Fans of Macintosh computers and Betamax videotape are fond of pointing out that in the free market, the best technologies don't necessarily win. That scenario may be playing out again in the case of VQF, a digital audio transfer and storage technology originally developed several years ago by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.
After a difficult gestation, DVD-Audio may finally be moving toward becoming a market reality now that a major record label has stepped forward to support it. Warner Music Group (WMG) has issued several recordings in the new format, covering a range of genres. DVD-A is "the most significant industry format launch since the introduction of the CD nearly 20 years ago," according to an October 2 WMG press release.
One of the industry's most ambitious digital distribution programs has been announced by Warner Music Group. In November, WMG will make more than 1000 albums and singles available as downloads through several online music retailers, using RealNetworks' RealPlayer software. Music fans in the US and Canada are the target audience for the download program, according to a September 11 press release.
On December 14, the music industry and small webcasters concluded their long and often-acrimonious negotiations on royalties. The two parties—the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) "SoundExchange," a royalty-collecting body, and the Voice of Webcasters (VOW)—filed an agreement with the US Copyright Office in Washington that details generalities agreed to under the Small Webcaster Settlement Act (SWSA), signed December 4.
An audio system even Nero could love: Pyrotechnical effects have apparently gotten slightly out of control with Philips Consumer Electronics MX920 speaker systems, 25,500 of which have been recalled due to fire hazards from overheating voice coils. Four such incidents have been reported since the MX920 went on sale in June 1997. No one has been injured, and property damage has been limited to one scorched rug.
Last week, Intel Corporation announced its membership in the DVD WG-4 Audio Working Group, and its support for the proposed DVD audio specification, as the next steps in bringing next-generation consumer-quality audio to the PC platform.
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.