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Hi-res music: ‘The barrier is the understanding of the value of the proposition’

Major labels are very excited about upping the audio quality of music-streaming services, under the banner of ‘hi-res music’.

Audio hardware firms are excited too, while some streaming services (Tidal, Deezer and dedicated services like Qobuz for example) have adopted the technology.

And music fans? That’s the challenge: as yet there isn’t an obvious surge in demand for higher-quality streams from actual listeners.

That’s why the most popular subscription-streaming services, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music / Music Unlimited, haven’t leapt aboard the hi-res bandwagon yet. So what might it take to get that bandwagon rolling even faster?

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LG launches Hub Robot to compete with Amazon Echo

The two key trends at the CES tech show this year appear to be Amazon putting its Alexa voice assistant in other companies’ devices; and other companies launching their own Echo-style smart speakers.

Falling into both of those camps, LG unveiled a device called the Hub Robot, which will go on sale later this year as a competitor to the Echo and Google Home. LG is describing it unwieldily as “a home robot that doubles as a smart home gateway and intelligent home notification centre”.

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Turntables are hot at CES 2016 with Technics and Sony

The vinyl revival has already seen turntables back on sale in mass-market retailers like Tesco in the UK, and the devices are also making headlines at this week’s CES show in Las Vegas.

Vinyl-heads are understandably excited about Panasonic’s decision to revive its Technics SL-1200 turntable in 2016: it has showed off two new models: the limited-edition SL-1200GAE and the regular SL-1200G, which will both go on sale this year.