Audio Predictions for 1998, Part Two

In the first set of prophecies, we foresaw the effects of DVD-Audio, high-end sales around the world, and tweak multidisc CD. For the second installment, we look into our crystal interconnects and foresee new audio data-distribution methods for the coming year.

4) Downloading music from the internet heats up---slowly.
There was a dumptruck-load of hype when several online music services launched, but the numbers reveal that "CD quality" audio streaming is still for web fanatics. Expect this situation to change when ADSL, cable modems, and high-bandwidth satellite links, providing bandwidths in excess of 1 megabit/second, become more common toward the end of 1998.

5) High-end audio companies test the 1394/FireWire waters.
We've heard a couple of rumors and gotten an inside tip on this one---just enough to sneak it under the radar. As computers invade the listening room, more audio companies will find 1394 their portal to the convergence future.

5a) High-end digital audio companies look for better interconnect scheme than 1394.
Hot on the heels of predicting the rise of FireWire for audio applications, we'll also predict that some renegade digital audio folks will develop an alternative technology. Not everyone is happy with how 1394 currently handles data timing and other issues, so expect to see a tweak alternative announced within the next 12 months.

6) Surround-sound audio-only discs pick up momentum.
Home theater and DVD are the big factors here, but audiophiles will try anything at least once. And maybe only once, in this case---let's face it, five great speakers cost a heck of a lot more than two.