Audio News for May 8, 2015

RadioShack Trademark Sales Still in Limbo – A federal bankruptcy court judge has approved the bidding process of RadioShack to sell its trademarks, online domains, and other intellectual assets, but he said he won’t necessarily approve the sale itself. The sticking point is the comprehensive customer database, with data on some 67 million consumers and its serious privacy issues.

Sharp Plans Custom Audio Channel – Sharp is using its hi-res Blu-ray/SACD/networked music player to establish a beachead for launching high-performance audio products into the custom-AV and system-integrator channel. The player is their new $5000 UPP SD-WH1000U, equipped with WiSA 7.1-channel wireless audio and HiHD wireless video. It has 3D blu-ray and multichannel SACD playback and embedded hi-res network music, and streams and decodes 192K/24-bit plus DSD hi-res audio files from DLNA-enabled PCs and NAS drives via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It also plays hi-res files stored on USB sticks. As a home theater hub, the played features three 4K-cabable HDMI 1.4 inputs and one output, plus ballanced and unbalanced audio outputs. It also features Roku-ready certification. Future products would include additional WiSA/WiHD products without wireless, and the technology could trickle down to power price points.

Digital Video Spending Hits #2.1 Billion in First Quarter – According to Hollywood trade association DEG, the gains stand in sharp contrast to declines in the sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs, which fell 13.3%. This is good news for the studios, which reap higher margins on digital sales, but the population is turning into one of widespread couch potatoes.

Samsung Sales & Profits Off in First Quarter – Their consolidated sales were off 12.2% compared to the year-ago quarter, and operating profits slipped 30%. In the CE division – including TVs, appliances, printing solutions and health and medical equipment – sales fell 9.4%. Falling exchange rates in Europe, Russia and Brazil let to decrased demand for flat-panel TVs. Sales, however, were up in the display panels and semiconductors division.

Tidal Claims to be Hi-Res But Isn’t – Tidal, which is competing with streaming system Spotify, offers 25 million different tracks (including videos) and gets away from the low-quality MP3 or ACC streaming but only offers standard CD-quality of 44.1K/16-bit lossless, although they call it Hi-Fi, which confuses matters. It only works with the Google Chrome browser and you pay around $20 a month for it. It is compatible with Sonos.

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