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Weekly AUDIO NEWS for Nov. 26, 2003

More Cable Carriage of HDTV - Cable operators in 18 of the top 20 Designated Market Areas of the U.S. are now providing at least some HDTV service, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. In terms of households, 55 million U.S. households now have access to cable systems offering HD, making a growth of over 50% since the start of the year. As a whole, cable operators are now carrying 190 different terrestrial broadcast stations with digital TV signals. (As we mentioned earlier, most cable systems data-reduce the original HDTV resolution by about 25%.) Cable program networks have also greatly increased the amount of HD programming being produced. Some - such as Discovery HD Theater, ESPN HD and HDnet - are now 100% HD.

Universal Music Sales Down - Third quarter sales for Vivendi’s Universal Music Group - the world’s largest music label - are reported down 16% compared to the same period last year. The proposed new venture of Sony Corporation and BMG’s merger would provide heavy competition to Universal Music.

Mobile Fidelity SACD Plans - The reissue of Prokofiev’s music from the Eisenstein film Ivan The Terrible is just the first of a series of additions to the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Ultradisc II catalog planned for the near future. [AUDIOPHILE AUDITION will review that disc from the legendary Vox catalog in next month’s issue.] Guitarist Jim Hall’s Concierto - a very imaginative disc including a lovely version of the Concierto Aranjuez - will be joined by another jazz SACD reissue from super-cool vocalist Patricia Barber. Pop releases will include Blood, Sweat and Tears 3; and John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band will be issued as a Gold CD. All Mo-Fi discs currently use their GAIN 2 proprietary mastering process.

RIAA Targets Flea Markets for CD Piracy - The Recording Industry Association of America wants to make certain that even the smallest venue selling CDs offers only authorized, fully-licensed product. They had a flea market in Salem, New Hampshire raided and four people arrested, including a 14- and a 16-year-old boy. The charge was selling 15,000 unauthorized music discs. The RIAA president stated “Vendors who hawk pirated music should take note: this is illegal activity.”

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