Virtual DD/DTS Headphones

PARK RIDGE, N.J. —Sony's first virtual surround headphone system to decode Dolby Digital and DTS is available. With wireless headphones, it's expected to retail for about $500.

SDMI Hackers Conspire

PALO ALTO, CALIF. —The Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) said hackers submitted 447 attacks on five potential Phase II screening technologies and determined that all but one withstood the attacks. The technologies that withstood the challenge included watermark and nonwatermark technologies. Six were originally considered, but one was withdrawn by its proponent, said executive director Leonardo Chiariglione. In another development, SDMI approved amendments to allow for SDMI-compliant devices such as wireless phones, radios and voice recorders.

Real, Sony Collaborate

SEATTLE —Real Networks has released its RealAudio 8 codec, which is based on Sony's ATRAC3 Internet-audio codec. Sony's Internet portables will be able to store and play back RealAudio 8 files in native format without being transcoded as soon as Real develops a plug-in for its Jukebox software, a Real spokeswoman said. Real's new codec is said to deliver equivalent or better quality compared to the company's G2 codec but with two thirds the bandwidth.

Sharp Ships CD-R

MAHWAH, N.J. —Sharp is shipping its first CD-recorder, an integral part of a $599 self system in the new Silver Tower series of narrow-profile shelf systems. It features six-disc CD changer, LCD display, single full-logic cassette, three-way speakers and biamplification. It is available now.

Parasound's Custom Debuts

SAN FRANCISCO - Parasound introduced its first 12-channel amp, the 12 x 50-watt Z-12 Zone Master, due by year's end at a suggested $2,000. A previous 12-channel model shown to the trade never shipped. The company also unveiled nine new in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, including a passive 10-inch in-wall subwoofer. Prices per pair range from $400 to $800. The subwoofer retails for $400.

Onkyo, Polk Team Up

B ALTIMORE —In their first-ever such collaboration with another audio manufacturer, Polk Audio and Onkyo have teamed up to offer a shelf system. Polk contributes the speakers, and Onkyo contributes the electronics. Polk said the collaboration will enable it to tap into the expanding shelf-system market. Both companies are current Circuit City suppliers. The $629-suggested-retail PS-509 features three-disc changer, 20-watt amp, Polk two-way bookshelf speakers and subwoofer preamp output.


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