Home Theater Scalers Create 1080p Output From Different Sources – Most scalers go beyond format conversion, and improve on the internal scaling circuitry found in all but the most high-end HDTV displays. The internal scaling features in many HDTVs often lack the noise reduction and de-interlacing features of a stand along unit, and many sets cause serious video delay by their processing, throwing off the lip sync. Gefen makes three different scalers ranging from $300 to $500. The top-of-line Home Theater Scaler Plus has inputs for composite, S-video and component sources, so you can even process your old Beta and VHS decks to 1080p. Analog audio inputs are digitized and output via the HDMI connection to your 1080p display. Set-top boxes and gaming consoles can also be accommodated.
Custom, Ultra-high-end Digital Music System – A new NYC small business named Sooloos (their name is both palindromic and ambidromic) has custom-designed and built a hard-drive-based digital music system that runs $13,000 to $15,000 or more. The amps, speakers and rest of the system are extra. The developers found that both PCs and Macs produced awful sound due to noisy fans and leakage of other signals into the music datastreams. They created a fanless, diskless, purpose-built audio computer combined with a 17-inch touch screen display actual album-cover images. You touch the cover and you quickly have that album playing from the uncompressed audio files. One auditioner observed that Sooloos had finally found a way anybody could access their music, even with a huge collection, but another felt that analog vinyls on a good turntable still sounded even better.
Warner Bros. May Go Blu-ray Exclusively – Warner Bros. is the last major movie studio which supports both of the new hi-res video DVD formats. They were working on a special dual-format DVD which was supposed to come on the market sometime this year. But their Home Video VP Dan Silverberg just said: “…we made a decision to support both formats and let the consumer decide…but it appears consumers no longer want to decide…we are committed to the [Blu-ray] format.”
Naxos to Distribute Chandos Catalog – Naxos of America has begun handling worldwide digital distribution of the Chandos Records catalog. iTunes will have it until December 31, at which time eMusic, Rhapsody and Napster will begin offering the downloads. Chandos is one of the world’s premiere classical music record labels, known for its groundbreaking exposure of neglected musical gems. The label has won many awards for its natural sound quality and has issued many surround SACDs. Included in their artist roster are conductors Richard Hickox, Neeme Jarvi, Paavo Jarvi and Sir Charles Mackerras, among others. American opera singers Christine Brewer, Jennifer Larimore and Bruce Ford are also signed to the label. Distribution of the physical discs remains with Koch International.