The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) appears to be the antidote to many a record executive's worst audio poison: legions of young music fans downloading digital audio files off the Internet and passing them around with no regard to copyright restrictions. But what might be the answer to some companies' prayers could prove to be the Big Brother nightmare feared by others.
By their very nature, most audiophiles seem perpetually restless, never content with that last tweak. Following in that hallowed tradition, PS Audio has been trying to reinvent the technologies traditionally used in power-line conditioners to optimize those pulses of alternating current that juice our audio systems. The company made waves with the introduction of their Power Plant line of products last year (see previous report); their P300 garnered a very positive review from Stereophile's Robert Deutsch.
The Experience Music Project (EMP), a 130,000-square-foot interactive music museum opening in Seattle in 1999, announced on April 30 that it has acquired 19 recently discovered audio tapes of rare Jimi Hendrix recordings from 1969 and 1970.
Citing large crowds of design engineers and consumers at its World PC Expo Pavilion in Japan last week, Texas Instruments' James Snider, chairman of the 1394 Trade Association, predicted a surge in product design based on the 1394/FireWire/i.Link standard in the coming year. Snider says that the demand for 1394 PC and consumer products is accelerating worldwide "as users become aware of the quality of video and audio that can be easily and efficiently transported in home, office, and theater environments."
The largest of six divisions of Royal Philips Electronics, Philips Consumer Electronics Mainstream intends to push the audio industry in several directions this year, according to a presentation made by the division's CEO Guy Demuynck at a January 5 press conference in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Long a dominant force in research and development, as well as in marketing consumer electronics, Philips has great hopes for every segment of the audio market. 2000 was a record year for the company, Demuynck said, and 2001 should be very good as well.
The last day at CES always feels like one of those half-days at school: you may be getting out only a couple of hours early, but everyone starts thinking about going home way before the bell rings. Nonetheless, the die-hard audiophile exhibitors were working up to the last minute and confirmed that show attendance increased steadily right up to the end.
Exhibitors reported that traffic was improving Thursday, as the halls became more crowded and the music grew a bit louder. Plenty of new products are on hand and we're starting to realize that even four or five days may not be enough to see and hear everything the high-end has to offer.
The audio tribe is converging once again in Las Vegas for one of its its three annual gatherings (the others being CEDIA-Expo and the Home Entertainment Show, of course), and so far so good. Although the show officially opens Tuesday this year, several of the major manufacturers took advantage of the calm before the storm to hold their press conferences on Monday.