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Audio News for November 12, 2013

“Wait and See” Attitude to Purchase of UHD sets; CES Ultra HD Conference; Philips HDR Pair Directed at TV Cord-Cutters; Jazz Pianist Viyay Iyer Gets Attention; Dish Network Closing All Blockbuster Stores

Published on November 12, 2013

“Wait and See” Attitude to Purchase of UHD sets - If research in Australia is any indication, when it comes to buying a large-screen UHD, consumers in general are likely to use a “wait and see” approach. (The Aussie article uses the term “4K” incorrectly instead of the proper one: “UHD,” since 4K is the professional theatrical system, not the home hi-res TV system.) The research found that 65% of consumers felt that UHD was another 3D TV issue and just dreamt up in an effort to stimulate falling TV sales.  “Price” and “lack of 4K content” were the primary reasons consumers will delay purchase of a UHD TV this holiday season. In China they are doing much better, because UHD TVs are 45% cheaper there than in Australia.   Overall US pricing for UHD TVs is 25% cheaper than in Australia. An analyst pointed out that although the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the Sochi Winter Olympics will be offered in UHD, this will have minimal impact on the adoption of UHD. It is hoped that services such as Sony’s Video Unlimited service and upscaling features will help bridge the content gap.

CES Ultra HD Conference – The Consumer Electronics Association has it right: they’re not calling it “4K.” They’re having a conference in NYC today, with three panel discussions titled: “Ultra HD: An evolution or a revolution?”, Native Ultra HD Content: Where’s the Beef?”, and “Taking Ultra HD to Retail.” A LG executive will discuss the steps being taken to transition its line for early adopters to the mass market.

Philips HDR Pair Directed at TV Cord-Cutters -  Philips says it is positioning its new hi-def DVRs as “cord-cutting” solutions to allow consumers to watch and store content from sources other than cable, telco and satellite TV services. The DVRs do not have an onboard program guide as do competitors. Programs are set to record by time and channel and can do so repeatedly. The HDRs feature built-in Wi-Fi with connected apps for on-demand Internet streaming and download services such as Netflix, Vudu and YouTube. A Philips rep said “Research shows more and more consumers are cutting the cord from cable or satellite and opting for basic channel programs, especially since the number of free over-the-air channels has increased significantly.” Philips’ HDR5710 ($250) can record and store up to 50 hours of HDTV on its 500GB drive and the HDR5750 can store up to 100 hours on its 1TB drive ($300). Both units include Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround sound support.

Jazz Pianist Viyay Iyer Gets Attention -  He was a guest on NPR yesterday for Veteran’s Day, regarding Holding It Down: The Veterans’ Dreams Project – a sort of contemporary oratorio with poet Mike Ladd, and he has just been named a 2013 MacArthur Fellow. He will now teach at Harvard at the school’s first Franklin D. and Florence Rosenblatt Professor of the Arts. This coming March he will have an ECM Records’ release: Mutations for String Quartet and Piano/Electronics.

Dish Network Closing All Blockbuster Stores – Dish Network bought Blockbuster out of bankruptcy in 2011 and will now kill off the chain’s remaining 300 outlets as well as its DVDs-by-mail business in January 2014. It’s ironic that Blockbuster helped to kill off the independent video stores, and now the main choices left are Netflix for renting discs by mail, and Redbox for renting top titles via kiosks. Both also offer streaming video services. Those of us who prefer the improved picture, sound quality and extras of Blu-ray discs have even fewer choices now.




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