Economic Fears Delay TV Purchases – A new study from IHS iSuppli shows that the numbers of U.S. consumers planning to purchase televisions this year have plunged to low levels due to worries about the volatile economy. Only 13% of consumers who had not purchased a TV during the past quarter plan to buy a new set during the next three to 12 months—down sharply from 32% in Q1. 83% of the respondents had not intention to buy a new TV within the next 12 months. This compares with 66% for Q1. Among those who did buy TVs in Q2, the most important criteria were picture quality, price and screen size. Brand name has become less important in decision-making. LED-backlit displays accounted for nearly 30% of TV purchases, up from 26% in Q1, and LCD technology in general represented 86% of all flat-panel TV sales, with plasma displays accounting for the remaining market. A slight increase was detected in those going for 50-inch and larger sets, but those purchasing under 30-inch sets increased as high as 38%. The use of Netflix among households with Internet-connected TVs soared to 66%.
LG Shows New Video Products – At the IFA tradeshow in Berlin, LG Electronics showed their latest 3D technology and SmartTV models. Their LW980T offers Cinema 3D and SmartTV, plus Nano Full LED Technology. The new LED technology is said to create brighter and clearer images and allows the panels to be slimmer than ever before. The higher-priced flagship TV comes with seven pairs of 3D glasses (not offered by any of the shutter-glasses brands) and built-in Wi-Fi. LG also launched their HX906TX 3D Sound Home Cinema system—a 9.1-channel system.
SACD’s Unique Copy Protection Defeated – In order to make it possible for listeners to use the DACs in their multichannel receivers instead of those in their SACD players, the industry allowed tapping into the data stream after HDMI conversion from DSD to 88.2K/24-bit PCM. As a result, the formerly unbreakable copy protection of SACDs was bypassed and techy users can get into the DSD stream itself using Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Korg’s Audio Gate software. There are now illegal downloads of DSD from SACDs using ISO on the Internet.
Israel Philharmonic Concert Disrupted by Protesters – The important Thursday night live Proms BBC broadcast of the Israel Philharmonic—conducted by Zubin Mehta—was taken off the air “as a result of sustained audience disturbance.” A Pro-Palestinian group had called for the BBC to cancel the concert and urged its boycott. When that didn’t happen, protesters took to the hall, shouting and booing, until they were ejected from Royal Albert Hall.
Ozawa Cancels China Tour – Seiji Ozawa, 75, is in Tokyo recovering from esophageal cancer and lower back surgery. French conductor Pierre Vallet, his primary musical assistant for a decade, will conduct the Saito Kinen Orchestra on the tour instead.
BBC’s Free Beethoven Experiment – In June 2005 the UK’s BBC Radio 3 offered free MP3 downloads of all nine Beethoven symphonies with the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. It was wildly successful, with 1.4 million downloads. Major classical record labels got very upset, naturally. As a result, no further free downloads have ever been offered. However, everything broadcast on Radio 3 is available in the UK on a listen-again basis for a week after its transmission, and it only takes slight tech savyness to record it for your collection. Radio 3 has also made available a series of video concerts, with each one viewable in “high quality vision” for a week after telecast. A year ago Radio 3 did a trial of having their poorer-quality 192Kb/s live Internet stream transmitted at 320Kb/s for the final Proms broadcasts.
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