The decades-long transition from home loudspeakers to earbuds as the preferred listening technology is well documented. Now we have another data point to help us examine the question of whether the same downward spiral is happening to television screens. The short answer is: Yes. The long answer is: Yes, and quickly.
Editor’s Note: The following article appears in the May 2014 print edition of Sound & Vision.
How Was Your Day?
Friday afternoon, McCarran Airport. The International CES ends today. Some bitter-enders are still at the convention center, but for me, the show is over. With a mixture of relief and regret, I toss my press pass into a recycling bin. As I wait for my boarding call, I pull out some notes, trying to make sense of what just happened.
Beats Music is a new subscription music service that is an offshoot of the wildly popular hardware company (mainly headphones) founded by Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. Beats Music is a logical extension: if people love the headphones so much, maybe they’ll extend the affection upstream and into content selection. Recently launched (January 21), the early numbers for Beats Music are in....
Frankly, I thought he was dead. You know—like one of those male Hollywood stars who’s gone through three too many facelifts and goes into seclusion. Then suddenly he reappears in Teen Beat magazine with a photo of him kitesurfing with his 18-year-old supermodel girlfriend who is naked and you say to yourself—"Whoa! I thought he was dead!" Anyway, last night, precisely at midnight, there was a knock on my door. I unwisely opened it, and there stood Professor Lirpa.
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard anything from new from Pono. When it was first unveiled, at least in concept, two years ago, Pono was a bit of a head-scratcher. Brainchild of rocker Neil Young, Pono was his response to the scourge of lo-fi music. Pono was a new music player and/or file format and/or music delivery system that would resurrect recorded music. Stay tuned. So, it was interesting to see Pono surface again at SXSW last week.
Ouch! Thank goodness for the Affordable Care Act, because now I’ve got a pre-existing condition called Bruised Ego. Man, oh, man&mdashdid I get a beat down. Even after all the stitches and bandages are removed, I’ll probably always walk a little wobbly.
I made the cardinal error of dismissing two high-rez audio formats. You can tell a man that his wife is hot, you can tell him his horse is ugly, you can even tell him his car is slow. But you should never, ever, tell him his audio format is obsolete...
Apple has announced that it is bringing its iOS to a dashboard near you. The CarPlay system will link your iPhone 5S, 5C or 5 to the vehicle’s in-dash controls and display. Think of the phone as the brains of the operation, and the car as the touchscreen, and speakers. With CarPlay, you’ll be able to access the phone’s maps, traffic information, music, and messages. For music streaming, CarPlay will support iHeartRadio and Spotify. Also, as you might expect, Siri will be on board.
Is it just me, or is there something really weird about this video? I’ll invite you to watch it after the break, but meanwhile, at least IMHO, someone has gone off the rails here. Maybe it was a marketing big-wig at Sony’s HQ. Maybe it was just some regional manager. Or maybe the whole thing is a put-on, a spoof specifically designed to encourage suckers like me to recommend that you watch it. In any case, the video might go viral, but I’m pretty sure this marketing concept never will.
Video streaming company Aereo is fascinating from a technological standpoint. The legal questions it raises are equally intriguing. They will determine whether Aereo proceeds on its merry way or whether it will be shut down. There’s only one way to decide, and that’s to ask the Justices. Yep—another big AV case is heading to the Supreme Court.
Some people watch the Super Bowl to see some football. Some just want to see the commercials. I tune into the Super Bowl to hear the music. Unlike the game, this year didn’t disappoint. I was blown away by an opera singer selling nothing, and a folk singer selling his soul.