Linn's early decision to develop hard-disk audio systems first got our attention when the Kivor project was announced back at the 2000 Consumer Electronics Show. The Linn Kivor has now spent almost two years on the market, garnering a positive review from John Atkinson and a special "Editor's Choice" mention in this month's 2002 Products of the Year.
How much does it cost to license DVD-Audio patents to create players or discs? That information was revealed last week when the DVD6C Licensing Agency, which represents the founders of the DVD Forum (formerly called the DVD Consortium) in the area of patent licensing, announced that it expects to start global licensing of essential patents for DVD-Audio and recordable DVD products on or about January 1, 2003.
At present, the recording industry is based on a variety of analog and PCM digital audio formats, putting proponents of Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD, which is based on the Direct Stream Digital, or DSD, format) in a tough place when it comes to creating pure DSD works for showing off the format. To date, labels have had a limited number of options for creating, mixing, and mastering pure DSD projects.
Earlier this month, an unambiguous and simple message went up on the Dunlavy Audio Labs web site: "As of November 7, 2002, Dunlavy Audio Labs, LLC has ceased operations." A phone call to the company confirms that it is indeed out of business, although Dunlavy president Keny Whitright did not return calls seeking comment.
The latest figures for the music industry remain grim: Online sales of recorded music have dropped 20% through the first half of 2002 compared with the same period last year, losing ground faster than the overall US music market, which lost 7% during the same period, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). And the trend is accelerating. The latest numbers show online sales down 25% in the third quarter over last year.
One would think the last thing the music industry needs right now is to further alienate its customers who are still buying discs. But that is just what the record labels are doing by secretly experimenting with technology that restricts how discs are used, says a new report.
One of the great things about the DVD-Audio format is the sheer flexibility built into the standard: two-channel or multichannel (mixed for four, five, or six speakers), multiple resolutions, multiple encode/decode choices (MLP, Dolby Digital, DTS, PCM), and an assortment of special features, including video.
Recent news from Universal Music Group should bode well for the SACD format. It's not exactly a flood, but the world's largest music company finally made good on the promise it made at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and announced last week its first Super Audio CD (SACD) titles to be released in the United States.
To date, record label attempts at adding copy-control systems to CDs to restrict their use have been less than totally succesful. We've had Sony discs that get stuck in computers, discs that don't reliably play in all CD players, trademark violations, and CDs that generate lawsuits and consumer frustration from not being able to create a "fair-use" personal copy of a disc to throw in the car.
Media critics may be right: If record companies had spent as much effort building a digital distribution network as they have fighting digital piracy, they might actually be making money online instead of complaining about it. This is the conclusion of a new report from KPMG and the Economist Intelligence Unit.