Audio News for September 15, 2007

by | Sep 15, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Two Ways to Access Home Media Today – Americans have become voracious video viewers. A recent survey estimated that the typical American now spends two months in each year watching TV.  People want to display on their new flat screens even more broadcast channels as well as photos, home movies, and video from the Internet.  It’s hard to believe that the first wireless remote control for TV was invented only 40 years ago. (Remember how just jingling your keys could also turn your TV on and off?) Now many homes have so many different electronic devices using remotes that there is a growing market for universal remotes to funnel all those separate controls into one unit – usually big enough it’s not going to get lost under the sofa cushions. [We have a review of one coming up soon.] Some extreme digital media enthusiasts solve the multiple-device, multiple-remotes problem with one of the new PC-based entertainment center units.  This is a single large component that replaces most of the video, audio and PC gear.  The newest models are now able to handle HDTV, and even include multichannel amplifiers to power the home theater system speakers. Some feature a large hard drive to store digital audio and video as well as time-shift HD programming.

Another way to enhance the features of electronic media in the home is the growing effort to connect electronic devices with one another thruout the home, to enable delivery of video and audio in different rooms – not just in the home theater, living room or den.  More than 50% of new homes now include some sort of CAT-5-type wiring between rooms to allow for custom connectivity now or later. And this includes PC connections as well as digital audio and video. DirecTV and others already have Ethernet connections in some of their set-top boxes, so Internet video can be sent around the home along with the audio and other video sources. This often involves translating the video content from one codec to another so it can be displayed, such as from DivX or VLC to NTSC. Stay connected.

Comcast Pulls Plug On Big Users – Comcast Corp. has punished some of the users of their Internet cable service  by simply cutting it off – claiming that excessive downloading – primarily of video and audio material – is slowing down the network for other customers.  This is a known disadvantage with cable Internet connection.  But the company declines to give users any download limits, so those who have been suspended had no idea of how much was too much.  Comcast says only a small fraction of their customers have used enough bandwidth to warrant cutting off their service. As Internet usage – due to HD movie downloads, streaming video and interactive gaming – increases, cable companies in particular might soon end up with a short supply of bandwidth, which could cause a heavier crackdown on overusers.

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