New Name for Hi-Res Audio? – The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has had a big meeting and decided the new moniker for the next level of audio fidelity will be HRS (for Hi-Res Audio). This fits in with new initiatives mentioned in our Tuesday Audio News from the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG). The problem is that the name doesn’t tell consumers a bit about whether the so-called hi-res audio file is really hi-res (at least native 48K/24-bit), whether just a standard CD-quality file upsampled to hi-res, or what. Mark Waldrep of AIX Records, who is the only provider of content on the CEA Audio Board, prefers the branding of HD-A and frankly so do I. There are many audio firms out there who don’t really understand; they just think hi-res is the latest thing that will help sell more product, like 3D, smartTVs, smartphones, etc. (Just this week I inquired of a major label publicist about their series of Pure Audio Blu-rays and she said she isn’t handling videos.)
Smartwatches Are Out Now, But Who Wants One? – Apple won’t have its iWatch until next year, but smartwatches displaying message alerts and weather updates are showing up everywhere. Manufacturers are trying to get you to put them on your shopping list, but the big push is not coming from consumers. It’s a product in search of a market. Samsung has one for $300 and Sony for $200; Qualcomm plans to have one before the holidays. The main idea seems to be to give people access to information they would normally have to pull out their smartphones to check.
Micro-DisplayPort Being Readied – The Video electronics Standards Association (VESA) has said it is defining a mico-DisplayPort connector standard for connections between ultra-thin mobile devices to larger and even UHD video displays. They said market demand for mobile systems is rapidly growing and a micro-sized connector is essential to enable mobile systems to interact with the ever-expanding array of external display options. The new connector will be significantly smaller than the present mini-DisplayPort connector, and should be ready by the second quarter of next year.
Dish Expanding Wireless Broadband – Dish Networks will expand their pilot fixed wireless broadband deployment, which began in Virginia in June. They say the can deliver service with competitive thruput and speeds, and hope to service the nearly one-fifth of U.S. households underserved by broadband. In the system, outdoor routers receive a 2.5GHz LTE signal from Dish, and are then connected via Ethernet to a wireless router in the home to facilitate broadband Internet access thruout the premises.
Sony Pictures and Vudu Add Streaming Extras – via a new interactive movie-watching experience called Vudu Extras+. It offers bonus content like that packaged with DVDs and Blu-ray discs. There is also an enhanced scene-search tool to let viewers search movie content and instantly jump to favorite scenes. A Cllip & Share feature allows sharing with friends on Facebook and Twitter, and it also offers deleted scenes, featurettes and interactive movie trivia games. Vudu Extras+ is available to preview before purchase of a movie, and users who already have the movie in their library get access to Vudu Extras+ at no extra charge. District 9, After Earth and White House Down are some of the Sony films with the feature so far.