What is the primary thing stalling SACD or DVD-Audio?

While some may disagree, it would seem that both competing high-rez audio formats, SACD and DVD-Audio, have stalled in the marketplace. Why do you think this is?

What is the primary thing stalling SACD or DVD-Audio?
Poor software selection
19% (49 votes)
High software prices
10% (25 votes)
Poor hardware selection
1% (2 votes)
High hardware prices
3% (8 votes)
Poor promotion
10% (25 votes)
Anti-piracy measures
3% (7 votes)
Lack of public interest in high-rez audio
31% (80 votes)
Lack of compatiblity with computers
2% (4 votes)
Result of format war
10% (27 votes)
10% (25 votes)
They're doing fine
2% (6 votes)
Total votes: 258

Kerem Icelli's picture

Stop someone on the street and ask whether he/she'd heard of SACD or DVD-A. Ask people if they had ever heard of anything called a "hybrid disc"... Or even ask them what it might be that they think "high resolution format" means... I guess you'll get one of these following answers more often than you think: 1) Whadda hell are you talking about??... 2) It must be about genetic engineering or cloning... 3) Newly established anti-terror acts... 4) I donno and I don't care... If ever by bizzare chance you happen to pick another audio-geek like you and me, he'd say: 5) Vinyl rulez man!..

Colin Robertson's picture

Of many many reasons, I feel that the lack of public interest is the biggest reason for its demise thus far.

Bob van der Wardt's picture

I feel that there are few or no pure combined SACD-DVD-A players with surround possibilities for audio ONLY available. Sony and Marantz have SACD players for audio only but lack the DVD-A option or have no surround capability.(Marantz newest top model SA-11S1) Why add DVD to an AUDIO player? For this dedicated players are available already with recording capabilities.So why have 2 players doing the same and doing this "average " only ? Real universal players like Linn's are too expensive for the average person, thus...what's left? Nothing for me.

Roy E.'s picture

Just like the PC makers were looking for the "killer app" that would make sales of PCs take off, high-rez needs a "killer" release. If, for example, the Beatles back catalog was released on SACD and a promotion campaign along the lines of "you've never really heard the Beatles..." was mounted I think it might take off. Or not.

Tony P., Washington, DC's picture

The vast majority of public does not care about sound quality. They do, however, care about convenience. When CD appeared, it was a fundamental improvement over both LP and cassette in convenience—portable, random access, and no need to flip it over. High-rez formats offer no such fundamental improvement, but MP3 and other "media-less" formats do, hence the explosive popularity of the iPod.

steve naftilan's picture

for most, cd's or downloads are just fine...only audiophiles care

Anonymous's picture

With the exception of the last two selections, all of the above apply, which is primarily a result of a lack of public interest. The so-called high end is basically a niche market and most people will never be convinced that comparatively hard to find and expensive equipment will provide a commensurate enhancment of the musical experience. I love my $20,000 system but I'm not so sure if that investment inevitably results in a corresponding sense of pleasure similar to something as simple as "House of the Rising Sun" fading in and out of a $5 transistor radio on a hot summer night long ago.

Keith Y's picture

It is very difficult to pick one reason for the stalling of SACD. All of the reasons listed are a factor.

Robert's picture

All of the above, but especially, in order of importance: format war,hardware prices, software prices, anti-piracy, computer compatibility.

Anonymous's picture

Not only lack of standard format between these two but integration story with home theatre standad(s). Not only is there encoding confusion but what about a speaker layout standard. You can not expect the mass market to adopt multiple standards for theatre and audio.

Tony Faulkner's picture

Random typical commercial SACDs on random typical commercial SACD players sound typically nowhere near as good as they should. There's too much shilly-shallying over what is pure DSD and what is not.

Randy A.  Duncan's picture

I'm always in search of a good title to buy. Poor promotion is obviously a problem also. Why hasn't Sony produced both portable and autosound SACD? In '80, the industry didn't believe in CD either. Fools!

suits_me's picture

Your supplied reasons do not include as a choice the fact that CDs offer perfect sound forever. I mean, how can you top perfect sound forever?

two cents's picture

I think that it is a combination of the above issues. Unlike the CD, SACD isn't a revolutionary product like the CD was when compared to albums it's a refinement of an existing media. The CD is a convient format for people to use (don't need to turn over), they are virtually indestructable and were supposed to sound better than albums. As a refinement of an existing format whose benefits were apparent to audiophiles but not to the public in general. Plus the initial cost of entry was high for hardware and software for early adopters. And, software prices continue to exceed those of regular CDs. Questions I ask my self are: do I need another medium even if it sounds better? Do I want to re invest in another set of the same albums? Do I want to invest in an expensive piece of hardware that possibly could end up like quadraphonic stereo? Now I'm faced with multi channel SACD or DVDA. That would require more electronics, cables and speakers. Forget the WAF! All these factors and others not listed make the cost of entry prohibitive and probably will keep me out of the market for the foreseeable future.

D Grady's picture

When the average consumers thought next-gen audio in 1985, the answer was clear: CD. We seem to forget that despite the fact that they were shiny, futuristic discs (lasers? really? wow!) what *really* brought the masses to compact disc were several practical, objective advantages over the previous format. The media didn't wear out (at least not in the same way), songs were easy to cue and program, you had fairly consistent performance across most levels of consumer equipment. Those were advantages that the average consumer could describe in quick, easy, objective terms. The same is now true with the iPod: easy to describe, objective advantages over CD. SACD and DVD-A's advantages are subjective to most consumers, aren't as easy to explain. The fact that most majors are producing a product that is more concerned with sounding "loud" over the airwaves than with fidelty, all the while attempting to migrate a higher-rez format, is a both a comedy and a tragedy. The future is clear- dedicated music players with easily upgradable firmware/software on commodity PC hardware. With hard drive real estate getting cheaper (and quieter) every day, DSPs and CPUs getting smaller and more efficient- I see a cost-effective, ULTRA-high resolution, fun future for music. And I don't see SACD or DVD-A anywhere in sight.

Douglas Henning's picture

After so many years, I still cannnot walk into a cd shop and have a selection to choose from. In fact most have not even heard of SACD. Untill the market is flooded with SACD it will never take of. I have an SACD player, but I never listen to SACD'S as the software is not freely available

tonyE's picture

It's all of the above: high prices for the masses, a blatant anti piracy content protection policy that prevents audiophile stand alone DACs, SACDs built-in non-PC use design, lack of recording and playback standards, and lack of consumer awareness. All in all, these formats are anti consumer in their features and expensive to boot. Meanwhile, a DVD-V can be bought for under $10 and there are excellent players for under $200, so you also have competition from DVD-V to deal with.

Mikey's picture

We need popular music released on high-rez,not just kodo drums or witch doctor music!!!!

CASEY's picture


Mark Perdue's picture

Where's the great music? Sure, some of the great artists and composers (Miles Davis, Bill Evans) are available but only a scattering of their work. Many others are very poorly represented, if at all (Pablo Casals, Andres Segovia). When I can replace my existing CD library with SACD (good sounding SACD) then I will spend the money. But as long as I am largely confined to artists I never heard of playing composers I never heard of (or have heard and don't care for) then forget it - I will just listen to my CDs and be happy enough.

Larry S's picture

This is a bit of the chicken vs the egg question. But I think that the fact that stores are simply not investing in sufficient software leads the problems. Best Buy in CA has a dismal selection that is gathering dust, is poorly organized, and demonstrates their lack of interest in High-Rez audio. Fry's doesn't even sell DVD-A or SACD.

Chris Kantack's picture

Frankly, I don't feel the hi-rez formats are necessary. 16 bit/44.1K PCM is sufficient as a playback medium. It is desirable to have say 20 bit words in the recording process as this provides some "headroom" when doing live recordings. But the great results on a well mastered standard Redbook CD recording are more than adequate.

Morris James's picture

SACD and DVD-A are languishing for all the reasons put forth here. In an era when MP3s and WMA music downloads are the currency of the musical mass-market, the average consumer is in no way going to spring for a new higher-priced player and higher-priced media. Even those of us who cringe at MP3 sound quality don't want to invest in hardware and media that might soon be obsolete, and quite frankly, I've yet to hear an SACD that I thought was a tremendous improvement over the two-decade-old regular CD format. The music industry was cynically looking for a new way to make listeners part with their cash for a new format, and they failed. My SACD and DVD-A both rest in peace.

Welly Wu's picture

Well, the impossible can happen -- DualDisc/DVD-Audio and SA-CD may gain greater market share in 2005 with lower cost universal DVD players making it to the all important 2004 holiday season. High resolution software titles are still being produced, but the marketing campaign is schizophrenic by the music biz.

Roger's picture

The record companies need to release more greatest hits compilations in multichannel formats! This is how the CD became popular & many are now appearing again on CDs (to help sales, I'm sure), but where are the SADC & DVD Audio mulitchannel versions? Also, where are the Beatles on SACD or DVD-Audio? They sound great on the Anthology & Yellow Submarine DVDs in 5.1!! We know the mixes have been done from these so why not release them???? This would be a big boost to the formats!!! I would be the first inline to buy them!! They would sell more SADC or DVD Audio discs of the Beatles than all the totals so far if they would only release them!!! The greatest group of alltime & no releases!! No wonder the format is in trouble!! They don't even release their best songs to make the formats popular!!!!

Christopher's picture

Poor software selection + High software prices + Poor hardware selection + Lack of public understanding of high-rez audio.

Cihangir GUZEY / TURKEY's picture

Still a just few titles on the market selfs after so much entrance promotion and good equipments released at the beginning. We all very well know that the players sold right now is just piece of second quality goods after those promotional legendary players released by famous companies to make the format become a permanent dweller in the market at the beginning. But now, you just see cheap (cheap from evey point of view!)players and not so interesting records! Where are those famous classical, new age, rock records that will impress the superiorities of those new formats. I have a DVD-A player (the first DVD-A player in fact). I have just 5 DVD-A titles (4 have been purchased 2 weeks ago)at home. I buy around 3-4 CD's per month. y

Steve Arcott's picture

In your report from AES, you write that Warners says DVD-Audio will disapear. And SACD is all but dead. So the format war is almost over and nobody won.

Gerald Neily's picture

?\not enough people care about quality home audio anymore. Sony has worked hard to promote SACD, while Warner et al have botched the promotion of DVD-A, yet they both remain in the same boat. Maybe car players will be the winning stroke for DVD-A.

Rex's picture

Most people listen to music in their cars on as background noise at home. High-rez isn't particularly useful in either of these environments. A sad state of affairs.