High Rez Help

Both SACD and DVD-Audio have been slow finding their way into higher-end players. Sony dominates the market for SACD, and the other major consumer electronics manufacturers are trickling out DVD-A and universal players. The few exceptions include SACD machines from Classé and Accuphase. Soon to be added to the list: Linn.

Last week saw Sony, Linn, and ESS Technology, a creator of chip technology for digital video, digital home systems, and home networking, announcing a cooperative effort to support the SACD format in DVD players by incorporating ESS's Vibratto DVD single-chip products with Linn designs.

Initially, Linn says, it will produce two standard versions (one mid-market and one high-end) of its "Silver Disk Engine" (first shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2002) incorporating the technology from the collaboration. According to Linn, the SDE can be tailored by other manufacturers to suit their audio and video processing and control interfaces and will be available mid-2002.

The companies add that the SDE integrates the SACD format, ESS Technology's navigation software from its Vibratto chip family, and Linn's audio-video design expertise to create "the first implementation of this core technology to suit high quality consumer products and play any audio disc put into it." The companies go on to say that Sony has provided "the key CD and Super Audio CD playback device, which Linn has used in conjunction with ESS MPEG decoder chips to produce a playback engine that plays the formats desired by discerning end-users." The group says that these formats include CD, SACD, multichannel SACD, DVD, and DVD-Audio.