October 28th 2005
News from Sonys Super Audio CD Business Centre in Japan indicates that the format continues to grow and attract new supporters. Analysts highlight a global trend linking increased demand for SA-CD compatible players with people investing in HD ready home theatre systems. Super Audio CD is established as the hi-res package medium in the HiFi audio market, commented Yushi Igarashi, Project Manager, Sony Audio Groups Super Audio CD Project. There are over 10 million players in circulation worldwide and the rapid growth in home theatre systems sales is the single largest factor boosting hardware sales.
There are more than 30 manufacturers worldwide developing Super Audio CD playback capabilities in their consumer equipment. In total there are over 150 different models offering the broadest range of price points and model types from HiFi components to combination DVD-Video players, home theatre systems and a new generation of Integrated Digital Televisions. The launch next year of Sonys PlayStation 3, complete with Super Audio CD playback capabilities, is predicted to create another boost in Super Audio CD sales. Market growth estimates indicate that Super Audio CD hardware sales are increasing at their fastest rate ever since the formats introduction in 1999. Equipment manufacturers include a strong combination of AV brands, such as Philips, Pioneer, Sharp, Denon, Yamaha and Onkyo as well as leading audiophile developers, including Accuphase, Linn, Classe, Esoteric, dCS and EMM.
On the software side growth in Super Audio CD releases remains strong with an average of 250 new albums being released each quarter since September 2003. At the end of September 2005 there were 3,288 Super Audio CD titles listed on leading website www.sa-cd.net. The biggest contributor to new Super Audio CD releases is the independent sector with record labels such as Telarc (137), Pentatone (84) and Octavia (84) supporting large and growing Super Audio CD catalogues. Also, the multinationals reflect this growth with SonyBMG (663), UMG (451) and EMI (72) looking to develop their hi-res catalogues.
2004 saw more than 1000 new album titles released on SA-CD and at the same time replication volumes continue to grow, year on year. Growth has been strongest in the jazz and classical sectors, which together account for 63 per cent of all SA-CD releases as well as being the strongest sector in hardware sales. Jazz and classical music lovers have been the first to recognise and appreciate the added value that Super Audio CD offers to their home listening, explained Yushi Igarashi. Traditionally, these two sectors represent some of the most discerning consumers and they have recognised the long-term potential that Super Audio CD offers, particularly in a High Definition home entertainment environment. As we progress further into the HD era we are confident that Super
Audio CD will become a cornerstone in home entertainment the audio equivalent of HDTV.