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70Isea& iIWINTER 2010 Technology marches at an alarming rate and, being one of the few systems that the yacht owner has a hands- on relationship with, entertainment equipment is very much in the firing line when it comes to talking about the latest and greatest. Paul Rose from Icon Connect looks at some of the leading options available, and offers advice on the best strategy to avoid getting burnt by future advances THE BIG FIVE audiovisual

interiors Audio The biggest advance in audio has been the emergence of the personal music player, or iPod. While we are not here to promote the products of any one manufacturer, it is a fact that this little device has revolutionised the way people collect, store, access and listen to music. With the early iPods, limited storage capacity dictated that the music files required compression ( MP3) to store an acceptable number of songs, and this resulted in a significant reduction in quality. But today, with drives up to 160 gigabytes ( GB), minimal data is lost during compression and thus the iPod is now the de facto jukebox system of choice. iPod docking stations can frequently be found in every cabin of a yacht, but servers can also exist in a centralised area, allowing guests to access a single music library from anywhere on the yacht. This is ideal in a charter environment. Video High definition ( HD) video may be the single most significant development in audiovisuals in the last ten years, not just because it provides enhanced picture quality, but because it has driven the transport of video to an all- digital platform and, with it, given the opportunity for content providers to rewrite the rule book on copyright protection. Enter High- Definition Multimedia Interface ( HDMI) and High- bandwidth Digital Content Protection ( HDCP). These innocent acronyms have turned the world of multi- room audio- video distribution upside down. For the yacht owner it's simple: if I can get HD television in my home, I want it on my yacht. Media- on- demand systems have been with us for a while, but there is still much confusion surrounding this concept. Current systems provide the means to store a DVD library on a central hard- disc drive server, which then gives the entire yacht access to the library. Fortunately, from a legal standpoint this has been accepted as fair use of the material by way of a back- up copy of a legitimately owned DVD. The emergence of Blu- ray as the disc format of choice for high- definition content brings with it some challenges. Firstly, due to the huge amounts of data stored per Blu- ray disc ( up to 50GB) the space required for server storage has increased considerably. Therefore you would need four or five servers ? WINTER 2010I sea& iI71 Above: screen entertainment goes alfresco on board Xanadu