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February 2007
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
New Formats On Two Fronts
Our new look makes life easier for you
Plus the adult entertainment industry effect.
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

Click here to e-mail reviewer

 

  Over the past month i have been working at an astonishing pace to post show reports, edit reviews, and improve Enjoy the Music.com's text size. Because i refuse to use various active scripts, color me an old-school hand coder, this means i had to go back and re-code hundreds of pages. There are many thousands more to go! Also of note is while at the CES i also ventured into the 2007 AVN Adult Entertainment Expo (AEE), the largest event for the adult industry worldwide, for strictly information gathering mind you. Ok, perhaps that last statement is a bit hard to swallow, yet there is some very important information that was buzzing around the AVN that does affect the possible failure of the Blu-ray format.

Before i get going with this article, i was deeply saddened to hear that in January Dave O'Brien of McIntosh Laboratory passed away due to prostate cancer. Dave was the face of McIntosh Laboratory as he held clinics throughout America and it is said he tweaked/tested more than one million units during his three decade long career. Dave also wrote a 53-page book filled with various hints, tips, and amusing experiences in his "The McIntosh Amplifier Clinics" paperback that is available exclusively through Audio Classics. Perhaps it is also fitting that Enjoy the Music.com's first time reviewing McIntosh gear is this month as we explore the company's C220 preamplifier and MS300 music server. Our best wishes to everyone at McIntosh and Dave's family.

 

New Look!
Over the past few weeks i have been focusing on changing the text size and some layout visuals. As of this writing, our sister publication Superior Audio has been completely transformed to this new look. The now industry standard font size has been implemented plus you now scrolling down a page less often as more content can fit within a given space. At this point in time i still refuse to spread out a single review to multiple web pages. While multiple pages would allow for more advertisements to stream across your screen, good for revenue of course, it makes for a broken feel because to read a single review you would need to be clicking to page two, page three, page four, etc. Don't know about you, but my mouse-clicking finger could use a break by experiencing less clicking while i enjoy more content per page.

 

Sony: Proprietary Business As Usual
Of course many of us, not just audiophile and videophiles mind you, are dealing with yet another Sony proprietary format. As they seem to be moving away from their proprietary SACD format, since neither it or DVD-Audio became mainstream, they now have their sights set on Blu-ray. Once again Sony decides to possibly subsidize content providers to help their own cause in fighting another format war. HD DVD is the other system hoping to get consumers to move to a higher resolution format over the now mainstream lower resolution DVD. To even try and name all the Sony blunders over the years would be an article in and of itself! Besides the most glaring recent Sony blunder being their hidden rootkit (learn more by clicking here), which they further made mistakes in trying to solve it and finally settled legally, the company appears to be saying one thing yet doing another.

Perhaps the good folks at Sony are now being more like politicians or religious leaders, where they make a perceived mistake and repent... or simply just change their minds as market opinion best suits them on any given day. Is there some type of addiction to blame and treatment, all the rage to blame in Hollywood, that could explain Sony's continual missteps and perceived errors of judgment? There have been reports about Sony pressuring Blu-ray disc manufacturers to not press discs with pornography, with claimed threats of license revocation if said pressing plant does not comply. This move would possibly not allow the adult entertainment (porn) industry to release content on the Blu-ray format. Adult movie producer Digital Playground was cited on various websites as confirming this information.

This may be a considerable error of judgment on Sony's part as the lack of adult entertainment content is perhaps what killed the Laserdisc format. Today, it appears DigSony is denying these claims as Marty Gordon, vice-chair of the Blu-ray Disc Association Promotions Committee, said "There is not a prohibition against adult content... We don't tell people how they can use the licenses they get from the Blu-ray Disc Association... The BDA welcomes the participation of all companies interested in using and supporting the format, particularly those from the content industry." So has Sony has changed their strategic tactics? It has been announced that Vivid Entertainment Group, claimed to be the world leader in the production of high quality erotic movies, will soon be releasing Debbie Does Dallas - Again on both HD DVD and Blu-ray format. This is the follow up to the classic Debbie Does Dallas film released decades ago.

Could this be true? Sony conceivably now going back on their stance? Of course it can be true! i recall sitting in the front row at a Sony conference during the whole mp3 debacle years ago and asking them if they would ever make a unit that plays mp3 files. remember, this was way back in the day when Sony's proprietary mini-disc system was trying to get a foothold. Their answer from the Sony executive was basically that they would never make a unit that supports the mp3 format. i don't know about you, but i find it interesting that in Sony's legal settlement concerning their rootkit the settle says, "To ensure that XCP CDs are promptly removed from the market, the settlement requires that SONY BMG provide a range of Incentives to Settlement Class Members who participate in the XCP Exchange Program. ( III.C.) Settlement Class Members who exchange their SONY BMG XCP CDs will be entitled to receive a "clean," non-contented protected CD identical in music content to each XCP CD exchanged, and may download non-content protected MP3 versions of the music contained on each XCP CD purchased." By the way, Sony now makes units that play mp3 files.

And those who have cited the adult entertainment industry earning $12.6 billion a year, it appears these numbers might be a bit inflated. It has been said that the Internet results in 22 percent of their revenue, with video sales and rentals accounting for 28 percent. Instead of going further, you might want to read this thread for various comments from others as for the claimed revenue of the adult entertainment industry. One of the major advantages of HD DVD is that a regular DVD pressing plant, for which there are thousands of versus a handful that can press Blu-ray discs, can usually make HD DVD content as well. So it appears Blu-ray has a great limitation at producing discs versus HD DVD. 

Is it just me, or does Sony have some kind of death wish? And while their recent game system, the PS3, has a Blu-ray player that handles their proprietary SACD format, some of their newest home digital video disc players do not support their very own SACD format! Far be it for me to make any direct comments concerning Sony's stock value. Here is a chart sourced from Charles Schwab, one of America's largest financial services providers of securities brokerage and wealth management. After many years of being a journalist, with decades of experience within the electronics industry, i am beginning to wonder if anything that comes from the mouth of a Sony executive is going to hold true only a week later if, for one reason or another, their stance or proprietary format is unpopular.

 

Soon Only Not Yet (Obsolete)

So now comes the harsh reality of my personal responsibility as a journalist to continue reporting on anything Sony produces. What if i wholeheartedly recommend one of Sony's recent discs and it causes your computer to have a secret rootkit installed on your machine? What if something reviewed by Yours Truly, such as a Blu-ray player costing upwards of $1,000 or more, becomes obsolete only a handful of years later? How are we journalists, as a group, going to be held responsible for promoting via an industry news article or hardware review of another device or format that while newsworthy and perhaps impressive at the time, becomes the next Soon-Only-Not-Yet obsolete format?

 

And The Good News Is....

Perhaps i am being too harsh. After all, there are many titles on SACD and universal DVD-Audio/SACD players have made their way to the marketplace. As reported within my mid-January viewpoint article only two weeks ago, "The shining star is Warner Brothers who, as reported within our Industry News page, will release titles in the company's Total HD format, which is claimed to have both Blu-ray and HD DVD layers. Another bright spot is LG Electric, who has a dual format Blu-ray and HD DVD player. Both choices this early in the game show the ability to relieve consumers of the format wars and buy a single piece of software or hardware that will work. We can only sit back and wonder what the next generation of software and hardware has in store for us all to enjoy. The preliminary news concerning sound quality of either format is very promising." So perhaps we will owe a huge debit of gratitude to those manufacturers who produce universal players. This way it matters not if one format dies an unceremonious death as the other flourishes. Better still, your investment into software is not wasted money as you can continue to enjoy countless hours of entertainment. As always, in the end what really matters is that we all....

Enjoy the Music ("Fight The Good Fight" by Triumph right now),

Steven R. Rochlin

"The days grow shorter and the nights are getting long
Feels like we're running out of time
Every day it seems much harder tellin' right from wrong
You got to read between the lines

Don't get discouraged, don't be afraid
We can make it through another day
Make it worth the price we pay 

The Good Book says it's better to give than to receive
I do my best to do my part
Nothin' in my pockets, I got nothin' up my sleeve
I keep my magic in my heart

Keep up your spirit, keep up your faith, baby
I am counting on you
You know what you've got to do

Fight the good fight every moment
Every minute every day
Fight the good fight every moment
It's your only way

All your life you've been waiting for your chance
Where you'll fit into the plan
But you're the master of your own destiny
So give and take the best that you can...

You think a little more money will buy your soul some rest
You'd better think of something else instead
You're so afraid of being honest with yourself
You'd better take a look inside your head

Nothing is easy, nothing good is free
But I can tell you where to start
Take a look inside your heart
There's an answer in your heart

Fight the good fight every moment
Every minute every day
Fight the good fight every moment
Make it worth the price we pay

Every moment of your lifetime
Every minute every day
Fight the good fight every moment
Make it worth the price we pay"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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