HDMusic Store

HDGiants unveiled their new HD MediaStore application during CES. While HD Giants has an online presence accessible to anyone (with Microsoft IE only), this new application was specifically designed for easy integration with top media servers running the Vista Media Center. It allows Media Center customers to purchase and download music in the WMA lossless format directly from their MCE Vista entertainment centers.

This MCE app is a ready-built solution for HD Giant's hardware partners who want to simply installation on their media server products. They've also make a Software Developer Kit (SDK) available for hardware partners who want to customize the store. For example, Qsonix will build the store into their Q110 products that uses an exclusive touch screen user interface.

All music and videos are delivered in a WMA lossless format and are completely DRM-free. Music tracks cost $1.29 and complete albums run $15.29. Videos range from $14.99 to $39.99 depending on the resolution. However, even at the highest resolution (1080p @ 20mbps), I'm not sure how the cost can exceed that of the most expensively priced Blu-rays.

In the HD MediaStore, consumers can preview all content before purchasing and they will be able to browse and purchase both the music and video stores simultaneously.

HD Giants is the only digital entertainment company that delivers lossless music from all the major labels. There are lots of places to find lossless downloads but the selection is usually limited, based on the website's affiliations.

However, the limitation with HD Giants is everything is in the WMA format. People complain about iTunes closed system, so this isn't much better. Either align yourself with Apple or align yourself with Microsoft. Pick your poison. That said, at least HD Giants is offering lossless audio, something that still is not available through iTunes, even though Apple has their own lossless format.