DirecTV’s Status – The largest satellite TV service, DirecTV Group, has announced that they will be adding a touch less than one million subscribers this year. Their revenues rose 8% over last year, and their client base in the U.S. is 15.4 million – up from 14.5 million a year ago. DirecTV’s average monthly churn (customer turnover) was reduced from 1.49% to 1.45% and their average customer was paying about $70 a month for the service. The firm’s president said that while the market is increasingly competitive, the impact from cable and telecom firms was not bigger than they had expected.
Coding Technologies and DTS Debut 5.1 Audio for HDTV – At the recent NAB Convention in Las Vegas Coding Technologies and DTS showcased their combined aacPlus/DTS transcoding solution for high-quality 5.1 multichannel sound with HDTV broadcasting. The new solution uses the highly efficient MPEG-4 aacPlus audio codec along with DTS audio technology to provide high quality multichannel audio in a fraction of the typically-required transmission bandwidth. Over 50 million home theater receivers now are capable of decoding DTS 5.1. A spokesman for Coding Technologies observed that the transcoding solution provides for the first time a real alternative for multichannel transmissions by enabling the installed base of home theater receivers with DTS. At the same time, Coding Technologies announced a similar cooperative effort with broadcast pro equipment maker Orban, which has made possible a free Coding Technologies/Orban AAC/aacPlusT Player Plugin which enables any of the 80+ million users of the Windows Media Player to improve the quality of their digital audio. CD-quality audio is said to be provided with only one-quarter the data requirements of MP3 format. The codec’s compact bitrate virtually eliminates content rebuffering, which has been the bane of Internet streaming audio and satellite radio reception.
High End Audio at CES To Move – The high end audio exhibits at the January Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – previously held at the Alexis Park – will move for the 2007 show to The Venetian Hotel. CES’s designation for the industry has also changed from the previous “Specialty Audio” to “High-performance Audio.” Home theater companies will benefit from increased space for demonstrations, and all exhibitors will have a choice between traditional convention space in the Venetian ballrooms and demo suites in the Venetian Tower. Maybe the car stereo folks will want to go over and install some audio systems in those gondolas… The dates for the 2007 show will be January 8 thru 11.