Are SACD & DVD-Audio already kaput? Are HD DVD & Blu-ray similarly doomed?

Audiophile poll on Stereophile.com website says its all over for the two high-resolution formats.

Neil Young's latest release is available on DVD-A.

It's safe to say most, I mean like 99 percent, of music buyers don't give a hoot about sound quality. Why else would CD sales continue to plummet and worse than CD quality downloads go up every year?

OK, that's the mainstream, what about the other 1 percent; why have the audiophiles, according to a poll on the Stereophile website, already given up on SACD and DVD-Audio? Before I cite their feedback I'd like to point out that despite the naysayers, the super sound formats are still hanging on. Neil Young's latest release, "Chrome Dreams II" just came out on DVD-A, because he still cares about the sound of his music. You can still buy Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" on SACD, and it really is one of the best sounding remasters of all time. Amazon currently lists 3,436 SACDs and 3,303 DVD-As, so anyone interested in checking out high-rez audio can do so. Audiophile labels like Telarc and Chesky Records are still putting out SACDs all the time.

Ah, but Amazon currently offers just 596 Blu-ray titles and 687 HD DVDs. Gee, I would have thought the tens of millions of people with HDTVs would have gobbled up high-rez discs by the boatload by now. Aren't Blu-ray and HD DVD supposed to be the up and coming video stars?

Ray Charles on this recently released SACD. Telarc

Back to audio: thirty eight percent of Stereophile's readers believe SACD and DVD-Audio are "dead," and 23% more think the formats are "mortally wounded." Only 3% claim they're "alive and kicking." Wow, that's pretty bleak. But one guy wrote "I own about 900 SACDs. In Japan everything high-quality in Jazz, and/or classical music is issued in DSD/SACD/CD. There are stores exclusively dedicated to the format. DVD-A's pretty much dead." Somebody chimed in with the hope that SACD and DVD-A "May get resurrected via Dolby TrueHD if Blu-Ray and HD-DVD don't kill each other first." And I think another guy hit the nail on the head with, "The market has voted in favor of convenience over quality. Consumers are unwilling to purchase new hardware and make complex new connections for the sake of quality. . . But, as high speed broadband connectivity becomes more commonplace, all digital content will be distributed over the web. All physical media, including HD-DVD and Blu-ray, will become obsolete." Gee, I think, gulp, he's right.

 

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