FM stereo, introduced in 1961, was the last great leap ahead in commercial radio. That was 38 years ago, an eternity in technological time. Digital audio broadcasting (DAB) techniques are capable of overcoming many of the limitations of analog broadcasting, including multipath distortion. Such systems are already in place in Europe and Canada, so why not in the United States?
For the first time in more than 10 years, individual investors have a chance to own a piece of one of the oldest and most recognized names in the American electronics industry. As of November 1, RCA officially came back on the stock market, when parent company Thomson Multimedia made a successful initial public offering of 21 million shares. The stock (NYSE: TMS) debuted at $22.62 per share and closed Friday, November 5 at $29.25.
DVD-Audio has been getting a lot of press and comments from consumers lately—as in "Where is it?" As we reported back in August, the first players from Panasonic were slated to appear last month (see previous story). But, as with all things worth waiting for, better late than never.
Hard to believe it's been more than six years since NHT launched its flagship 3.3 loudspeaker (footnote 1). At the time, the floorstanding 3.3 was a revolutionary product for the company, whose product line until then had been aimed squarely at the customer who wanted good sound, but wanted it in a small, affordable package. While the 3.3 didn't change NHT's dedication to its roots, it did signal to audiophiles that the manufacturer could play ball with the big boys.
While it's not exactly a stampede just yet, a small dust cloud is rising as several consumer-electronics manufacturers head toward the Internet to sell products. Last week, citing the need to "maintain the highest quality customer service in the new e-commerce era," Denon Electronics joined the online sales herd. In an effort to keep track of e-commerce vendors, the company has announced that it will establish a separate authorization agreement for retailers handling Denon and/or Mission products on the Internet.
Low-power radio is once again an issue at the Federal Communications Commission, and this time the agency is feeling the heat not only from community activists, but from rock artists as well. Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, and the Indigo Girls are just a few of the performers who have rallied behind a proposal to license 100W-to-1000W radio stations to private citizens, according to Frank Ahrens in the October 24 edition of the Washington Post.
More members of the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) are doing retail sales than ever before, although not necessarily out of traditional retail locations, according to new statistics released by the organization. In addition, an increasing number of referrals come from builders rather than from interior designers and architects, indicating that home buyers see home theater and distributed music systems as valuable features.
Robert Deutsch writes that "There's a well-known tradeoff in speaker design between sound quality for one listener vs. multiple listeners." But his review of the Dunlavy SC-IV/A loudspeaker reveals that, in the hands of a great designer, these limitations can sometimes be transcended. How did John Dunlavy do it? Deutsch gets to the bottom of this, and more.
According to the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA), the month of August saw hot increases in the sales of audio products. Factory sales of audio products rose 7%, to $694 million, equaling year-to-date revenues of $4.7 billion, slightly ahead of the first eight months of 1998.