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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 08, 2015 0 comments
If you buy a whole system from Steinway & Sons, you'll have access to the P200 pre-pro, which handles every conceivable height-enhanced surround format.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 10, 2006 1 comments
OK, let's tote up the recent wins for Steve Jobs. The trademark lawsuit from the Beatles is history. The music labels have renewed their 99-cent download arrangement with iTunes, amid much grumbling, even after Steve rejected their demand for variable pricing. The French parliament may be backing off its legislative requirement that iTunes downloads play on non-Apple devices. Disney is paying $7.4 billion for Pixar, of which Steve owns more than half, and he's got a seat on the board of directors, presumably alongside Mickey. The iPod is dominating the audio industry. Intel-driven Macs are being positioned for higher sales. Microsoft just can't seem to get its act together for the next generation of Windows. And whether or not Jobs ever gets to beat Bill Gates, he's already beaten an even meaner adversary, pancreatic cancer (God bless). I'll bet there aren't even any widows in his sock drawer.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 26, 2008 9 comments
People are watching more network TV shows on the internet and I wondered what it would be like to be one of them. I'm the first to admit I'm not crazy about watching anything longer than three minutes on my PC monitor--even after upgrading to a 24-inch 1080p NEC. Still, I couldn't resist doing an hour of Star Trek from CBS.com. I figured if I could get through season one, episode one--"The Man Trap"--I might do a few more. Slow data rate and low res were givens. My first frustration beyond that was that the Adobe Flash Player wouldn't let me upscale the image to fill the screen. That meant I had to either stick to my desk chair or squint at a postcard-sized image from my armchair across the room. Buffering errors interrupted the flow of the program three or four times. As for the ads, I saw the series in the original telecasts (yes, I'm that old) and ads didn't bother me then. If anything, the online ad interruptions were fewer and briefer than typical broadcast TV. But the ads were painfully loud compared to the volume level of the program. Again, that happens on broadcast TV too, but in this case the disparity was extreme, and got even more irksome during one ad with substantial low-bass content, which turned my desk sub into a blaring bass bomb. Unfortunately my Onix desktop amp doesn't come with remote control. Altogether, I won't do it again unless I can get a full-screen image and a reasonable ratio between program and ad sound levels. These are solvable problems. Over to you, CBS.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jan 04, 2008 0 comments
One of the most significant pieces of the transition from analog to digital TV broadcasting fell into place with the recent announcement that major retail chains would carry the set-top boxes necessary to keep analog sets from going dark.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 24, 2015 1 comments
A promising new encoding method from Meridian, maker of world-beating active loudspeakers and other digital audio hardware, has been adopted by Tidal and 7digital, two major forces in music streaming. Tidal is the Norwegian company whose lossless 16-bit streaming has gotten audiophiles interested in streaming. 7digital operates music download and streaming services for itself and other parties and was the first company to offer DRM-free MP3 downloads in 2008.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 01, 2013 0 comments
Online streaming outfits are turning themselves into studios, bankrolling movies and TV series. Before you scoff, did you watch Netflix’s House of Cards? We did, blasting through all 13 episodes in the first month of availability. The series, with Kevin Spacey as a Machiavellian congressman, has made 86 percent of Netflix subscribers less likely to cancel, says a Cowen and Co. survey. We can’t wait for the second “season.”
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Nov 13, 2007 0 comments
Sir Howard Stringer, CEO of Sony, has finally conceded what other observers have been saying for some time: The format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD is stalled in a stalemate.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 19, 2006 1 comments
Students at Cornell, Purdue, George Washington University, and other schools won't download music from university-approved services even if it's free, according to The Wall Street Journal. These and other schools began offering free (often meaning subsidized) downloads to prevent illegal downloads from attracting lawsuits and choking servers. But these experiments have flunked for several reasons. Onerous DRM restrictions are often attached. For instance, the download may be free, but transferring to a music player or burning a CD may not be. At Cornell, students lost interest in Napster when they discovered they'd lose the right to use their downloads upon graduating. The non-iTunes services have also met resistance from iPod and/or Mac users, the latter an estimated 20 percent of the student population.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 09, 2006 2 comments
Samsung is the object of a Hollywood feeding frenzy. Five studios are suing the manufacturer for selling the DVD-HD841 DVD, DVD-Audio, and SACD player, though it was available for only a few months in 2004. Apparently this universal player was a little too universal. Like many players still sold, it allowed the regional coding feature to be easily hacked with a few remote keystrokes. Worse, from Hollywood's point of view, was its content-security weakness. Hackers found ways to defeat HDCP, allowing upconverted DVD content to be copied from the DVI output. Of course, the new Blu-ray and HD DVD formats have state-of-the-art security features, but they're being rushed onto the market before the ink has dried on the security-tech agreements. Looks like the studios are ready to pounce if any little accidents give pirates an advantage.
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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Feb 08, 2007 1 comments
What's remarkable about Wal-Mart's just-unveiled Video Downloads is not that America's number one retailer is venturing into online distribution of movies and teevee. The real story is that Wal-Mart has convinced all six major motion picture studios and at least some of the networks to pour a total of 3000 titles into the fledgling service. Wal-Mart tells you how to enjoy its downloads on TV, PC, or portable player. Pricing ranges from $1.96 for a TV episode to $19.88 for a fresh movie title. Shop around and you'll find movie titles well under the maximum. For example, Rugrats Go Wild for a mere $7.50. Still, even that's not much of a bargain compared to your basic Blockbuster movie rental fee of less than $5--so much for the "always low prices" slogan. Moreover, there's no mention of HD, compatible portables do not include iPods, and Wal-Mart's web developer is guilty, guilty, guilty of a major gaffe: The service seems to have been optimized for Internet Explorer (I used version 7). In Firefox 1.5, it's an unusable mess. Any Safari or Opera users having trouble with this page? Let me know. In fairness, the service is in beta, and improvements may follow.

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