McIntosh Laboratory Added to Fine Sounds SpA – One of the most respected names in high-end hi-fi for over 60 years has been acquired by Fine Sounds SpA of Milan, Italy, who already own Sonus Faber, Audio Research, Wadia Digital and Sumiko. Previously owned by the D&M Group, McIntosh fits in with the firm’s strategic direction in offering high-end brands that are the best in the world in their categories. McIntosh rose to power in the 1950s, and starting with Woodstock in 1969, they pioneered PA systems to deliver clean, high quality sound to gigantic arenas. The Grateful Dead’s “Wall of Sound” used McIntosh amps. McIntosh is highly recognizable by its black glass front panels and McIntosh Blue power meters and logos. Fine Sounds’ product development capabilities, distribution synergies and financial resources will provide new opportunities for McIntosh.
Two New PSB Speakers for Flat TVs – Canada’s PSB Speakers will add to slim on-wall speakers for use with flat-panel TVs to its line of in-room, in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Both are only three inches deep. The W1 is a single-channel speaker that can be mounted vertically or horizontally and can also be used for a surround speaker. The W3 combines left, center and right front channels in one horizontal enclosure. The drivers are sealed in their own chambers for superior imaging and soundstage. Each one comes with a wall-mounting bracket, pre-construction template, and tabletop stand. Pricing is $599 and $1199 respectively.
Parasound Adds DAC to Half-Rack Series – San Francisco’s Paraound has expanded its line of Z Series half-width audio components with the addition of a digital-to-analog converter. The 192K/24-bit Zdac improves the sound quality of music stored on USB-connected computersor stream via optical and coaxial digital connections from CD decks, TVs, players such as the Sonos. It uses Danish technology of a new jitter-eliminated method which restores the original recording’s streamed timing information. Digital signals are reclocked and upsampled to 422Khz. The unit has a headphone output criven by a low-noise/high current amp, with a dedicated volume control. SRP is $475.
Netflix and YouTube Usage Rise – A Sandvine Internet traffic study shows the Netflix usage rose 28.8% to be the No. 1 streaming service for fixed network use. YouTube also saw their traffic rise to 13.1%, with nearly 31% of that reflecting smartphone streaming use. Amazon, Hulu and HBO Go had lower figures. Overall average Internet data usage for North America rose 120% during the past year.
Dish Wins 1st Round In ‘AutoHop’ Suit – The legal challenge from Fox Broadcasting to Dish Network’s commercial-skipping DVR called The Hopper was rejected by a Federal District Court judge. Fox sought an injection because it felt the feature would interfere with its ability to garner advertising revenue. But the court did find that since Dish makes copies of AutoHop they are guilty of copyright infringement, but the decision said that Dish customers were not liable. The feature allows Dish subscribers to play back certain PrimeTime Anytime recordings free of commercials, starting at midnight the following day. Fox could not establish that it suffered irreparable harm from Dish’s actions.
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