2013 CES Edition of Five Technology Trends to Watch – The Consumer Electronics Association has released their annual publication examining five prominent technology trends expected to influence the CE industry in the years ahead. This year they are: 1) the future of 3D printing; 2) next-generation TV; 3) the evolution of the audio market; 4) the mobile revolution in Africa; and 5) technology in education. The complete report is on the CE Vision website.
2015 UK Switchover From Analog to Digital Radio Looks Unattainable – A British panel of consumer experts laid bare the challenge of the digital radio switchover and criticized both Digital Radio UK and the Radio Centre. It questions whether consumers want or need digital radio and says the deadline may have the effect of “scaring consumers to switch.” The report said digital radio needs compelling content to encourage listeners to dump their analog radios, and not be bullied into maintaining access to the programs they enjoy on analog. The report also covered problems of in-car digital radio listening, signal strength, disposal of old analog radios, and the danger that older and disabled people will be left behind. It says a switchover date should not be seriously considered until at least 70% of listening is digital, up from the original 50% point, and not until DAB radios have been standard in cars for at least two years. There have also been many complaints from classical listeners that the sonic quality of DAB Radio has been a serious step backwards. (At least the in-band U.S. digital system sounds about the same, without multipath distortion, and we are not shutting down analog radio as we did analog TV.)
New Panasonic Home Theater Projector – Their latest home cinema projector is the AE8000, whose 220W lamp produces 2,400 lumens of brightness. The contrast ratio is 500,000:1. Images are 20% brighter than its predecessor and there is less crosstalk in 3D viewing (although brighter images usually show more signs of crosstalk). It automatically detects incompatible widescreen aspect ratios and switches them to 16:9. It has 3 HDMI inputs and works with Panasonic Viera remotes. It will be available next month at $3,899.
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Crisis – The latest U.S. symphony in a financial crisis is the country’s only fulltime chamber orchestra. Its management is asking the orchestra members to take cuts of 57% and 67% and to cut back on the number of concerts. These proposals have caused some of the musicians to sell their homes, audition for jobs elsewhere, and request leave to seek work in another field. The musicians had already accepted reductions in compensation that saved the SPCO over $2 million over the past ten years. Although the management claims the orchestra is failing due to the present economy, orchestras in St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Colorado, Boston, Milwaukee, Buffalo and elsewhere have reported good institutional health.
Target Matching Online Prices – Target is joining Best Buy in matching competitors’ online prices for the holiday season: Nov. 1-Dec.16. The new policy also includes mobile purchasing, free in-store Wi-Fi, and an extended return policy. The price matching will also extend to their web site, Target.com, and includes local retailers’ ads—both with a longer window, ending Dec. 24. Some stores will test “wayfinding” technology, which determines locations of customers in stores via their smartphones and guides them to specific products within the store.
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