CES 2006: MusicGiants Announce High-Resolution Surround Downloads

CES 2006: MusicGiants have announced plans for high-resolution, lossless, surround downloads to be introduced later this year as part of the MusicGians Network premium music download service. The following information is from the company’s press release:

Listening to music in 5.1 provides exactly the type of rich, robust listening experience that musicians prefer and consumers now expect from their home audio systems,” said Elliot Mazer, long-time producer for Neil Young and other noted artists. Mazer has produced 5.1 remixes of recordings from artists such as Young, Janis Joplin, The Who, Santana, Frank Sinatra and Switchfoot. “The addition of 5.1 content to the MusicGiants Network will be a first in the music industry.

The 5.1 channel digital platform is a standard for audio surround sound. The rich sound benefits of 5.1 channel digital surround sound are derived from recording audio on five separate tracks: front left, front right, center, rear left, and rear right, with one extra track (the “.1”) for very low bass sounds. This three-dimensional sound quality imitates the real world experience of human hearing, and has become extremely popular for U.S. home audio systems.

There are an estimated 35 million 5.1 music systems in U.S. homes,” said Scott Bahneman, CEO, MusicGiants. “We believe that combining the highest sound quality music available over the Internet with the exceptional listening experience of 5.1 will provide a significant market opportunity.

MusicGiants is the first commercial download service offering high-fidelity music files, including the complete digital music libraries of the major music labels, in the Windows Media Audio Lossless format. This format provides the sound quality of the original digital recording, demonstrably superior in playback quality to compressed music from existing download services. Ordinary download services provide music at data rates of 128 to 192 kbps (kilobytes per second), while MusicGiants’ Windows Media Audio Lossless downloads reproduce music at up to 1100 kbps, delivering the true sound quality of the original CD. In addition, MusicGiants uses Windows Media Digital Rights Management (Windows Media DRM) to deliver content. Windows Media DRM is the leading solution for securing digital media, and is supported on the widest range of consumer electronics devices.

MusicGiants intends to make 5.1 tracks available as downloads or preloaded as collections on hard disks. The company will provide additional details, including availability and pricing, when it launches its 5.1 service later this year. The format of the MusicGiants files is comparable to the original DVD-Audio formats, at either 88.2kHz or 96kHz sampling rate at 24-bits.

[HFR – MusicGiants have not stated whether stereo high-resolution tracks will be made available or whether there will be support for 192kHz source material let alone the source of their proposed catalogue.]