Audio News for September 22, 2007

by | Sep 22, 2007 | Audio News | 0 comments

Combo Hi-Def Disc Concerns – Warner Bros. announced some time ago they expected to launch a combo HD DVD and Blu-ray disc to ameliorate the new format war – basically the two formats glued together back to back, called “Total HD.”  We haven’t seen it yet, and may not, due to a number of technical problems plus increased cost of production.  The combo disc which presently exists is a combination HD DVD on one side and a standard DVD on the other. The two studios using them on certain releases are Warner and Universal, and they cost more than either HD DVD or DVD discs.  The plan was that HD DVD users would like to be able to play a movie in their standard DVD players as well as their hi-def player, and that those without HD DVD could play the DVD side until such time as they purchased a Toshiba hi-def player in the future. Few, however want to pay extra for a  format they are not going to use. Backwards compatibility turns out not to be as important to consumers as the developers had thought. In addition, there have been many complaints about playback problems with the combo discs.  Returns of the movies “300” and “The Matrix Reloaded” are widespread. Due to the complaints the two studios have cut back on the number of films released as combo discs and perhaps the idea is failing.

High End Prices for High End Media Items – There aren’t many vacuum hold-down turntables anymore and even a slight irregularity such as an edge warp can cause mistracking of sensitive tonearms on high end turntables.  Tokyo-based Furutech has the solution in their DFV-1 Record Flattener. It uses carefully-controlled heating and cooling to flatten warped vinyl, and it’s only $1,480.  The First Impression Music audiophile label debuted JVC’s K2 HD xrcds at the Hong Kong High End Audio Show last month. The new technology is said to be the closest yet to the master tapes and a greater improvement over standard CD than even SACD.  FIM K2 HD xrcds will retail for $32 in aluminum and $48 in gold. At the same time FIM is custom-producing Edition “The Best” CD-Rs by hand directly from the master tapes. The discs are dynamically balanced to minimize fluttering inside the player, treated with two proprietary fluids, and each is laser-printed with the customer’s name and his exclusive serial number. Cost is between $120 and $150 per disc, to “The Best” club members only.

Imagine a Voice-Recognition TV – Westinghouse Digital Electronics, one of the top LCD display manufacturers in the U.S., conducted a poll asking consumers “If you could design a TV yourself, what would you add?”  Top answers included: Voice recognition, Touch screen, 120Hz refresh rate, Wireless operation, Energy conservation, Built-in DVR, Built-in DVD, Bluetooth connectivity. 

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