Audio News

Weekly Audio News for March 30, 2005


Published on March 30, 2005

Pioneer Closing Plants – Major consumer electronics maker
Pioneer Corp. ays it will cut 5% of its group workforce and close one
quarter of its factories to help it recover from an earnings slump.
Steep price declines in plasma displays, DVD recorders and audio
equipment were partly to blame. Considered a winner in digital
electronics until a year or so ago, this shows how quickly fortunes can
change due to sliding prices and growing competition from low-cost
rivals.

New Digital Home Music Player With HD & PDA Control
- Digital Techniques has announced their Blackbird player which
installs at one’s audio system and receives signals wirelessly from
computers or PDAs in the home. It can hold an entire MP3 music
collection, thus freeing up the hard drives in PCs, and allows feeding
Internet broadcast sources thru the audio system. A choice of two
high-performance sound cards are offered.

Frustration With Classical Downloads
- Classical collectors comfortable with the data reduction of online
sources have been left in the digital lurch by the explosion of paid
music downloading. Most popular sites offer little classical among the
pop, rock, rap, jazz, ambient etc. options. When classical downloads
are finally searched out online they are often just the warhorses, plus
the limited space for text information displays just the composer
and/or name of the piece and not performers – which is important to
classical listeners. iTunes is set up for pop music, dividing the music
into separate tracks every few minutes. The resulting audible gaps
and/or clicks are like what 8-track users once were forced to live
with. There is a “join tracks” option in iTunes, but it’s not a perfect
solution. Some sites are beginning to address the classical plight,
among them eMusic.com, Virgin Digital and Yahoo Musicmatch.

Consumer Acceptance of HDTV
- Half of all consumers plan to make their next TV purchase a HDTV set,
according to a new survey from the Consumer Electronics Association
(CEA). Dollar sales of DTV surpassed analog TV for the first time in
2003. The survey showed that 9 out of 10 adults were now aware of at
least one term referring to high-definition TV, and 84% have seen HDTV
somewhere in the last year. 53% said they felt positive about the
transition from analog to digital TV.

- John Sunier




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