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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 24, 2011 0 comments
A new form of digital rights management from Microsoft has been adopted by Sony and Samsung, among others. Its first high-profile use is in the Sony BDP-S380 Blu-ray player, available since February.

PlayReady DRM allows downloading and streaming of video, audio, games, and images on multiple home and mobile devices. Supported formats include MPEG Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), AAC+, Enhanced AAC+, H.264, Windows Media Audio (WMA) and Windows Media Video (WMV). Embedded licenses allow content to play without a constantly active broadband connection.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Apr 10, 2007 0 comments
A next-generation flat-tube display called FED may give videophiles much of what we had hoped for from the frustratingly delayed SED.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 08, 2008 0 comments
Field Emission Display technology, developed by Sony and Motorola, will make its debut in 2009. While its initial use will be in the broadcast and medical arenas, the FED may also put ultra-flat tubes on the longterm wish lists of consumers.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 09, 2009 1 comments
The media server category is growing. Sooloos distinguishes itself by concentrating on its touchscreen interface. You can import iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries, though ripping through Sooloos will allow true gapless playback by encoding each CD as a single long file. The basic configuration holds 2500 CDs though a test version has done up to 100,000. Touchscreen is fanless, therefore totally silent, and suitable for your listening room. Rendering and storage components are separate and can be kept in a closet. You can search with multiple criteria -- jazz, or jazz with Thelonious Monk, or jazz with Thelonious Monk recorded in the 1950s. There's Rhapsody support. Meridian made a wise move by getting involved with these people (and vice versa).
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 04, 2008 0 comments
That thing dangling from the neck of Soundmatters' Lee Adams is the foxL Pocket Monitor, a portable audio device said to go as low as 80Hz. I'll just have to get one and see. The Bluetooth version is $249, the other $199.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Oct 22, 2008 3 comments
Since the advent of the iPod, the stature of portable audio products has risen. Still, some taboos have remained unbroken. You can make audiophile-approved choices in what you load into your player, what headgear you plug into it, and even what iPod docks and iPod-friendly systems into which you plug it. But the notion that a portable audio system might approach the go-anywhere versatility of the iPod itself has languished. Oh, there are good ones, and some are even rechargeable, but they're still more for briefcase or knapsack than for purse or cargo-pants pocket. That may change thanks to what soundmatters calls the foxL personal audiophile speaker.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 26, 2006 7 comments
The explosion of flat-panel and microdisplays has multiplied the number of manufacturers and products on the market. Unfortunately this happy profusion leaves a performance gap on the audio side. My Sharp AQUOS LCD HDTV has excellent speakers—by TV-speaker standards—but I don't depend on them for movies. And the sound on a typical no-name LCD set is simply wretched for any content, even sitcoms. So what do you do when you've uncrated your new display only to discover that the other half of the home theater equation is a shaping up to be a big zero?
Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 13, 2007 0 comments
The soundmatters SLIMstage40 packs 170 watts from eight amplifiers into a 39-inch-long bar that sits below a video display. At $899, this speaker bar may be the simulated-surround solution for you. For more bass, check out the low-profile SUBstage200 ($399) or basketball-size SUBstage250Cube ($449).
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 21, 2006 0 comments
Polk Audio's acquisition by Directed Electronics is the latest in a series of shifts among the audio industry's rich assortment of stars. Directed—a power in mobile tech products, judging from its website—had already acquired Definitive Technology. In another noteworthy deal, Klipsch bought API, the Canadian giant whose brand names include Mirage, Energy, Athena, and Spherex. Klipsch is also the proud new owner of Jamo, the cool Danish brand. And all this comes on top of last year's sale of Boston Acoustics to D&M Holdings—a stable that already included Denon, Marantz, McIntosh, Snell, Escient, and RePlayTV—and NHT's move from the Rockford Corp. to the Vinci Group. Why are so many potent and prestigious brands changing hands? It feels as though some invisible hand were rearranging the constellations, and declining audio-component sales are the obvious suspect. But historically, major speaker brands (with the notable exception of Bose) have been sold and resold regularly, and all the brand names involved here are valuable ones that deserve fresh and vigorous marketing.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Sep 22, 2010 0 comments
The custom speaker giant showed the FloBox and FloBox Mini personal music systems, which include iPod/iPhone/iPad docks, and a CD slot in the larger model. The Vital receiver line is being expanded to include the Vital 250 stereo integrated amp, also with iThing (our term) dock. We were also intrigued by Roots, the company's first box speakers, including three satellite models and two subs in five colors. The subs have boundary compensation, notch filters, and other useful adjustments. The company continues to be a major power in custom install speakers, including the BoomTomb, an outdoor subwoofer that can be buried, emitting bass through a port that communicates with ground level. All products ship by year-end. In his discussion of the economic climate, Jeremy Burkhardt said 15 percent of the company's dealers had gone out of business, but there was virtually no bad debt among the ones who remained. He urged the press to tell dealers that they need to transcend old ways of thinking if they want to survive even tougher times ahead.


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