Audiophiles laughed when the CD was first marketed as "Perfect sound forever." They rejected the notion that digital was better than analog, or that the CD sounded better than the LP. Today, it's generally accepted that 44.1-kHz, 16-bit files (with modern improvements such as noise shaping) can challenge the ability of most listeners to detect aural format flaws.
MAKE NO MISTAKE: The equipment reviewers at Sound & Vision aren't nice people. Without naming names, I'll just mention the following: three restraining orders, steel-cage death-match champion, and a lifetime ban from the National Hockey League. And that's just one of the reviewers. Frankly, they're curmudgeonly, tough SOBs.
Parrots, hooks, peg legs, pieces of eight, the Spanish Main: Everybody loves pirates! Surely you know that September 19 is annual Talk Like a Pirate Day (I'm not making this up). Instead of your actual name, like "Kenneth" or "Colonel Sanders," wouldn't you prefer to be called "Cap'n Slappy"? Everybody loves pirates.
First, congratulations on your brilliant presidential campaign, convincing election results, and historic inauguration. I am impressed by your fresh thinking and your eloquent call for change. I was therefore surprised when your administration recommended that the switchover to digital TV be delayed beyond the February 17 deadline.
Someday you'll tell the grandkids about the old days when TV sets were thick. There was something called a "cathode-ray tube," and it stuck out from the wall and had a tiny screen. Then, along about 2008 or so, people pretty much stopped buying CRTs.
"DO I FEEL LUCKY?" (Well, do ya, punk?) That's the question that millions of people are asking themselves as they think about buying a new video player. In particular, should they go for Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD? If you choose one and buy a few hundred movies for it, but the format goes bust, you'll be lucky to recoup pennies on the dollar on eBay. That's quite a gamble.
On February 17, 2009, all analog TVs in America will go kaput. Turn on your trusty Zenith, and you'll get - static. Whack it as much as you want (and feel free to take out your frustrations), but it won't do any good. The TV set itself is still perfectly fine. It's the analog broadcast signal that's the problem. In particular, it won't be there anymore.
I trudged through booth after booth, aisle after aisle, mile after mile, becoming increasingly depressed. The Consumer Electronics Show - held mainly in vast, warehouse-size buildings - was like an inventory manager's nightmare. Some idiot had leaned on the "TV" button and unwittingly ordered up a zillion screens.
The iPhone has been stealing all the media buzz lately, but what about Apple's other radical offering, iTunes Plus? As I wrote in my July/August column (also available at soundandvisionmag.com), Apple and EMI have decided to sell music without any Digital Rights Management. They're charging extra for those downloads ($1.29 each vs.