Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. This is especially true for music lovers who have begun to fear that record companies purposely corrupt the data on audio CDs in an effort to restrict their use as a source for copies or MP3 files.
It's been a rough season for some in the e-commerce crowd, as several consumer-electronics Internet startups find themselves amid changes. Last week, CyberShop.com announced that it will close the e-tailing sites CyberShop.com and electronics.net (created as a joint venture with Tops Appliance City, which is now under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection) and sell these operations' remaining retail assets. At the same time, the company says it will launch an "Internet incubator" through the establishment of Grove Street Ventures to attract and develop startup Internet companies.
There's no question that restricted-use or copy-protected CDs are finding their way onto retailer shelves and into unsuspecting consumer hands—often with frustrating results. What is in doubt in many consumers' minds is how to recognize a restricted-use disc before purchase.
With the plethora of CD and DVD formats out there, it can be confusing figuring out what will work with what. Standards can help define specifications for a particular format, but often do little to guarantee compatibility between them.
Why would adult audiophiles do this to themselves? We have no idea. Kevin Deal and EveAnna Manley show off their latest tube blingware. Their dentists made a pretty penny knocking out their front teeth and adding the "Tubes Rule" matching grills. Yes, this stunt did get a photo in our blog.
Tired of the controversy over whether expensive audio cables might make a difference in your system? The best approach would likely be to try a few sets with your own equipment and room and see for yourself. But cost has prevented more than a few audiophiles from spending quality time with the pricey stuff.
Last week, Tweeter Home Entertainment Group announced that it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire United Audio Centers, located in the Chicago, Illinois area. United Audio describes itself as a seven-store specialty consumer electronics retailer with annual sales of approximately $48 million, and says it has been in business in the Chicago market for over 40 years. The companies expect to complete the transaction on or about April 1, 2000, and note that the agreement in principle to acquire United Audio is subject to various terms and conditions, as well as to regulatory approval.
It's a brave new audio world: Coinciding with last week's release of Medeski, Martin & Wood's latest work, The Dropper, to retailers' shelves as a polycarbonate-and-aluminum CD, Liquid Audio announced that the title was simultaneously being made available as a full-album digital download. Liquid reports that this is the first time a Blue Note title has been released in a digital format at the same time as its physical release.
Like the companies in most high-tech industries, audio businesses are a volatile lot, with startups, mergers, acquisitions—and the occasional bankruptcy or flame-out—not uncommon. In that ongoing tradition, at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ultralink Products announced on January 7 its intention to purchase the assets of cable manufacturer XLO Electric.