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Contrary to myth, convergence is not the union of consumer electronics and computer hardware. It's a far more complex blend of CE, computing, Internet connectivity, software that entertains, and software that organizes. That last element is the unseen whirlwind inside the revolution. It was also, until recently, the element that was least evolved. That's begun to change, and Gracenote is at the forefront of that change. The Emeryville, Calif.-based company is best known as the heir to CDDB, the service that enriches burned CD-Rs or ripped music files with track and other data. CDDB is virtually everywhere—in the iPod and other compressed-music players, online
What You Need To Know About Hard-Drive Audio Servers By Mark Fleischmann> The process of playing recorded music didn't change that much from the wax cylinder all the way up to the CD. You'd put a recording into a machine and music came out. Once music became digital, courtesy of the CD, the rules changed a bit (no pun intended). But the digitization of recorded music was almost a trivial event compared to the compression of those digits. Today's state-of-the-art playback systems put compressed audio files on a hard drive, where they are rigorously cross-indexed and organized, travel through the home in a
Is the NXT Big Thing Finally Here? By Mark Fleischmann There isn't much of a family resemblance between flat-panel video displays and a bunch of boxy speaker enclosures. But while flat TVs have increased in-wall speakers' popularity, many customers with an audiophile bent still balk at in-walls as a solution. Consumers look at the juxtaposition of new video technologies and old-fashioned speakers and ask: Why can't a surround system be as elegant and space-saving as a plasma display panel or an LCD TV? For almost seven years, NXT, an outgrowth of Mission, the British loudspeaker maker, has been promising an answer. For those not