Panasonic unveils first DVD-Audio players for the US market

Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company (PCEC) now redefines how we’ll listen to recorded music as it becomes the first company to introduce DVD-Audio players in the United States. Taking advantage of the digital technology originally developed for DVD video, DVD-Audio uses the advanced format’s vast data storage potential to deliver “super recordings” enriched with the nuance, warmth and subtle overtones of a live musical performance.

Panasonic unveiled two players today under the Panasonic and Technics brands, with tentative delivery planned for this Fall. DVD-Audio promises to be the audio standard for the 21st century with its enhanced dynamic range, full 5.1-channel surround sound capacity, and ability to deliver video as well as audio.

DVD-Audio’s potential for concert-hall fidelity is astounding. With a sampling frequency of 192kHz — more than four times that of CD — DVD-Audio can reproduce those frequencies that lend live instruments their timbre or resonance — and are often lost on compact disc. The crash of cymbals, for example, produces frequencies well above 20kHz — inaudible to the ear but important to the integrity of the music. DVD-Audio’s frequency range will help retain every instrument’s distinct expression.

DVD-Audio is also capable of 24-bit resolution (vs. 16-bit maximum for CD), reducing background noise to imperceptible levels. Like DVD Video, DVD-Audio is fully surround sound compatible. It can decode music recorded in up to 5.1 channels (including a subwoofer) giving listeners the ambience and
enveloping effect of a live performance, and artists a new way to express themselves creatively.

Also like its video cousin, DVD-Audio uses a CD-size disc and is capable of single- or dual-layer capacity on one or both sides. At its highest resolution (192kHz/24-bit 2-channel PCM), the format can store 74 minutes of music on a single-side of a single-layer disc. Depending on resolution, that figure can balloon to 400 minutes – or more than 6-1/2 hours of music. An 8 cm disc is also an option, for music singles or other short programs.

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