DTS 11.1-Channel Sound on The Expendables 2 Blu-ray – The video release Nov. 20 from Lionsgate will be the first Blu-ray featuring a DTS NEO:X-optimized soundtrack which allows viewers to hear the movie in 11.1-channel surround sound. Users will have to own a receiver or preamp with Neo:X processing, which takes advantage of the special mix to enable consumers to experience a truly multi-dimensional sound stage. It optimizes 5.1 or 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks for a full 11.1 experience. (The news release is not clear, but presumably one requires the additional channels and speakers for the effect.) Front-height speakers deliver effects to the vertical dimension, elevating ambient sounds to a third dimensional space for more depth and realism. Wide speakers expand the sound stage and provide smooth seamless tracking of front-to-side action. This is the first single algorithm which handles 2.0/5.1/7.1-to-9.1/11.1 conversion, taking advantage of the technology’s multi-dimensional aural capabilities.
Classical News – Carnegie Hall in NYC is still closed due to hurricane Sandy, but the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is fully operational in two venues. The Zurich Town Hall Orchestra has a new conductor—Frenchman Lionel Bringuier—who is succeeding David Zinman. He is also resident conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A new high-tech set design of metal cages and screens, with titanium-like trees, is part of Teatro alla Scala’s new production of Wagner’s Siegfried, conducted by Daniel Barenboim. USC’s Thornton School of Music has opened a 3700 square foot concert hall due to a $3 million donation from Alice and Eleanor Schoenfeld. Berlin-trained Chinese conductor Lin Daye has won first prize in the International Conductors’ Competition Sir Georg Solti in Frankfurt, so is a new conductor to keep an eye on.
Pioneer Launches 28 Aftermarket Car Audio Items – Smartphone connectivity options in head units, and Pioneer’s adoption of the SiriusXM universal connector to add their new black-box tuner are two of the highlights. With SiriusXM, Tune Start begins playback of current songs from their beginning whenever a channel is changed, and Tune Scan let users scan and hear six-second samples of songs currently playing on their favorite music channels. Other technology includes Mixtrax virtual DJ, control of the Pandora app, and App Mode – which lets consumers listen to their music and streaming audio apps thru their sound system. Bluetooth AVRCP 1.3 enables head units to select and play music stored on Bluetooth-connected smartphones in the car. HD Radio appears in three of the Pioneer head ends, and a simplified menu structure in the single-CD units features more intuitive operation and feature setup. Five of their multimedia head units have Advanced App Mode, which enables control of select compatible third-party iPhone apps, including navigation, and head-unit access to iPhone features such as contacts, calendar and stored music. New lines of auto speakers and amps have also been launched, including four different Champion Series subwoofers, 11 models of the TS-A speaker series, and three new compact Class D amps, including one four-channel model with 100 watts per channel into 4 ohms.
New Boxee TV Device at Wal-Mart – The web-connected Boxee TV device goes on sale this week at select Wal-Mart stores for $99. It is designed to bring live TV and online video together for home users. In addition to providing online streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix and Pandora, it helps viewers to cut cable TV service by providing local TV reception via a built-in antenna. Those channels are combined with on-demand movie and TV channels from web-based sources. A $15-per-month service named No Limits DVR lets customers record unlimited telecasts to the Cloud and then access them thru the Boxee or from a computer, smartphone or tablet.
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