DVD Audio Watermarking Update 
Home Theater News Music - Technology News
Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Thursday, 14 September 2000

Bob Stuart, co-founder of Meridian and developer of Meridian Lossless Packing which makes high resolution 5.1, 70 minute albums fit on DVD-Audio discs, commented in an interview at last week's CEDIA Expo in Indianapolis that the DVD Watermarking issue isn't as bad, sonically, as everyone is making it out to be. Stuart acknowledges that the watermarking is the last hurdle to the exciting new technology, however he noted that the watermarking is somewhat misunderstood. According to Stuart, watermarking can be intermittently placed in a music playback source specifically at more dynamic sections where the ill effects of the watermarking are less obvious. Watermarking can also be placed in the silence between tracks.

Critics to the current watermarking method say it degrades the integrity of the music. Few argue that point. Bob Stuart notes that the watermarking is optional and can be placed at will by the artist or producer where they see fit. He went on to say that the watermarking will likely not have as much effect on pop music as it will on more delicate classical recordings.

The big issue is that if Working Group Four is sent back to the drawing board it may take as long as a year to come up with a more effective way to watermark DVD-Audio. DVD-Audio machines are currently in stores and record companies have quietly been mastering big name titles (Michael Jackson's Thriller for example) for pre-Christmas release. Missing that opportunity could be costly. With all of the controversy over copyright protection from Napster to DVD-Audio, it is safe to say that there will be some sort of protection on the DVD-Audio disc. It is yet to be decided if they are going to use the current Verance system or create a new one.

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