Blu-ray Has Sold One Million Discs – In less than a year since its introduction the Blu-ray hi-def DVD format has sold over a million discs, and accounts for 70% of the hi-def movies sold during the first quarter of this year, according to figures published by Home Media Research. Three out of every four hi-def movies sold during March were Blu-ray, and seven of the top ten selling hi-def movies are on Blu-ray Disc.  Hi-def 1080p video and maximum storage capacity of up to 50 GB on double-layer Blu-ray are the two major attributes of the next-generation format.

Wal-Mart $299 HD DVD Player Coming
– Wal-Mart just ordered a bunch of Chinese-made HD DVD players from a Taiwan manufacturer, aided by Japan’s TDK.  It’s not known when they will actually be on Wal-Mart’s shelves but when they are the price will beat Toshiba’s entry-level HD DVD player by $100.

CEO Can’t Understand How RadioShack Stays in Business
– RadioShack CEO Julian Day says he has no idea how the more than 6000 U.S. outlets of the home electronics dealer manage to stay open. He said “You wouldn’t think people still buy enough strobe lights and extension cords to support an entire nationwide chain, but I guess they must or I wouldn’t have this desk to sit behind all day.”  He also said “Just walking into the place makes you feel vaguely depressed and alienated…it’s just…weird.” “Even the name ‘RadioShack’ – can you imagine two less appealing words placed next to one another?”  He said their customers are out there somewhere, and thank God they are. He suspects the company’s continued solvency might involve wedding DJs, emergency cord replacement, and off-brand wireless phones, and he conjectures the store is still coasting on the fortune made in the mid-1970s from remote-controlled toy cars. Day concluded, “I may never know the answer. No matter how many times I punch the sales figures into the crappy Tandy desk calculator, it just doesn’t add up.”

New Single-Chip Audio Processor for Hi-Def DVD Formats – Cirrus Logic has introduced a single-chip audio processor to enable mass market home theater products such as AV receivers, hi-def DVD players and receivers to play back the many different audio formats now used by Blu-ray and HD DVD.  Supporting all the necessary audio algorithms and system clocking for both new formats is substantially more complex than standard DVD. Many of the new codecs require bit-rate processing far greater than the typical 384 kbps of today’s DVDs.  The lossless surround sound codecs of both Dolby and DTS, for example, require processing as high as 18 to 24Mbit/s. The new chip is the CS49700. It provides support for the latest HDMI version, 1.3, and offers  such post-processing algorithms as Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS 96/24, Neo:6, MPEG, AAC, SRS Circle Surround II, Dolby Headphone, Dolby Virtual Speaker, SRS TruSurround XT and THX Ultra2. The cost-effective IC solution will speed the introduction of new AV products and provide an advanced audio experience to match the hi-def video.