Audio News for October 6, 2006

by | Oct 6, 2006 | Audio News | 0 comments

Second Generation HD DVD Players Improved – Toshiba unveiled their new HD DVD players at the recent CEDIA show in Denver. They are the HD-A2 and HD-XA2. Both models address the very slow load time issue that early adopters are all aware of.  The time is reported as being half of the early model.  The higher end XA2 player has an HDMI 1.3 port, allowing for twice the video bandwidth and true 1080p output for the new 1080p displays. The unit’s remote control has also been redesigned. Pricing for the two players will be $500 & $1000, but the XA2 will not be available until December.

Sony’s First 50GB Blu-ray Discs – Will be released starting next week, and then in November and December.  The titles are Click,  Black Hawk Down, and Talladega Nights. Each dual-layer 50BG disc will include all the extras found on the standard DVD, but in HD.  Blu-wizard is a new playlist technology letting users customize the way they access the special features. The lack of the 50BG discs so far has been viewed as a negative in the format battle since the greater capacity is a primary technical advantage of Blu-ray vs. HD DVD.

Dedicated Search Engine for Consumer Electronics Research – Retrevo is the name of what is promoted as the “ultimate” research site for consumer electronics buyers, owners and users. It uses proprietary algorithms to crawl, collect, analyze and classify all known information about consumer electronics products.  Retrevo’s machine learning technology performs deep content analysis, classification and retrieval, giving consumers the right answers right away. One of the investors in Retrevo said “Consumer electronics is a $130 billion market in the U.S. alone, but no company offers a single site to support consumers throughout the life cycle of these products.” The site is designed to become the primary online destination for research about consumer electronics because it helps people complete their search for the best products, information and support. A public trial of the service is being offered at:

Bathroom TVs? – If you thought the radios and CD players for the shower were silly, hang on for the big splash made by two different companies now offering bathroom TVs!  Armour Home Electronics’ “Splash” TV is a 17-inch widescreen LCD model designed for “high humidity” environments.  A toaster-in-the-bath calamity is precluded by the TV running on a safe 12v power supply and being completely watertight front and back.  The screen is heated so it stays free of condensation, and the unit can be built into an appropriate wall if you so desire.  Its remote is water resistant.  The other 17-inch widescreen LCD is from Presentation Systems Ltd. It’s water tight, comes in several different finishes to match your decor, and includes a Freeview tuner with access to over 60 TV and radio stations (in the UK, that is). The TV comes with a choice of either integral or external speakers.  Hey, these would be just the thing for watching that Chinese movie that takes place mostly in a steam bath!


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