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More DVD-A, SACD Titles On The Way

LAS VEGAS– The number of SACD and DVD Audio titles continues to increase as International CES opens this week. Here is a brief rundown of how things are going on the software side for these two high-performance audio formats:

SACD — The numbers keep going up. In September 2002, 504 titles were available in the United States from Sony Music, Universal and independent music companies, Sony Music told TWICE. By March 2003 another 170 titles will be available, bringing the total to 655. In contrast, 275 titles were available at the end of 2001.

In 2003, Sony said it will release at least five titles per month, most of them multichannel. Most of its current selection is two-channel. Sony hasn’t announced plans for hybrid CD/SACD discs.

Universal said its 17 titles will be expanded to 27 more on Jan. 14. The titles include a mix of two- and multichannel discs and hybrids.

Here’s how the September 2002 roster breaks down:

Single-layer two-channel discs: 128, mostly from Sony Music, with a handful of Universal titles.

Single-layer multichannel discs: 65, mostly Sony and some Universal.

Hybrid (CD/SACD) two-channel discs: 178 (none from Sony)

Hybrid multichannel discs: 133 (none from Sony).

SACD prices start at suggested retails of $21.98 and have appeared at retail at $17.98, Sony said.

DVD-Audio — The number of titles doubled in 2002 to about 300, from 145 at the end of 2001, the DVD Entertainment Group said. In 2003, the promotion group expects at least another 250 titles to be released, bringing the number to about 550. The number could increase even more, the group said, because a recent DVD-Audio convert, BMG, hasn’t shared plans for releases beyond its first disc, Elvis 30 No. 1 Hits, at a suggested $21.98.

Companies such as Warner, DTS, and 5.1 Entertainment are pricing their discs at CD prices, the group noted. In 2003, Warner plans to increase the number of DVD-Audio discs that are released day-and-date with their CD counterparts.

EMI’s approximate dozen titles are priced at a suggested $24.98. BMG’s single titles is a suggested $21.98.