Sony’s New Digital Hi-Res Player Out Next Month – Sony has jumped the gun on Neil Young’s Pono. It is now accepting orders (SRP $299) for its lightweight 64GB hi-res Walkman Digital Music Player (model NWZ-A17), which will probaby be discounted everywhere. Mainly for headphone listening, it weighs considerably less than a new iPhone, plays video and audio files from MP3s to 192/24 PCM, FLAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, WAV and other formats. Has Bluetooth and FM radio. An optional microSD card allows expansion of memory, it can copy music via a proprietary USB cable, has a 2.2-inch screen, and the scroll, play and pause features are easy to use. It claims its software raises the sonic quality of compressed digital files, and battery life is up to 30 hours per charge. Sonically it’s not quite up to the level of the Astell&Kern players (at least $700), but for the price it’s a very good deal. In January they may have a second digital Walkman with even better sound quality. [Some of the above came from Jason Victor Serinus’ assessment of the unit for the San Francisco Classical Voice.]
Huge Controversy Over Met’s Production of The Death of Klinghoffer – The Met Opera’s upcoming production of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer has brought about major confrontations in New York City. Neither side seems capable of viewing the conflict thru the eyes of the others, just like the longtime mess in the mid-East. Adam’s librettist, Alice Goodman, is on the TSA no-fly list because of the libretto for this opera about the wheelchair-bound Jew who was killed by Palestinians on the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985. The anti- side is organizing a protest of hundreds of wheelchairs, and the Met’s Peter Gelb has decided not to put the opera on the HD video simulcast in theaters around the world, but is going ahead with the NYC production. The Klinghoffers’ two daughters, who originally supported the serious opera, now state that it “rationalizes, romanticizes and legitimizes the terrorist murder of our father.” Their letter is being included in the Met’s Playbill. The opera’s director says “My wish would be that they would come and see that there is an extraordinary respect for the characters based on their parents.”
Sling & ViXS Collaborate on New Transcoder for TV Anywhere – EchoStar’s Sling Media unit and ViXS Systems have a new plug-and-play, stand-alone Slingbox which delivers an up to HD-quality video signal to multiple popular CE devices inside and outside the home. It adds to the previous Slingbox services that of large-scale deployment and multichannel video programming distribution. The network transcoder uses a ViXS XCode 5190 chipset and performs up to Quad HD to HD transcoding for delivery of four independent video feeds, live or recorded, to four separate mobile devices.
CE Retail Sales Surge 6% – Partly due to the rollout of Apple’s 6 series smart phones, retail sales soared for mobile merchants and lefted the entire CE and appliance channels. CE details for once outperformed the greater marketplace, evening edging out e-tailers, who enjoyed a 5.4% gain last month.