First Free 5.1 Surround Download – Nosound is Giancarlo Erra’s band’s name, who have just recorded their third album, A Sense of Loss. Known for their epic soundscapes fusing elements of progressive, ambient and post-rock, the group is offering a track from their new album as a free high-quality DTS 5.1 surround download that can easily be burned onto a normal blank CD and then played back on nearly any DVD player or home HT system. The track can be downloaded from www.thebenchmusic.com/nosound
Disney CEO Unhappy With Blu-ray Sales – Disney’s Robert Iger says Blu-ray disc sales have not met studio expectations because many DVD owners are not replacing the DVD editions they have of favorite films. Many consumers upgraded their videotape libraries to the new DVD versions a decade ago, but most consumers today are not replacing their DVDs with new Blu-ray editions as the studio execs had hoped. However, Blu-ray rentals are up 53.8% in 2009 and there has been a sharp increase in both Blu-ray player and disc sales. If the price difference was lowered from the present $5-10 additional, perhaps it would aid Blu-ray penetration.
Mobile TV to Take Off in 2010 – With the adoption of the ATSC Mobile DTV Standard in the U.S., several new mobile TV models will be rolled out. The new standard allows for live streaming of digital TV to portables via the same digital spectrum as local DTV stations who now telecast HD programming. LG will be one of the leading makers of the mobile TVs; there will also be smartphone accessores and in-car products.
Whole-House Music Systems for Mac Users – Computerworld magazine just did an extensive comparison of whole-house music systems, between Sonos’ Digital Music System, Logitech’s Squeezebox line, and Apple’s AirPort Express and Airtunes. They had different reviewers put together a system for their homes with one of the three approaches, as they were searching for an Apple-based system that approached the audio quality and features of the Sonos and Squeezebox systems. They failed to find it, and considering the more expensive Sonos system the best currently available.
Wireless Home Entertainment Possible Standard – Serious attempts to devise wireless consumer electronics schemes have foundered on technical shortcomings and divisive competition. Now an Israeli startup backed by venture capital – Amimon – may have the solution for a cord-free home entertainment standard. So far Hitachi, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony are supporting it. The first TVs and laptops with it should be in the stores by early 2010. It’s called Wireless Home Digital Interface or WHDI, and could be in everything from Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and gaming consoles to video projectors, camcorders and portable audio players. The technology will add $20 to $40 to the cost of an electronic device at first. What sets Amimon’s WHDI apart from previous attempts is its speed and quality. It can send digital video, including HD programming, around the house uncompressed at data rates up to 3 GB per second. There is no time lag and images are crystal clear. The radio waves can pass thru walls and have a range of about 100 feet. The company had hoped that electronics firms would begin building its WHDI wireless video modems into products this year, but that hope was dashed by the economic crisis. There are also threats from rival solutions, such as enhanced versions of Wi-Fi. Another is a competing hi-def wireless standard called WirelessHD, from SiBeam of Sunnyvale, CA. It offers similar features and capability to consumers, and its consortium includes three of the Amimon supporters: Sony, Samsung and LG. The time seems to be right for wireless home entertainment, because the technology has finally become as good as using cables.
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