Sorting Out HDMI Version Upgrades for 3D – The latest HDMI v1.4a spec is designed to accommodate all 3D video and audio formats and theoretically will work with any new home AV products offering HDMI 1.4 inputs and outputs, although suppliers should confirm for themselves. The HDMI 1.4a spec supports both side-by-side horizontal and top-and bottom 3D displays at 720p, 1080p or 1080i resolution. The frame-packing format for 720p is just under 60Hz and for 1080p just under 24Hz. Although AVRs will have to allow pass-thru or repeat of any of the 3D formats, various source components need only support one of the 3D formats.
Wi-Fi Internet Radio Tuner From Grace – Grace Digital has introduced the Solo Wi-Fi Internet Tuner for audio systems, bringing access to thousands of radio programs and podcasts from around the world. In addition to plugging into one’s primary AV system from its RCA output jacks, the unit also connects to any powered speaker set. It connects with any 802.11 wireless router and its front display controls plus handy remote allow you to search, skip and power the unit from anywhere in the room. There is also a free remote control app available for iPhones or iPod Touch users. The Solo gives access to over 18,000 radio stations and over 35,000 podcats, as well as one’s own persona Pandora “stations.” It can also access NPR and NOAA weather stations, Live365, and Sirius Premium Internet Radio. You can view song titles and artist details on each tune. The Solo also has a five-function alarum clock, 24-hour sleep timer and Internet-synced time and date. SRP is $125.
Book Collects Best of Former Cassette-Tape Magazine – Speaking of Art, from Phaidon Press, is a small sampling of the immense undertaking of William Furlong in the early 1970s, when he began to harness the lowly audiocassette for conversations with artists, when none of that talk was being met by any of the traditional arts publications. He recorded on 5-inch reels on a little Uher portable tape deck and then edited the converstions – more informal than typical interviews – into 60 or 90-minute portions for distribution on audiocassette. It came a sort of monumental audio sculpture, that got more attention in Europe than in the U.S. Some of the conversations were with artists such as Jeff Koons, Josephy Beuys, Andy Warhol, and Richard Serra. Furlong says he probably wouldn’t push the record button again now because it’s so difficult to spend time with the artists. It’s become such a business that “I have to go thru so many PR people and gallery gatekeepers…I just got fed up with that.”
Wolfson Licenses Tensilica HiFi Audio for Low-Power HD Audio – The leading mixed-signal technology audio firm has licensed the innovative DSP cores offered by Tensilica to bring hi-def sound to multimedia platforms, mobile handsets, netbooks, smartbooks, digital TVs and other multimedia devices. The idea is to maximise audio quality in multimedia products with a low-power and cost-efficient audio subsystem. Wolfson Microelectronics is involved in some of the world’s leading digital consumer goods – including premiere hi-fi components, mobile phones, MP3 players, flat panel TVs and portable navigation devices. No specs were provided, so we’ll see.
Channel D Allows Rate Changing in iTunes – The new Pure Music software from Channel D runs on top of Apple’s iTunes on Macs only and allows for automatic sample rate switching for playing hi-res audio tracks, which iTunes alone cannot do. The music database and playlist manager functions of iTunes are retained. The app is based on the firm’s Pure Vinyl audio playback engine and when combined with a hi-res sound card or separate DAC will deliver dynamic and detailed audio playback. It works with all iTunes-supported codecs such as as AAC, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV and MP3. SRP is $129.