Meridian Showcases DVD-Audio Technologies at CES 2005

CES 2005: DualDiscs are soon to have printed labels, just one of the news snippets from Meridian, the British-based international leader in digital audio and video for home theater and music systems, who have, with the co-sponsorship of Panasonic/MEI, dedicated a significant part of their booth at CES to promoting DVD-Audio technology, the high-resolution audio packaged medium based around Meridian’s MLP (Meridian Lossless Packing) system, delivering bit-for-bit accuracy for music and soundtracks in stereo or surround. Meridian are exhibiting at Booth #21707, Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall 1,

This year the centerpiece of the booth is a demonstration area with a full surround replay system based around a Meridian G91 DVD-Audio/Video player/controller and five Meridian DSP loudspeakers, in conjunction with a Panasonic plasma screen. In addition, the booth includes a complete Panasonic “Home Theater In A Box” (HTIB) DVD-Audio/Video system and panels showing just a sample of some of the available DVD-Audio and new DualDisc titles, while a static display shows a selection of the 150-plus models of players sold by manufacturers all over the world.

DVD-Audio is a member of the Digital Versatile Disk (DVD) family, the most successful consumer format ever. DVD-Audio extends the medium to include super-quality surround-sound with core technology from Meridian: lossless compression. Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) was developed by Meridian and is licensed via Dolby Laboratories, whose nearby booths (#20322D/20324D/20913) also feature DVD-Audio products and technology. Six channels of advanced-resolution PCM 24-bit, 96kHz sampling surround-sound and/or two channels of stereo at up to 192kHz sampling give DVD-Audio the highest level of quality available in a consumer audio format, with a frequency response up to 100kHz and a full 144dB of dynamic range maintained across the entire frequency range. MLP has now also been mandated for the next-generation HD-DVD high-resolution disc system, for both music programs and movie soundtracks.

In addition to superb-quality audio, DVD-Audio, as a member of the DVD family, includes all the features that make DVD-Video so popular. The DVD-Video zone on almost all DVD-A discs makes them fully backwards compatible and playable on any player with the DVD logo (though for full audio quality, a DVD-Audio/Video player is required). Discs can include lyrics, notes and slideshows that change with the music, along with extras such as music videos and ‘making of’ documentaries. In addition, a ROM zone can include computer-readable files and links to additional material on-line, while the new Compressed Audio zone can include files suitable for downloading to personal media players using the same AAC codec as is employed by the popular iTunes® service.

The latest development in this area is the release of the new ‘DualDisc’ format, launched last year, in which all the major record companies are involved, and where sales have already been significant. These double-sided discs, featuring both a DVD side and a CD-compatible side so that they can be enjoyed on almost any DVD or CD player, are already becoming extremely popular: a number of the available titles will be on display and demonstrated at the booth. The DVD side of a DualDisc often includes the same content as an equivalent DVD-Audio disc, with super-high-resolution surround and/or stereo audio plus extras like picture galleries and lyrics as well as added-value video material. Around 75 titles have been released so far, with many more to follow. An innovation soon to hit the market will be DualDiscs that have printed labels – despite the fact that both sides of the disc are playable! This is a result of new technology that makes the printing transparent to laser light.

Dolby Laboratories, mentioned earlier, are also showing DVD-Audio technology including a vehicle equipped with a DVD-Audio player. AIX Records, the award-winning audiophile DVD label specializing in new high-resolution, 5.1 channel surround recordings, will also be demonstrating DVD-Audio at the Alexis Park Hotel in booth AP3.