and the Benelux countries, due to an audio sync error that happened during Technicolor’s authoring process. The error was not detected prior to replication of the Blu-rays. Purchesors of the faulty Blu-ray may call 888-370-8621 for details about how to exchange their faulty Blu-rays. For the UK the number is 08000-852-613.
This brings up the serious problem of lip sync problems with many sources – not just Blu-rays. Extras on DVDs sometimes are out of sync vs. the feature film, and telecast programming varies wildly – with certain programs being in sync at the outset but going out of sync later in the program. If there are many talking heads in the program this can drive viewers crazy. The only solution is an easily-adjustable audio delay unit such as the Felstons (which we reviewed here) or those built into many AV receivers and preamps (some not so easily adjusted). It is nearly always an audio signal ahead of the video signal because the video goes thru so many different processors before it gets to your screen.
New Asus PC for Multimedia Fanatics – Asus’ Eee PC ET2010 boasts a 20-inch multi-touch display with 1200×600 pixel resolution and HDMI capability. It features DirectZ 11.0 functionality for improved video playback and SRS Virtual 5.1 Surround for enhanced audio fidelity.  It has a one-inch profile and a scratch and damage-resistent shell, plus an Energy Star 5.0 accreditation. The PC is ideal for watching HD videos online and tagging and sharing family photos.
First-Run Movies in the Home – On Friday the FCC granted a petition from the Motion Picture Association of America  – the lobbying group for the major studios – permitting a limited-period use of “selectable output control” technology for watching new movies in the home. It disables video and audio outputs on set-top boxes which prevent illicit recording. Consumers want to see new movies on big-screen TVs or portable devices without waiting months for the DVD, Blu-ray or VOD release. Currently new movies are made available to people three or four months after theatrical showings end, or they are released on DVD/Blu-ray.  But fear of piracy has impeded delivering first-run movies directly to consumers in the home. Consumer groups and the CEA are unhappy with the  FCC ruling, saying “the decision is not in the public interest.”  A Washington public-interest group said it “allows the big firms for the first time to take control of a consumer’s TV or set-top box, blocking viewing of a TV program or motion picture.”

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