Speaking at the Music 2.0 conference in Los Angeles on February 23, Yahoo Music's general manager Dave Goldberg startled listeners with a statement probably never previously heard from the head of a for-pay digital music service: Lay off the DRM.
For years now, Internet users willing to walk on the audio wild side have had access to millions of illicit music files via peer-to-peer file-trading services. But those who have tried to find locate of the commercial sources for online music files have found their choices limited.
Yamaha Electronics Corporation has introduced four new A/V digital home-theater receivers equipped with XM Satellite Radio capability (XM-Ready). The $649.95 RX-V757, $549.95 RX-V657, $449.95 RX-V557, and $349.95 RX-V457 will allow users to plug an XM Connect-and-Play home antenna into the Yamaha XM-Ready A/V receiver and activate the XM service to receive 150-plus digital radio channels—no other accessories or installation are required. Using XM's industry-leading chipset technology, as well as a new proprietary chip and signaling protocol, the XM Connect-and-Play home antenna is capable of receiving XM's satellite and terrestrial signals, in addition to performing channel tuning, decoding, and audio transmission functions.
High-resolution digital audio got a big boost on March 2, when Yamaha Electronics Corporation announced the release of its new RX-V1, a multichannel receiver featuring Burr-Brown PCM 1704 24-bit/96kHz DACs for all 10 channels, including two subwoofer outputs. Six of the channels are full-range with amplifier power of 110W each, with claimed frequency response beyond 100kHz.
The next generation of streaming media technology was unveiled last week at RealNetworks' Conference '98 in Burlingame, California. The star of the show? "Bandwidth-friendly" RealPlayer G2, which promises to make noisy audio and glitchy video a part of the Web's past.
The Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES) launches its second annual three-day show on September 28 in downtown Toronto's historic King Edward Hotel. Produced by Canada HiFi's publisher/editor-in-chief, Suave Kajko, and his partner, Simon Au, and "presented by Porsche," TAVES promises multiple exhibit rooms in which between 65 and 70 exhibitors, over 80% of whom are manufacturers, will display approximately 274 component brands and media from 26 recording labels (CD, LP, and Blu-ray).
"I'm pretty excited about the preponderance of manufacturers, because they tend to have more elaborate set-ups and bring a lot more product with them," Kajko told Stereophile.
Audiophiles have been hit hard lately, as DVD-Audio's release schedule has succumbed to piracy concerns and Sony has so far refused to allow digital outputs on SACD decks. (Only digital outs for CD playback are allowed.) You can listen, but don't touch. But at least there are still no such restrictions on CD players that would inhibit the use of their digital datastreams . . . for now.
Save the Stereo, a Web-based project dedicated to developing and promoting the best ideas for leading the next generation of music lovers to component-based high-fidelity, launched at the start of the year. Although we have seen a number of prior organizations dedicated to the cause of spreading the gospel of high performance audio wither and diesee John Atkinson's 2005 essay on the subjectthis one is different. Because its founder, Gordon White, is soliciting feedback from the audiophile community and developing a grounded action plan before proceeding, perusing the project's website and filling out its all-important, short survey seems more than worth the while of both high-performance audio consumers and industry members.
In only its third year, T.H.E. Show Newport Beach has already become the largest consumer high-end/high-performance/fine-audio show in the United States. Running May 31June 2 in the Hilton and Atrium Hotels, directly across the street from southern California's surprisingly low-key Orange County/John Wayne airport, the booked-to-the-max show promises 140 active exhibit rooms, an estimated 450 manufacturers from around the globe, and enough ancillary events to rival a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey three-ring circus.
Providing another boost to the nascent DVD-Audio market, Zoran Corporation, a provider of integrated circuits (ICs) and software for digital video and audio applications, announced last week the availability of a new DVD decoder IC chip, the Vaddis IV. Zoran says the chip is optimized for fourth-generation DVD players and will include integrated DVD-Audio decoding. According to the company, the new Vaddis IV decoder enables the design of flexible and advanced---yet affordable---new DVD players.
When we last heard from NBC Universal's CEO Jeff Zucker, he'd refused to renew the network's yearly contract with Apple's iTunes Store, leading Apple to immediately pull NBC shows from the store rather than have them yanked midseason. In addition, Apple managed to control the story so that NBC came off looking clueless and greedy. You'd think Zucker would have learned to keep his mouth shut from that media drubbing.