Audio Briefs

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Monster Updates Discs

San Francisco — Having diversified into audio components from cables, connectors and power conditioners into home audio components, Monster Cable plans to enter the music software business with a collection of limited-edition SuperDiscs beginning in November.

SuperDiscs, many of which will be specially remastered, will come in either DVD or CD formats. Most of the time, a CD and DVD will be packaged together. The CD will play in standard CD format, and the DVD will be encoded with 96kHz/24-bit stereo, Dolby Digital and DTS 96/24 surround playable on any DVD-Video player. The DVDs will also feature protected WMA tracks, Apple-protected AAC tracks and Apple lossless-compression tracks. On top of that, the WMA and AAC tracks will be encoded in Dolby Headphone so that listeners can enjoy a virtual surround experience through headphones when the tracks are transferred to a portable device.

Monster planned to offer five discs through CE retailers by early this month at $19.98 for the CDs and $24.98 for the DVDs. A CD-DVD package will cost $24.98.

One of the first titles will be Ray Charles's “Genius Loves Company.”

Kids Want Their MP3

Chicago — Motorola spin-off First International Digital launched an MP3 player for kids and for older users interested in ease of use. The $39-suggested MP3ez features 128MB of embedded memory and a slot for MMC/SD memory cards. No software needs to be installed on Windows 2000 and Windows XP PCs.

MP3 Video Player Unveiled

Milpitas, Calif. — iRiver launched its first flash-memory MP3 portables with ability to store and play back video.

The U10 is due in stores this month at a suggested $199 for the 512MB version and $249 for the 1GB version with 2.2-inch color display, compatibility with subscription-based downloads, MPEG-4 video playback at 15 frames per second, JPEG viewer and ability to play games and animation in the Macromedia Flash Lite 1.1 format. It also features FM tuner, digital voice recorder and playback of MP3, protected WMA and OGG music files.

Creative Launches Zen Dock

Milpitas, Calif. — Creative Labs began selling a speaker-equipped tabletop docking station for MP3 portables at an everyday $149 on its Web site. The I-Trigue L3800 is Creative's first such product delivering wireless remote control of system volume, skip, reverse and MP3/FM switching, but only of Creative's Zen models. Any MP3 player, however, can be connected to the dock via its auxiliary input. The dock puts out 48 watts of RMS power through front-firing tweeters and side-firing midrange drivers to widen the soundstage.

Abcron Dives Into PMPs

City of Industry, Calif. — Abcron, the marketer of blank media, flash-card accessories and mobile speakers, has begun offering its first portable media player, the PlayO Pocket Theater.

The devices features 40GB 2.5-inch HDD, 2.5-inch color display, 11-in-one flash card reader/writer and lithium-ion battery that delivers 10 hours of music playing time. The device stores music in MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC formats; video in AVI and MOV formats; and images in JPEG, TIFF, BMP and RAW formats. Stored video transferred from a PC can be fed to a TV through an analog RCA output.

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