Pioneer connects amps to computers

Audio-visual manufacturer, Pioneer, has unveiled a new high-end, multi-channel, digital amplifier that features the ability to play Windows Media 9 files streamed from a personal computer. This is the first product to offer such a feature, according to Pioneer.

The amplifier, the VSA-AX10Ai-N, can play back Windows Media 9 Professional-encoded files when connected to a personal computer using the Sony/Philips Digital Interface (S/PDIF), according to the statement. This is a digital interface format that can be used to stream digital audio data between two supporting devices without the usual conversion to analog. This means no data is lost in conversion and also copy-protection information is not discarded.

Connectors supporting the system can be found on some personal computers and many mid- to high-end audio visual devices.

In addition to Windows Media 9 Professional, the 200-watts-per-channel amplifier also supports phase change modulation (PCM), Dolby Digital, DTS and MPEG2 AAC digital audio and conventional analog signals.

The company took the wraps off the device at the Ceatec Japan 2003 show, which took place near Tokyo last week.

It plans to put it on sale in Japan in November for $6680.

The unit will be available in North America as the VSX-59TXi receiver model in January 2004, according to a statement from Microsoft.

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