Originally Posted by JerryDelColliano
If you want to buy the "reserve" bottle of wine to enjoy the ABSOLUTE BEST a winemaker has to offer all it takes is money and a corkscrew. With music its an outright pain in the ass.
You left out the glass. Somehow I don't think a Chateau Margaux would taste the same out of cupped hands. But seriously, if you have the ear of the movers and shakers in this hi-end CE world, please let them know that there is a demand out there to be able to enjoy the best content in the best available formats. It's really distressing to me to see how poorly these vendors are doing in providing the best possible technology to their customers. The key points are pretty simple:
Provide systems that fully support at least 24-bit/96kHz and/or DSD data in at least 5.1 channels. This means including a data path and processing that does not compromise this data. There are A/V receivers from very reputable vendors that specify a dynamic range of 96dB, the theoretical maximum for 16-bit PCM data. It's my bet that they only work on the upper 16 bits of hi-rez data and toss the lower 8 bits. Today's 24-bit/192 kHz DACs and associated DSP's are only a few dollars more per channel over a 16-bit version.
Setting up these systems to support hi-rez, multichannel data should incur no additional difficulties. HDMI 1.3 can carry all content. Don't make the user add lots of extra wires.
Support storage, transfer and decoding/rendering of file formats that contain hi-rez, multichannel content. I had a chance to skim the reviews of several music servers in this month's The Absolute Sound while shopping this afternoon. None of these servers support multi-channel content. A few did support at least 24-bit/96kHz. There was one whose best supported file format was 328 kbps lossy compressed. iTrax and a few other sites now allow download of hi-rez content, but can't suggest systems to allow their easy storage and rendering (except Media Center PC's).
I almost forgot DRM. Either support for DRM needs to be included end-to-end (e.g. Plays for Sure), or there needs to be sites for legal download of content from the popular artists in lossless, non-DRM'd formats. There are alernative technologies such as watermarking that would allow easier detection of piracy.