Audio News for May 2, 2006

by | May 2, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Regional Coding a Possibility for Hi-Def DVDs? – The system of regional coding used on all except certain music video DVDs is designed to make discs purchased in one part of the world completely unplayable on a player in another part of the world. Many Europeans now have players which can play U.S.-made DVDs, for example. But the Sony PlayStation uses an even harder code that makes discs from one area strictly unplayable elsewhere. The intent with feature films was to not supply a DVD to a foreign country before the theatrical distribution had taken place there.

Both of the new Hi-Def blue-laser formats use a much stronger encryption system known as Advanced Access Content System (AACS) to prevent copying. Label sources say that it is still undecided whether the new formats will include regional coding in addition to copy prevention.  If they do many users may be in Big Trouble. Although the exact audio formats of the hi-def DVDS are still up in the air, it is possible that the next hi-res multichannel audio format will be eventually be carried on the blue-laser HD discs rather than on standard DVDs. In that case regional coding would be an even greater misery for users, since only a few music discs have used copy protection (and ran into plenty of problems with it) and absolutely none have been subject to regional coding. [Read more about this subject in Barry Fox’s column Region Code Blue in the print mags Hi-Fi News and MultiMedia Manufacturer.]

Warner’s New Approach to Music Sales – The new CEO of Warner Music, Edgar Bronfman Jr., has made digital downloads the fastest-growing aspect of its business – expected to make up about a third of the company’s revenue for the year. While commanding 17% of CD sales in the U.S., Warner has an almost 23% share of digital album sales.  One example was their release in France of a 20-second ringtone taken from the new Madonna album’s tune “Hung Up.” So many fans downloaded the tune for their phones that DJs began to broadcast it, drawing in the younger audience. If fans pre-ordered the album online, they were allowed to immediately download the entire song.  It was also offered with a video. In exploiting digital possibilities Warners has rethought the music business and perhaps indicated how the whole industry can be a success in the age of the iPod.

New CEA Standard for Powered Subwoofers – The Consumer Electronics Association’s Audio Systems Committee has voted to adopt a Standard Method of Measurement for Powered Subwoofers.  The standard provides specific tests for determining maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL) output and defines a ground plane test procedure and room correction factor. In addition it outlines the reporting requirements to comply with the new standard. The thrust of the standard is to create a level playing field for manufacturers of powered subwoofers, which have become a major part of the audio industry. Consumers will benefit by having for the first time an apples-to-apples comparison point when considering purchase of a powered subwoofer.

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