Audio News for February 11, 2014
Published on February 11, 2014
Throwaway DVDs – Back in 2003 Disney and Flexplay were considering switching most rental DVDs and new movies on DVD to a throwaway format that would become unplayable in 48 hours. It was to be called “ES-D” and the clock starts ticking the minute the package is opened. A chemical coating on the disc begins a slow decaying process when exposed to air. The process is final and cannot be reversed or hacked. Disney and others planned to increase their revenues greatly depending on how they priced EZ-Ds. Well, they test-marketed the discs, and in 2004 a small studio actually promoted release of an upcoming Christmas film by releasing it on a EZ-D during the beginning of its theatrical run. In 2005 Disney dropped the idea. In 2008 it was announced that Staples had teamed up with several studios on selling disposable DVDs, but the link for that is no longer available. So it looks like the idea has died.
Beep – New Wireless Home Audio System – is one of the competitors in wireless audio, trying to horn in on Sonos. The unit is basically a big metallic-looking dial knob that works with the audio gear you already have. A minijack connects to existing audio systems. There is no amp built in, so you have to connect it to a powered speaker or amp. A micro-USB port allows it to be powered by an included power adapter. Volume is adjusted by twisting the dial, play/pause happens when you press it and a double press skips a track. There is also an app for Android and iOS smart phones. It also allows you to stream music stored on your phone to Beep speakers. Using Pandora’s native app it works with Pandora. All the wireless streaming is done with your home Wi-Fi network, which works better than Bluetooth. It is scheduled for fall release at $99 for preorders, and a $149 price after it launches.
192K/24-bit Audio Codec for Mobile Devices – Wolfson Microelectronics has a new Audio Hub chip allowing consumers to experience 192/24 hi-res audio playback on a mobile device. Their high performance filters bring the premium high fidelity music playback quality to mobile devices at a fraction of the power consumption, size and cost of systems designed for high end home audio, so that consumers can experience these hi-res recordings on their mobile devices at the same quality they would enjoy on premium home systems.
Wearable Home Theater – The Avegant Glyph—now in its early days of production—integrates audio and video headgear via a single cord to one’s smartphone or video game device. No screen is involved; the image is projected directly on your retina, for a clearer and more comfortable image than you would normally see from a screen. It combines a flip-down form factor, sharp imagery and premium noise-canceling audio, and even does 3D. It’s using a Kickstarter program to raise money to bring it to market; those who pledge $499 will receive a fully functional prototype.