Audio News for November 3, 2009

by | Nov 3, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

Disney’s New Movie Technology for the Home – A new technology named Keychest – which will eliminate the need for physical DVDs or visiting a local video store – is being shown to Hollywood movie studios. The technology allows consumers to pay a single price for permanent access to a movie or TV show across any digital platform or device, without any playback problems. It uses the same “cloud computing” logic underlying some Web-based applications such as Google Docs, permitting users to store video files and photographs on remote servers and access them from anywhere, rather than keeping them on their own computers. Movies are not downloaded – they are accessed on the servers of a content aggregator.  When a consumer buys a movie from an online outlet, their accounts with other participating services would be updated to show that title as now available for viewing on any device.  Disney believes the technology could result in a new parameter for consumers owning a movie or TV show.  It redefines ownership as access rights – not physical possession.  Disney’s president of home entertainment predicts that in combination with Blu-ray, this digital distribution “should bring our category back up to a healthy state where we can expect growth in the future.”

Yo-Yo Ma 90-CD Box Set – Record labels are into multi-disc boxed sets for this holiday season to an extent not seen before. One huge example is Sony Masterworks’s set “Yo-Yo Ma – 30 Years Outside the Box.”  Actually, the 90 CDs are all in the box – they include every last album on CD or LP which Ma has recorded to date, remastered with DSD technology, with bonus CDs, a 312-page illustrated hard-bound book, a lovely velvet-lined box, and numbered as a limited edition. The bonus discs include the premiere release of John Williams’ Suite from Memoirs of a Geisha for cello and orchestra. Makes sense it might be a limited edition – it retails for $789.

Use My Accent Site – Nothing to do with music, but the new UseMyAccent.com web site demonstrates another unique functional use of the Internet in the audio area.  The site, launching November 16, is an introduction service between performers of all sorts needing to perfect a specific accent, and ordinary people who have those accents and can upload them on the site.  Actors will send their lines, along with payment, to readers who will then read the lines using their native accents, into an MP3 file. The file is then returned to the actor, providing perfect regional pronunciation of each word. Up until now, when an actor needed a special accent with which they were unfamiliar, they would have to learn it from a CD, a TV program or film – and those methods wouldn’t provide the pronunciation of the specific lines they would be performing. The new service allows the actor to get spot-on accuracy in speaking each word. The service suggests a guideline of $20 for up to 250 words.  The site will also provide an atmosphere where actors can try out the new accent they just learned, discuss the arts inter-culturally in virtual coffee shops, and make new friends and work contacts. Now actors who have received bad marks in movies for their poor accents can all sound like Meryl Streep.

Electronics Price-Gouging in Australia – A major row is happening in Australia, where home electronics sales have been better than in much of the rest of the world. Overseas subsidiaries looking for profits are taking advantage of Australians as their dollar climbs to almost the equal of the U.S. dollar. A Yamaha receiver costs 63% more in Australia than in the U.S., a Pioneer Car CD receiver is 59% more, and Samsung charges 20% extra for their TVs. Sony is also blamed, and dealers demanding massive margins are part of the problem. According to Channel News, Apple is one of the few companies refusing to pander to retailer demands.

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