Audio News for September 29, 2005

by | Sep 29, 2005 | Audio News | 0 comments

Toshiba Delays HD-DVD to Feb/March – Revising its original
plan for a year-end  introduction of one of the two new hi-def DVD
formats, Toshiba has announced that their next-generation players will
be made available in the U.S. market in February or March 2006. NEC and
Sanyo Electric, plus several Hollywood studios, have been promoting
HD-DVD, while Sony and Matsushita plus several other movie studios have
been promoting Blu-ray – which is still expected to launch in time for
the holiday season. Toshiba plans to start mass production of players
in mid-December and feels it would be best to start sales of HD-DVD in
the U.S. on a wide scale rather than gradually.

New High End Music Download Service
– MusicGiants Inc. launched
their new high fidelity music download service yesterday. The service
is the first to offer their music files in Microsoft’s Windows Media
Audio (WMA) lossless format, promising up to seven times the audio
quality of MP3 and AAC music files on other commercial music services.
The quality of the original 44.1K CD will be replicated by using a data
rate of up to 1100 kbps, rather than the 128K to 192K used by most
download services. Licensing deals have been concluded with all the
major record labels, and digital copyright management is provided by
the  software. The cost, after a $50 annual fee, will be $1.29 per
track (vs. 99 cents for most services). Any device running the WMA
player can play the downloaded files, and the tracks may also be
obtained on a CD-ROM. MusicGiants has also introduced a home music
player, the SoundVault, which is preloaded with Windows XP and can
story about 10,000 tracks in high-quality audio.

Content Community Seeks More Restrictions on Consumer Rights
Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro –
appearing also on behalf of the Home Recording Rights Coalition (HRRC)
– testified this week to the Senate Judiciary Committee exploring
“Protecting Copyright and Innovation in a Post-Grokster World.” The
Supreme Court ruling on Grokster found that peer-to-peer networks could
be held liable for copyright infringements committed by their users.

Shapiro noted that despite winning the Grokster case the content
community is seeking yet additional controls. One would give the FCC
broad powers to control design requirements in the new digital radios.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) proposal is aimed
at limiting entirely noncommercial recording within private homes and
autos. The motion picture industry wants unprecedented market power
over innovation and creativity, thru a consortium of six major studios
called MovieLabs. Copyright law has repeatedly been changed to
strengthen the rights of copyright owners while narrowing the rights of
consumers. Shapiro noted “The use of technology to shift content in
time, place, form and structure is redefining our culture and spurring
new forms of creativity…these increasingly commonplace activities
involve conduct that an overly broad interpretation of the Grokster
case could prohibit.” The CEA and HRRC support House Bill 1201, which
would codify the doctrine established in the famous Betamax case –
products having substantial non-infringing uses are legal even if they
can be used for copyright infringement.

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