Audio News for October 28, 2006

by | Oct 28, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

The “Smart” Home Is Not Always – So-called smart homes have been big for about four years now, and the subject was hot at the recent CEDIA Show. Many firms design and install smart homes for wealthy celebrities, entrepreneurs and politicians, costing anywhere from $10K to $250K.  All the new electronics products now have Cat-6 networking cable inputs, and it is expected to become the standard. New homes are constructed with Cat-6 wiring in the walls to all the rooms for computer, video, audio and control purposes. Control of all the gadgetry is either by touch screen or speech recognition.

But what happens if the new technology goes nuts? One installer reports they’ve had many cases where the users have been watching TV or listening to music when the voice command picks up on a comment in the reproduced sound, gets confused and turns everything off, or just goes crazy. Perhaps a character in a film says something like “turn it off!” and it does!  A professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford’s School of Medicine says too much exposure to technology causes a person’s brain to adjust to an overload of what he or she sees and hears, and without such stimulations the user can become bored, aggressive and anxious. A stay-at-home mother says “I feel like I’m living in a space age. It is hardly normal watching the kids asking the walls to change the television channel.”

Another Technology to Restore MP3 Files – Analog Devices (ADI) and Sonic Focus have combined their technologies to restore information lost in MP3 and other compressed audio files. ADI’s SoundMAX motherboard now includes Sonic Focus’ Adaptive Dynamics technology and is used with Microsoft Windows’ Vista operating system to offer enhanced clarity, brilliance, depth and warmth in audio playback. [Another option would be not to data-reduce the audio files in the first place, eh?…Ed.]

Hitachi Builds New Flat Panel Plant in Czech Republic
– Initial production of both plasmas and LCD TVs is expected to begin next summer in a city northwest of Prague. A spokesman said the plant will achieve reduced production costs thru optimized supply-chain management, logistical efficiencies and a consistent supply of product for the growing European marketplace.

Suits in 17 Countries Against Illegal Music Downloaders
– The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has launched more than 8000 legal cases against illegal downloaders of music in 17 countries in recent weeks.  The target is file-sharers – persons who place copyrighted songs on Internet file-sharing web sites and then offer them to millions of surfers without permission or payment. The cases include both criminal and civil lawsuits and include for the first time Brazil, Mexico and Poland. A total of 130,000 legal actions have now been taken outside of the U.S. by the IFPI. Over 2300 people have already been fined, with the average settlement totaling $3036 in U.S. dollars.  Among the file-sharing Internet sites targeted are BitTorrent, Gnutella, DirectConnect, eDonkey and Limewire.

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