Its 0.75-inch-thick granite enclosure makes the Status Element monitor unique. The enclosure of the 53-pound speaker has four additional layers: elastomer, aluminum, silicon, and foam. Under the hood are a one-inch fabric tweeter and 6.5-inch beryllium alloy woofer. Your $15,000/pair can buy any of several colors of granite of which our favorite (though not pictured) is cactus green. It looked great on the spokesperson's iPhone. This product was born in the U.S.A.
A watermarking technology used to trace pirated movies back to the source will soon be built into set-top boxes. Thomson developed NexGuard to trace pirate masters back to the theaters where they were stolen with camcorders or to DVDs distributed to reviewers and awards juries. Soon chips will be built into STBs to read watermarks in MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC, and VC-1 formats. The technology might be applicable to cable, satellite, or any other kind of STB. So if a piece of copyrighted material enters your home through the box, and ends up being pirated or file-shared, it will bear an individual watermark leading the copyright holder back to you. Should you worry? Said a Thomson executive: "The idea is to slow down piracy without limiting the use of the consumer. They should not be upset about this unless they are widely redistributing content." Of course, if you loan an archival video to someone who does file sharing, the copyright holder might become upset, and the copyright holder's attorney might make you very upset.
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.
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.
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.
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.