TOKYO, Oct. 8, 2003 — Today at the 2003 Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies (CEATEC) show, Microsoft Corp. and Pioneer Corp. announced a new top-of-the-line AV amplifier model that supports Microsoft® Windows Media®
Audio 9 Professional for the delivery of multichannel surround sound. The new amplifier model, VSA-AX10Ai-N, also uses Pioneer’s Advanced Multichannel Acoustic Calibration system, which allows sound adjustments at the same professional level as the monitoring methods of recording studios. The unit is scheduled to be available in Japan in December 2003 and in North America as the receiver model VSX-59TXi in January 2004.
Pioneer’s VSA-AX10Ai-N can play back music files encoded with Windows Media Audio 9 Professional from a Windows®
-based PC using the Sony/Philips Digital Interface (S/PDIF). The S/PDIF is an audio transfer file format interface for audio bitstreams that enables the delivery of digital audio from one device to another without the need to convert to analog; it is transferred as a digital compressed format and is decoded by the AV amplifier, therefore maintaining maximum quality. Microsoft has proposed to IEC-TC100 that Windows Media Audio 9 Professional be considered as a format for inclusion in the IEC61937 (S/PDIF) Standard.
“Having the first AV amplifier to support the playback of multichannel, efficiently compressed audio is evidence that Pioneer remains a leader in providing cutting-edge technology to consumers,” said Tsutomu Miyakawa, general manager of the AV Development Department Home Entertainment Company of Pioneer. “With its support for Windows Media Audio 9 Professional, the VSA-AX10Ai-N will allow Pioneer to deliver exciting new home-entertainment experiences to consumers.”
“Pioneer’s AV amplifier enables consumers to experience high-fidelity, multichannel audio from their Windows-based PC right in their home theater,” said Amir Majidimehr, general manager of the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. “Pioneer recognizes that advanced compression is only useful when you can maintain the highest-quality audio experience.”
The VSA-AX10Ai-N is compatible with existing package media as well as with the increasingly popular nonpackage media such as 5.1 surround sound audio downloads from the Web. For example, to add value to existing releases, music labels are releasing multichannel audio tracks in Windows Media Audio 9 Professional format from artists such as Peter Gabriel, Sting, Pink Floyd and DJ Andy Hunter.
In addition to the playback of audio content, a growing number of video-on-demand services already exist that will enable the new VSA-AX10Ai-N to play back movie soundtracks encoded in Windows Media Audio 9 Professional. The broadband distribution service WOWOW NEXT ENTERTAINMENT GENETICS, produced by WOWOW Inc., will be offering music and movies in high-definition, 5.1 channel surround sound Windows Media 9 Series to bring its customers the highest-quality digital media experience.
Pioneer Corporation is one of the leading manufacturers of consumer and business-use electronics products such as audio, video and car electronics on a global scale. Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol PIO), Euronext Amsterdam, Tokyo Stock Exchange, and Osaka Securities Exchange.
About Windows Media
Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, used by consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations throughout the world. The Windows Media 9 Series platform includes Windows Media Player 9 Series; Windows Media Services 9 Series, the powerful streaming server feature in Windows Server (TM) 2003 for distributing content; Windows Media Encoder 9 Series for content creation; Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series for the best-quality audio and video; Windows Media Digital Rights Management to help protect content; and the Windows Media Software Development Kit for software developers to develop digital media products and services. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is now the leading media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.
Microsoft, Windows Media, Windows and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
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