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Television Media

SonicBlue (Replay/Rio) Bought By D&M 193

Posted by michael
from the play-it-again-sam dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Here's the announcement that many have been waiting for all week. Yesterday, the ReplayTV and Rio product lines of now-defunct SonicBlue were auctioned off in a bankruptcy court. Despite earlier negotiations failing to result in a deal, the Japanese holding company D&M, makers of high-end Denon and Marantz stereo gear, bought the product lines for $36.2 million. The big question is what about all of the "lifetime subscriptions" that people bought? No answers as of yet, but we can all be hopeful."
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SonicBlue (Replay/Rio) Bought By D&M

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  • by Ignorant Aardvark (632408) <cydeweys@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:10AM (#5743523) Homepage Journal
    Only $36.2 million? That's really not that much for an entire line of TiVO-like products. It sounds to me like D&M might make a killing off this investment, if they play their cards right.
    • by levik (52444) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:24AM (#5743624) Homepage
      Not neccesarily. Don't forget that SonicBlue already *HAD* these product lines, and still went under. These may not be all that commercially viable.

      The PVR market is still high end, still small and already saturated.

    • Well, it was a bankruptcy auction. They usually start the bidding at 1 stick of Fruit Stripe gum at those things.
    • Only $36.2 million? That's really not that much for an entire line of TiVO-like products. It sounds to me like D&M might make a killing off this investment, if they play their cards right.

      I'd agree, and add that just the brands "Rio" and "ReplayTV" are worth more than $36 million. D&M could make their money back by Christmas, simply by branding the cheapest MP3/PVR machines they can find with "Rio" and "ReplayTV" and selling them through discount chains like WalMart.
    • The $36.2 million was for BOTH ReplayTV AND Rio. Not sure how it splits out, but for BOTH divisions, it seems like a steal.
  • Heh, "...until death (or hostile takeovers, bankruptcy etc) do us part ...." =] So much for life time support I guess. However, Rio was a good brand a while back, so I hope the new company continues it's services.
  • Lifetime? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Good Sumerian (459878) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:12AM (#5743538) Homepage
    Lifetime support has always meant the lifetime of the company. They got what they paid for; it was a gamble, and, unfortunately, they lost.
    • Re:Lifetime? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by deanj (519759) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:27AM (#5743640)
      Well, not necessarily. When ReplayTV got bought out, the company went away, and the assests went to SonicBlue. They honored the lifetime agreement for ReplayTV owners.
      • Re:Lifetime? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Zathrus (232140) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:47AM (#5743777) Homepage
        Well, not necessarily. When ReplayTV got bought out, the company went away, and the assests went to SonicBlue. They honored the lifetime agreement for ReplayTV owners.

        Yes, but lifetime subscriptions are not an asset - they are a liability. The press release doesn't go into any detail, but I'd presume that D&M got saddled with the liabilities (court cases, outstanding debts, and lifetime subscriptions) as well as gaining the assets.

        This is why $36.4M is not a "deal" by the way... and it's why they went under in the first place. They have far more liabilities than assets at this time.

        • Re:Lifetime? (Score:2, Interesting)

          by BreadMan (178060)
          Says the article:

          D&M Holdings said it bought inventory, receivables, intellectual property and capital equipment, and that it would also take over certain contractual relationships and liabilities.

          I'm guessing that "certain contractual relationships" means customer agreements.

          I don't see the business case of buying a hardware company that relies on subscriptions and then stiffing your subscribers. If you manage not to upset your subscribers, you have a good pool of people you can up-sell something

          • Exactly. If they stiff me on my lifetime agreement, then I'm not going to buy another one from them or pay them monthly. In that case, I'm going out and buying a Tivo. Hopefully, they're smart enough to know that this sort of behavior wouldn't help them.
          • I don't see the business case of buying a hardware company that relies on subscriptions and then stiffing your subscribers.

            Think about it some more. The lifetime subscribers are a liability. You will not get anymore revenue from those boxes... by dumping them you will lose goodwill, but in the case of Replay (where it's something like 85% lifetime contracts) it may be determined that the cost of continued support for those subscribers is far greater than the ill will you'll generate by dumping them.

            Perso
        • Don't forget that they bought some assets through the bankruptcy court. The status of those "lifetime subscriptions" may be that they were treated as canceled debts.

        • How much does lifetime subscription service cost the company? (Not counting tech support which is MOSTLY just for getting things working the first time (and consequently not a recurring cost)).

          Hmmm - for replay - there is phone subscriptions and net connections, there is the creation of the programming guide - that is about it.

          So - you have recurring costs of supplying the guide data to the phone/internet connection. You have the guide creation cost - That's about it.

          I don't imagine this is a really lar
      • Well, not necessarily. When ReplayTV got bought out, the company went away, and the assests went to SonicBlue. They honored the lifetime agreement for ReplayTV owners. Does anyone know for sure?

        I admit I'm not that familiar with the product line, I use a DirecTiVo myself, but I thought ReplayTV's didn't use the subscription model that Tivo uses? I seem to recall folks using that as a reason to get a ReplayTV in place of a Tivo.

        But D&M will likely maintain their agreements if they intend to continue

        • Re:Lifetime? (Score:3, Informative)

          by zsmooth (12005)

          I admit I'm not that familiar with the product line, I use a DirecTiVo myself, but I thought ReplayTV's didn't use the subscription model that Tivo uses? I seem to recall folks using that as a reason to get a ReplayTV in place of a Tivo.

          When Replays first went on sale, the cost of a lifetime subscription was included with the unit, so they all cost like $500 or $600. Then they realized that Tivo's method was working better since a lot of people didn't want to put down that big a chunk of change all at o

      • Lifetime agreement: A fanciful mechanism whereby companies can charge the prices they really want to charge for a service but realize that no one will go for it as it is too high. For further explanation, see also Straight hooks and tartan paint

    • Lifetime support has always meant the lifetime of the company.

      In the US that depends upon what state you live in and what their laws are. I was under the impression in NY that lifetime support meant for the lifetime of the product or 5 years.

      By your definition if my product dies, gets lost, burned or whatever, if I still have proof of the service agreement and the company is still in business they would have to replace the product?
      • By your definition if my product dies, gets lost, burned or whatever, if I still have proof of the service agreement and the company is still in business they would have to replace the product?

        No. They just have to support it. Thjis does not mean they have to be sure the hardware works. Just the service.
      • good point, I realized that it was a service being provided, not a service contract for hardware. of course that was after I posted.
        • Quite clearly any use of the legal system to circumvent the lifetime services (which provide copyrighted materials) would be a violation of the DMCA.
    • I bought my replay a while back when there was no such thing as a lifetime subscription, it was just a part of the service you got by buying the unit. In other words, though I don't recall exactly how it was phrased, I thought of my program data as something I was entitled to by buying the box, not by buying some kind of subscription.


      A subtle point, but I"ll have to see if I have any info on my unit and how the program data worked. Probably don't have anything anymore...

  • by austinij (139193) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:12AM (#5743539) Homepage
    Silicon Valley Biz Ink [prnewswire.com] is indicating that all current customers will be retained. Hopefully, it works out that way.

    -- I
  • Hi-fi buys lo-fi (Score:5, Interesting)

    by southpolesammy (150094) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:15AM (#5743551) Journal
    Interesting....this is a paradigm shift for D&M, as they've typically invested their R&D on the high-end of the audiophile spectrum. I'm somewhat perplexed by what they hope to accomplish with buying a line of low-end audio devices...
    • Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Drakino (10965) <d_slashdot@miUML ... .net minus punct> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:23AM (#5743610) Journal
      I'm somewhat perplexed by what they hope to accomplish with buying a line of low-end audio devices...

      SonicBlue fired all the low end audio people a while back, leaving the audio engineers in the UK (The empeg folks). They are very capable of delivering quality high end devices if so requested. I believe the empeg sound system came close to any high end ($1000 and up) in dash stereo unit for potential audio output quality.

      Hopefully this means the empeg Mark 3 might see the light of day.
    • Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (Score:3, Interesting)

      by NetJunkie (56134)
      You'll probably see these come back as Philips branded devices, assuming they don't have a exclusive agreement with TiVo. A lot of Denon/Marantz products are released in a lesser form as Philips... My Marantz remote control is almost exactly the same as the Philips TSU-2000 remote.
    • Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (Score:2, Informative)

      by Wyatt Earp (1029)
      D&M isn't high end.

      It's more of a high-end of the low-end.

      Rotel, Krell, Sunfir, Mark Levinson, anything with vaccum tubes and the list goes on are more towards the middle and hugh end of the audiophile spectrum.

      You know stuff where each mono-block amp costs more than the most expensive D&M box. Or when your system has a phono cartridge that costs 5-15,000 bucks, that's high-end.

      But me, I'm happy with my Denon AVR-3803
      • by Surreal_Streaker (636407) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @11:11AM (#5743930)
        You know stuff where each mono-block amp costs more than the most expensive D&M box. Or when your system has a phono cartridge that costs 5-15,000 bucks, that's high-end.

        I'd argue that when your system sounds good it is high end. Thousand dollar phono cartridges only guarantee that your system is expensive. High end systems take more than just money.

        • I'll go with that.

          My Denon and Paradigms do sound good, as good as Rotels and M&Ks according to my buddy who spent twice as much as I did for Rotels and M&Ks.

          But my point was there is an ass-load of stuff above and beyond Denon.

    • It's called 'higher stock values.'
      Acquiring replay TV and the rio product lines doesn't exactly fit with the companies main line of work. But since they also got the names, they can simply keep on calling the replay tv the replay tv, and the rio the rio. They can sell low end (consumer grade/chomp usa/best [not to] buy) junk for revenues during the economic recession in japan, and the questionable economy here in the US.
      The only question is will rebuilding iraq/building new bombs to replace the ones used
    • Replay has publically positioned themselves from very early on as more of a high-end PVR maker, thus the inclusion of higher capacities and networking capability earlier than Tivo. This strategy probably cost them a lot of business so they've softened their stance and tried to push down into the more mainstream market but it doesn't change their original intent.

      As a fan of both companies I can't help but be encouraged for the time being.
  • Lifetime Activation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:18AM (#5743572) Homepage
    INAL, but if D&M continues the ReplayTV "Name" (ie, they purchased the name, not just the products) then they should have to honor the agreement. If the company all of a sudden become "D & M R-TV", or even "ReplayTV+" then the current owners might be screwed. Hopefully, they'll honor the current agreement, or only charge a small "transfer" fee.

    From the service agreement...
    SonicBlue [sonicblue.com]

    REPLAYTV Digital Video Recorder

    Activation and Service Agreement

    This Agreement applies to your use of the ReplayTV Service and is a legally binding agreement between you, SONICblue Incorporated and its wholly owned subsidiary, ReplayTV Inc. (collectively "ReplayTV"). By clicking the button marked "I Agree" below or by otherwise communicating your acceptance to ReplayTV or by using the ReplayTV Service, you agree to all the terms and conditions in this Agreement. IMPORTANT NOTE: Your ReplayTV digital video recorder works only by activating and receiving the ReplayTV Service offered and provided by ReplayTV. If you do not agree with all the terms and conditions of this Agreement, you are not authorized to use the ReplayTV Service, and you may return the ReplayTV unit to ReplayTV or the authorized retailer from whom you purchased the product for a full refund within one (1) month of the original purchase date.
    • IANAL either, but as i understand it, bankruptcy court allows a company, with the permission of the court, to set aside its obligations including debt and current contracts. part of the agreement for d&m to buy replay may have been to set aside certain replay contracts such as the lifetime activation or possibly supplier agreements.

      oh, and by the way, while dennon and marantz gear is reasonably good, they are not the apex of high end audio, not by a long shot.
    • I believe you are citing the part where it says collectively "ReplayTV" as the basis for your comment. That part simply means that the phrase "ReplayTV" will be used to refer to SONICblue, Inc and its subsidiary ReplayTV, Inc. Whether or not D&M will honor the lifetime agreements is completely dependent on the structure of the agreement between them and ReplayTV, and has nothing to do with this service agreement.
      • I was actually refering to D&M purchasing the one or both of the companies "SONICblue, Inc and its subsidiary ReplayTV, Inc" VS D&M purchasing the asset known as ReplayTV and the right to maintain and manufacture past and current hardware...

        But as pointed out, the Bankrupcy court will probably agree to allow D&M to punt any past agreements.

        My understanding is that the court will basically allow pretty much anything in order to get some money back to the debt holders...

        Net result, FUBAR'd user
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is an asset sale not a stock transaction. Certain assets of SonicBlue (apparently including it's Rio and ReplayTV technology, trademarks and customer list) were purchased by D&M.

      D&M is *not* SonicBlue's legal successor and will *not* assume SonicBlue's liabilities. The "lifetime" service people are just a few of many SonicBlue creditors who are going to lose here. It's unfortunate but they are no more deserving than the unpaid vendors and creditors that get burned in any bankruptcy. We should
  • S.O.L. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The big question is what about all of the "lifetime subscriptions" that people bought?

    I'm pretty sure D&M would've had to have bought out any and all contracts that SonicBlue had held, too. If they haven't bought the company outright, I don't think they're obligated to any service contracts or anything like that.

    As somebody pointed out above, a lifetime contract means the lifetime of the company. Pretty rare that you'll find a sucker willing to take on the responsibility of assisting a previously i
    • Well SB continued to support existing Replay users when they bought out ReplayTV. Of course look at what happened to them...


      The problem is that if D&M ditches all of the existing customers, then it will just about ruin the ReplayTV name in the consumer market. ANd they did buy the name.


      I can't imagine that supporting the current customer base is too expensive.
    • A lot of people bought lifetime subscriptions--in the beginning, that was the only option--but I think there are still a lot of ReplayTV owners paying the monthly fee. If D&M keeps the channel guide servers going for those folks, how much would it really cost them to let the lifetime subscribers dial in too (literally, or figuratively for the broadband units)?
    • BzzzzT! Wrong...

      Thanks for playing.

      a lifetime contract is based on the term lifetime as specified in the contract. Tivo is about 5-7 years.. just wait for the pissed offf tivo owners here soon finding they need to either buy a series 2 unit or re-up their "lifetime" contract.

      lifetime = lifetime of the product as determined by the corperate scumbags.
  • lifetime (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ih8apple (607271) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:20AM (#5743585)
    I've been a replaytv user for 3+ years and considering how much effort it takes to support the subscriptions, I'm assuming they will honor the lifetime subscriptions to keep customers loyal.

    I mean, how much effort could it take to download a bunch of schedules from tvguide or whoever, encrypt them into the proprietary replaytv format, and put them on an FTP site. For the broadband users, they're done. For dialup, they need a simple agreement with a national ISP to support a few thousand 5 minute calls every night.
  • by splatter (39844) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:21AM (#5743597)
    "D&M Holdings intends to keep all ReplayTV
    customers and will design, manufacture and distribute a line of ReplayTV and
    Rio products."

    Sounds like they plan on continuing as normal. Hopefully D&M won't be buryied like Sonic Blue.

    • D&M will be fine (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:49AM (#5743795) Journal
      Denon and Marantz has a very solid core business - home audio entertainment. It's a well-respected, much-loved brand.

      The likelyhood of D&M running into financial difficulties is slim, simply because their traditional businesses are cash cows. Even if the SonicBlue division (whatever it ends up being called) makes a loss, D&M will be fine (short of some vey serious mismanagement).

      It's like Microsoft and Hotmail - even if Hotmail was to sink like lead, the money that Microsoft makes from its other businesses would more than keep it afloat.

      As someone else has said, $36.2 million to buy yourself a major slice of the PVR market (not to mention portable digital music players) is a steal.

  • Philips and Marantz (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:22AM (#5743603)
    Philips owns a significant part of Marantz, you know.

    http://www.twice.com/index.asp?layout=story_stocks &articleid=CA66618

    • I believe that story is now out of date the www.marantz.com site now states, under their History link.

      MARANTZ TODAY

      The Philips period ended in 2001 when Marantz Japan Inc. acquired the brand and all overseas sales subsidiaries. Today, Marantz falls under D&M Holdings, a joint holding company set up in 2002 to integrate Marantz and Hi-Fi manufacturer Denon in a strategic union that will strengthen both companies in the current tough economic climate. The company employs more than 1600 people in over fif

      • by Anonymous Coward
        "&M Holdings Inc. will establish a new head office in Sagamihara City, Japan, with Kabumoto as the new president and CEO of the company. Sakamoto will be installed as the new president and CEO of Denon, and Takashi Sato will serve as the new president and CEO of Marantz. All shares of Marantz and Denon will be transferred to D&M Holdings, making Denon and Marantz wholly owned subsidiaries. Marantz shareholders will receive one share of D&M Holdings per share of Marantz stock, and Denon sharehold
  • by Flabby Boohoo (606425) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:26AM (#5743638) Journal
    "....what about all of the "lifetime subscriptions" that people bought?"

    That is exactly why I have never taken the plunge. I don't want to invest in hardware that (more or less) requires the company to be around for it to work properly. For example, the only broadband options in my area are fixed point wireless. The problem is that I have to invest $500 in the hardware. What happens when they disappear in a year or two? I am stuck with useless hardware (unless someone else offers the service).

    I guess the dot com mess is still fresh in my mind...
    • That's one of my aversions to TiVo. Last I checked (admittedly over a year ago) the unit was virtually worthless without a subscription. I remember reading that you could record 30 minutes at a time, on one touch, and not schedule recordings (even manually). So if TiVo were to go out of business, I'm left with a hunk of junk.
      • Not necessarily.

        Some TiVo owners didn't like the unit calling the mother ship and potentially downloading new revs of the OS that might mootify all their carefully-soldered hardware add-ons (eg, ethernet out).

        I bought the lifetime subscription for the two TiVos I own (which have user-added hard drives) and been reasonably happy with it.

        One problem, though, is schedule drift, where some movie off the satellite runs over the regularly scheduled time slot. The TiVo's feature of tacking on extra time to the

      • Last I checked (admittedly over a year ago) the unit was virtually worthless without a subscription.

        Which is why I, also, will not buy one. I don't want the subscription. I don't care about it. I just want to use it like a VCR - record when I want to, manually or via a schedule. Oh, and extract the MPEGs from my computer, but I'm happy with an end-user hack for that...
    • For what it's worth, TIVO has repeatedly promised that, should they go out of business, they will release ways to continue getting the channel information for free. ReplayTV hasn't made a promise like that, but I'm honestly not terribly worried about them if they're owned by D&M, who I doubt are going anywhere.
  • by steelerguy (172075) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @10:30AM (#5743653) Homepage
    Both Denon and Marantz make pretty high quality products and some nice higher end audio and video equipment. This looks a nice aquisition for them so they can expand their product line in a nice progressive way. They already make good DVD players and receivers, now they can add a media center device that will allow DVR capabilities and MP3 music libraries.

    I do have a feeling that they will somewhat support the Replay TV customers, but they will no do any additional development. My guess is they will come out with their own unit and offer Replay TV owners deep discounts if they trade in. They are not going to want to support someone else's service.
    • Erm, how is it someone elses service? They bought that "someone else" so it's THEIR service. The point here is that D&M don't HAVE to make their own service, because they bought someone elses service, so all that infrastructure work with channel guide updating, and so on, and hardware design, os customization,menu building, it's already done. Otherwise they would have just made their own from scratch.

      There is absolutely no reason to buy a company who's assets contain everything you need from top to b
  • I hope the ReplayTV stays around because it is as addictive as crack. I tried watching TV at a friends house and it was like going through withdrawl. I couldn't commercial skip and I was stuck watching whatever happened to be on at the time.

    I felt like a caveman stuck watching the same old rerun of "Fire".
  • Is anyone else hoping that they bring the Empeg [empeg.com] back to life? I bought the Mark IIa when SonicBlue shut down production for a mere 300 bucks and I can say that it's the greatest MP3 player on the planet. Its been several years since the player was released and there's still an active community that builds all kinds of crazy software for the stereo (partly due to the fact that it runs linux).

    later,
    ajay

    PS. And OGG support is coming soon!
  • by aerojad (594561) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @11:25AM (#5744002) Homepage Journal
    ...those usually are void once the company goes under. You basically have a lifetime guarentee as long as the company is around, which is why it only really means something when the company has been around a long time, like Sears for example.

    If the agreement is anything like that, the buyers of the assets can in theory say that since the original company is gone, they don't have to continue the service but they can offer them a new service, just like the old one, at a higher price.
  • If D&M are going to continue the Replay line, they would be crazy not honor Rio's lifetime subscriptions. Subscribers are assets.

    Not only do you get a chance to upgrade them to next model, the eyeballs themselves must have some value. Marketing departments are constantly trying to develop channels like these subscriptions, and they are willing to pay for them.

    It costs big $$$ to develop the guide data, but costs very little to distribute it more widely to these lifetime subscribers. By not honoring th
  • Does someone have a link to a story that explains why SonicBLue could not keep there heads above water? To me it looks like they had won the battle of getting their products (portable Mp3's and CD based Mp3's) on just above every available shelf of every willing retail shop (Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, etc.) Which considering a lot of high quality, sometimes obscure, sometimes better priced competitive products never even got in the door. And considering that most buyers do not want to go through th
  • Looks like the Bankruptcy case for Sonic Blue will be held in the Northern District of California Bankruptcy court. Judge Marilyn Morgan is hearing the case. Here is a link about the sale of Replay and Rio: Sale of Replay, Tues 15th April 2003 [uscourts.gov] ~Robert
  • Hi-fi elitism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theLOUDroom (556455) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @12:00PM (#5744212)
    I've already see a few posts on this topic that just made my stomach turn. Here's an example:

    D&M isn't high end. It's more of a high-end of the low-end. Rotel, Krell, Sunfir, Mark Levinson, anything with vaccum tubes and the list goes on are more towards the middle and hugh end of the audiophile spectrum. You know stuff where each mono-block amp costs more than the most expensive D&M box. Or when your system has a phono cartridge that costs 5-15,000 bucks, that's high-end. But me, I'm happy with my Denon AVR-3803


    Here's another one:
    Dude, you are probably not an audiophile. Denon and Marantz are related to the likes of Kenwood, Sony and Pioneer like a ferrari to a volkswagen. You probably also never heard of Quad or Nakamichi? heh ... now that's an audio system.


    I'm not an "audiophile" if by audiophile you mean "sucker." People who spend a ton of money on this stuff are buying some VERY overpriced equipment. Just because something is the most expensive in the world doesn't make it the best. And tubes? Yeah, you can make a good amp with tubes, but you can make just as good or better of and amp with transistors. (Guitar amps are a slightly different story.) Saying something has tubes, doesn't necessarily make it good.

    I've decided to stick to pro-audio gear for all new audio purchases. There's just something stupid about spending $200 on unbalanced phono cables, but "audiophilies" have no problem with that. Nor do they seem to have a problem with $1000 speaker cables, etc.

    If you're going to spend a ton of money on your audio system, I suggest you buy the same things a recording studio buys.

    Just to show you guys are being a pompus asses, here's a brochure from quad:
    here [iagamerica.com]
    check out those power amp specs: 108 db SNR

    Now lets go look at some pro gear:
    Check out the specs. page [crownaudio.com] for this Crown amplifier.
    SNR 120dB

    People "in the know" don't buy that ridiculously overpriced "high end" stuff, they buy pro grear. It performs wonderfully, takes abuse, and costs less.
    • Re:Hi-fi elitism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mkldev (219128) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @01:18PM (#5744728) Homepage
      Exactly. The definition of high-end depends on who you are.

      For average audio users, companies like Kenwood and Pioneer are seen as (relatively) high-end.

      For audio engineers and other people with discerning ears, Denon, Marantz, Nakamichi, etc. are seen as high-end.

      For the folks who blindly believe that they can hear the difference between 48 KHz and 96 KHz audio or between a $5 cable and a $1500 cable, there are plenty of even more expensive brands that are considered high-end....

      For people with good ears, Denon and Marantz are high-end. For the rest of you, there's Mastercard.

    • SNR on an amp is 100% worthless.

      What is the THD on all those items? hmmmm?

      I can give you a amp that has a 1000db SNR but it has a 100% THD.

      It's called a high-isolation relay.

      Signal to Noise Ratio is a worthless measurement.
      • SNR on an amp is 100% worthless.

        Way to be very authoritatively wrong. SNR is not worthless. THD is important, but so is SNR, so is RMS output, so are a lot of things. THD only describes nonlinear distortion. Here's a diagram for you to look at. [pcavtech.com] It will give you a better idea what all these specs measure. And if you want to know what the THDs for those amps are, I posted links to the damn specs, look at them!

        Your analogy is worthless. First off, there's no Signal on the other side of your relay..
  • by MarkLR (236125) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @01:04PM (#5744637)
    SonicBlue is the second company (at least) that Greg Ballard drove into bankrupcy. The first was 3DFX. I sense a trend forming.
    • SonicBlue is the second company (at least) that Greg Ballard drove into bankrupcy.

      I don't know the management details, obviously, but don't knock the CEO who turned off the lights. If he is in fact responsible for its demise, there's something to be said for sticking around to turn off the lights, and not jumping ship earlier. This leaves a blemish on his resume, you know.

      There are large doses of luck required to make a business successful, so don't bestow too much on the winners, or throw too many roc

  • by kEnder242 (262421) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @01:55PM (#5745044)
    Lets see if I got this right..

    S3
    Diamond/Rio/Replay
    SonicBlue
    D&M

    Did I miss any?
  • Check this link out [techtv.com]

    There is a cool open source streamer for converting your ReplayTV to work on your network and serve up all your media to your TV.

    Thanks to the good folks at DVArchive [sourceforge.net], we can all enjoy our pr0n and Divx collections from the couches in out living rooms!
  • Didn't everyone learn from the internet bubble that "lifetime subscription" has nothing at all to do with the lifetime of the user? It has everything to do, however, with the lifetime of the company...

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?

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