SACD Heads for the Mass Market
One of the problems SACD faces is a lack of support in the consumer electronics industry. Previously only Sony, Philips and its higher end company Marantz and Pioneer had committed to the format. But at CES, Philips said it is supplying SACD technology to a number of manufacturers in the industry who are introducing product this year, including Krell, Audioscript, Cyris, Rega and other small, higher end companies. Support for this format will be an important issue, given the fact that the high-quality, multichannel DVD-Audio format is being supported and manufactured by so many major CE companies in the marketplace, including Panasonic, JVC and Kenwood, as well as smaller but still important audio companies such as Onkyo, Denon, B&K and others.
It may boil down to title availability. In that game, SACD has the edge, with well over 200 titles available at the end of 2000 and hundreds more planned for 2001. DVD-A has under 100 titles, although more are expected this year from labels such as Universal, Silverline and Immergent.
Sony Music itself has plans for several SACD releases from artist Harry Connick, Jr., Billy Joel and Tony Bennett. Sony also projects that in the first quarter of 2001 a number of labels will begin offering multichannel music, for 5.1 systems, in the SACD market. Virgin Records is one of the larger and first labels to do it with the release Tubular Bells, a title that was originally a four-track title for quadraphonic systems.