It's no secret that the music industry has added watermarking to its arsenal in an effort to restrict how audio content is used. With SACD, DVD-Audio, and now CD, audio watermarking has been used mainly for digitally stored content. But the music business also has problems with live concert bootlegs as well as bootlegs surfacing after special broadcast events.
If it's the software that sells a new format, then several recent announcements bode well for both SACD and DVD-Audio. Last week, DTS announced plans to begin shipment of the first DVD-Audio music recordings produced by its company-owned DTS Entertainment record label by late February 2001. Also, the first multichannel SACD to be produced by a major label from an original multitrack master, Mike Oldfield's recently remastered 1971 classic Tubular Bells is due for release from Virgin Records in February 2001.
I'm still amazed at the sheer number of new high-end CD players announced at this show. Either someone didn't get the memo about the disc format's impending demise, or else we've entered that phase, as with turntables, that playback advances will continue to win new customers with big collections.
Boulder has updated their 1021 disc player, reviewed by John Atkinson last July, adding an ethernet jack on the back and an iPhone app to control multiple streams of content such as a NAS drive on the network or media server. Boulder's Rich Maez says the new player is currently in the debugging stage and should be available near the end of January for $24,000.
Judging from the e-mails we get, some folks wonder why Stereophile's website continues to cover the advance of such lo-fi formats as MP3 as well as the problems encountered by companies like Napster as they tangle with the music business. But consider this: a new study reports that the market for digital music players will grow to $6.4 billion in 2005—more than 34 times 1999 shipments—which is also nearly 80% of the $8 billion reported for sales of all audio products, including portables, from last year (see previous article).
In another milestone for digital broadcasting, Lucent Digital Radio announced last week that it has successfully tested its In-Band On-Channel (IBOC) Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) system, live and over the air, with National Public Radio (NPR) member station WBJB-FM of Lincroft, New Jersey. According to Lucent, the tests showed that there was no degradation of the host FM analog channel during the transmission of the digital FM signal over the same band.
Audiophiles know there is no better reason to travel abroad than to attend a hi fi show in a foreign city. I'm only half kidding. With dozens of shows, most open to the public and scattered across every continent, what better way to see the world?
Texas Instruments says it is on a quest to provide "high-performance audio solutions" for the home entertainment market. To prove it, last week the company announced its first stereo analog-to-digital converters supporting the Direct Stream Digital (DSD) specification and the Super Audio CD format (SACD).
More and more companies at all price ranges are releasing disc players that can also function as a DAC/preamp for other digital sources. Burmester is no exception, bringing their new top-of-the-line CD player to market with both Toslink and SPDIF along with a pair of analog ins on the back and a selectable volume control.