Audio Briefs

Original: Offers mp3PRO

San Diego— The Internet download site said it began on Oct. 1 to offer thousands of music files in the mp3PRO format. The site also offers an mp3PRO playback plug-in for the Winamp music player application.

Panasonic Portable Shrinks

Secaucus, N.J.— Panasonic's SV-SD80 Internet audio portable, unveiled at Japan's CEATEC show, will ship in the Unites States in late October at a suggested $329 and an expected everyday $299 with included 64MB SD memory card. Compared to two current models, the SD80 is smaller at 1.66 inches x 1.64 inches x 0.62 inches and extends battery life to 50 hours from six when a rechargeable NiMH battery is combined with a triple-A alkaline. The new device will also add Microsoft WMA decoding and the WMA DRM when a planned update to included RealJukeBox music-management software is available. The current models offer MP3 and AAC decoding. Panasonic didn't know if the SD80 would support the Metatrust DRM as the current models do.

iRock 500 Series Rolls

Chicago — First International Digital is highlighting value in two new 500 series MP3 portables, one offering 64MB of internal memory at an estimated everyday $99.

"The 520 is the only 64MB device we are aware of out there that is under $100," said Randy Cavaiani, sales and marketing VP. At $99, other models offer 32MB, a spokeswoman added. The second unit, the 510, comes with 32MB internal memory at an estimated everyday $79.

The next-generation 500 series, due in Q2, will be codec-upgradeable and will add the WMA and mp3PRO codecs, Cavaiani said.

Home Network Trials Set

Maynard, Mass. — Ucentric Systems has teamed up separately with Sears and the Comcast cable network to conduct trials of Ucentric's home-networking software platform.

Ucentric technology connects existing household products— such as TVs, PCs, stereos, and phones — to one another and to the Internet without the installation of new wires.

Sears will install home-network servers in 50 homes in the Dallas area for customer trials. Comcast will conduct a technical trial.


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