It wasn’t too long ago when we were thrilled with the prospect of jamming thousands of tunes onto a PC or iPod. Many of us weren’t particularly discriminating about the quality of the sound, though, and now that tinny audio is grating on our ears. We’d like more elegant solutions.
Content is everywhere, after all. Securing high-quality content just takes a little more effort—and investment—but the payoff is worth it if you have a passion for music and movies.
Audiophiles came up with their own solutions for ripping CDs using lossless codecs. On the music store side, Apple iTunes Plus came along with higher-res files that double the bit rate for less-compressed audio. And MusicGiants became the go-to download service for high-quality rights-protected WMA files with its lossless uncompressed music file library.
Earlier this year, MusicGiants launched a sister platform called VideoGiants, which delivers movies, concerts and music videos in lossless WMV ranging from 480p to 1080p resolution using bit rates of up to 45 mbps. Currently the site offers five movie collections ranging from $149 for 10 Star Trek films to $1,125 for the eclectic Movie Lovers’ Collection of 75 movies. Individual purchase options are on the docket.
If typing in a URL, logging into a download site, and plugging in a credit card number sounds like more than you care to take on when settling back in your theater recliner, take note: Aspen Media Products and HDGiants—the new combined brand of VideoGiants and MusicGiants—teamed up to create the HD MediaStore application, which integrates with electronics connected to Microsoft Vista’s Media Center Edition.
The application enables Media Center owners to legally buy and download high-quality movies and music directly to an entertainment system via remote control. Downloaded music and videos can be distributed from the server’s hard drive throughout the house via Media Center extenders.
Over the next few months, other MusicGiants partners will incorporate HD MediaStore into their interfaces. Look for Crestron, Olive, Niveus, QSonix, Russound, Inteset and others to include the application as well.
HDGiants content partners include Paramount, Sony BMG, EMI, Fantasy, HDNet, Image Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Warner Music, Linn Records, Telarc and others. At press time, HDGiants was gearing up to announce two additional studio partners.
Downloadable content is no longer a compromise. With hi-res music and video downloads at our fingertips, it’s getting harder and harder to justify those 5-inch discs.
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