This could of course leave the consumer with another format dilemma and the confusing scenario of choosing from three different discs when shopping for the latest release. However, a repeat of the format wars of the past should be avoided, as it is mainly a matter of adding extra chips to allow one machine to play another format, and many machines will be able to play both new formats as well as normal CDs.
This machine does the lot. It's a DVD-Audio/DVD-Video player but it can also play CDs and SACDs. DVD-Audio belongs to the same family as DVD-Video, and it is likely that movie players which also play the new audio discs will soon become available. Aside from offering better sound quality than CD, DVD-Audio has the advantage of interactive features such as album notes, lyrics, biographies and artist photographs which can be viewed on a TV screen. Pioneer DV-AX10 DVD-Audio/DVD-Video player, pounds 3,500, available from May 2000. For stockists call 01753 789500.
Sony's initial SACD players will be aimed at the top end of the audiophile market, but it has plans for cheaper machines and will ensure that its DVD products will also be SACD-compatible. Other manufacturers also have plans in the pipeline for universal players. As a successor to CD, SACD uses superior recording technology which captures the original sound source in all its glory - Sony claims sound reproduction is "infinitesimally" close to the original. Some SACD discs can be played on standard CD players. Sony SCD-777ES Super Audio CD player, pounds 1,700. For information and stockists call 0990 111999. n