The Server Revolution
The use of music servers rather than CD/DVD transports was a common occurrence among high-end manufacturers at the Venetian exhibits. By using servers, they can store high resolution, loss-less files that are far superior to standard CDs, which are limited to 16bits.
TAD, a division of Pioneer Electronics, was using a server to demonstrate their Reference One speakers and a new 2-way compact model based on the Reference One's. This 2-way speaker (see picture) should be available later this year. Price is TBA.
At Meridian, the latest new model, DSP 7200, of their famed digital speakers series, provides an RJ-45 connection for use with digital servers. The Cat 5 cable can run audio and medadata, making it possible to send balanced audio directly to the speakers from the server. While this is the first product to have this connection, its a feature Meridian will be systematically adding it to new models going forward.