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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for March 19, 2003

FireWire Converter Connects Home Computers to Home Theater - Dolby Labs and Texas Instruments have developed a device allowing consumers to easily connect their PCs with the 1394 FireWire connectors to their home theater systems. The new converter, a first, allows PCM audio and Dolby Digital audio to be transferred from many different IEEE 1394 devices to the S/PDIF connection found on most of today’s digital home audio equipment. Thus music and gaming fans can play back stereo and 5.1 computer music files - such as MP3, AAC, WMA - into their home theater systems. The converter cable has a 1394 (also called FireWire or iLink) connector at one end and a coax S/PDIF connector at the other end. The next step in bridging the digital gap with FireWire will be digital six-channel outputs from hi-res players which can be connected with a FireWire cable directly to the DACs of an outboard processor, preamp or receiver - without going to analog as presently done.

McIntosh Audio Transferred from Clarion to D&M Holdings - D&M Holdings Inc. has announced its purchase of McIntosh Laboratory Inc., the 53-year old high-end manufacturer of audio, HT and autosound products, based in Binghamton, NY (and all built there). D&M Holdings is based in Tokyo and is the parent company of both Denon and Marantz. The McIntosh brand, which has a stellar reputation around the world, will be maintained as a stand alone operation - the same strategy employed with Denon and Marantz.

Expansion of DTS Cinema Subtitling System - A chain of16 theaters in the UK participated in a test of the DTS-CSS captioning and audio description system and as a result ordered a total of 19 units. Only a few movies have been released previously using a conventional laser etching technique for captioning which is more expensive. A total of 22 films were shown in the DTS test, including Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and About a Boy. The DTS-CSS system operates the same as the company’s cinema digital sound system: A CD-ROM contains both the captions (projected directly onto the screen over the film images) plus audio description tracks synchronized with the standard film print. Thus a single inventory of prints and CSS discs can provide subtitling and audio description in any language thruout the world. In bi-lingual regions the soundtrack can be in one language and the subtitles in another without expensive new prints being required. The audio description tracks are relayed to blind and partially-sighted members in the audience via open-backed infrared headsets, allowing hearing the standard film soundtrack in the normal manner.

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