Audio News for May 15, 2009

by | May 15, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

Apple and Blu-ray Again? – Apple was one of the earliest backers of Blu-ray and a couple years ago the forums were hot with conjecture about new Macintoshes coming out with Blu-ray drives. Well, that option still hasn’t happened, although third party makers offer Blu-ray burners and players for Macs now.  Steve Jobs has loudly complained about the high licensing fees and processing for Blu-ray, but probably realizes that a Blu-ray drive included in an Apple TV or Mac Mini would make a very tempting home theater package. What Apple has done right now is to offer an updated beta version of the iPhone 3.0 software to developers, and it includes a pre-release version of iTunes 8.2, implying that Apple is getting ready to support playback of Blu-ray in iTunes.  This may not even affect Mac users – iTunes is a major media application now in the Windows world thanks to all the Windows users who carry Apple’s iPods and iPhones. So this step may only be a nod to the growing number of PCs with Blu-ray drives.

Survey of “Media Savvy” Consumers – A new report from In-Stat Research surveyed 1,151 media savvy consumers who all had broadband Internet connections, watch fewer hours of network TV, use PVRs to skip thru TV commercials, and obtain their programming from nearly all available channels. About 42% said they would be happy to pay to get network TV programs commercial free. The report also gives a quick loop at the U.S. visual entertainment market: Movies in theaters bring in about $9 billion per year; DVDs, Blu-ray & VHS are worth over $14 billion per year; Movie rentals bring in another $8 billion per year, with Pay-Per-View movies along constituting $1.6 billion – not including adult videos; Online video subscription services amounted to $150 million in the U.S. in 2004, and in 2003 the value of the movie market was about $42 billion.

Moxi DVR for HD – Speaking of PVRs, Digeo’s Moxi HD DVR is intended to replace your cable box and works like a Tivo. It has dual tuners and a 500GB drive that will hold about 75 hours of HD content. It ties into your home network and is supported without a rental fee or monthly fee.  The GUI has received many compliments, and a recent software update adds Hulu, Netflix, Rhapsody, DLNA, Flickr. It retails for $800.

Big Price Cut on 103-inch Plasma Display – Panasonic has announced that its acclaimed 103-inch full HD plasma display, which was a big hit at CES, has now been cut in price from its original $69,999.95 to only $50,000.  The unit has become a leading large-format display for both commercial and home theater applications as well as higher education. Since its debut, over 6000 of the 103-inch displays have been installed worldwide.  The latest model provides new video processing to further sharpen the image when displaying lower-res content or when zooming the image.  Its new Portrait Zoom function allows the display of a single horizontal image across three vertically-mounted 103-inch plasmas for an incredible visual impact totaling over 90 square feet of display.

Blu-ray Deals – Best Buy had a two-day Mothers’ Day sale offer of a normally $199 Blu-ray player for only $99 if purchased with at least a 32-inch display. Amazon is having an online sale of many Blu-rays at 53% off, as well as discounted Blu-ray bundles.

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