Two new audio formats are vying to be “the next CD”. However, in a questionable move for formats trying to replace a ubiquitous and already-pretty-great format, neither offer any benefits for average consumers.
Super Audio CD (SACD) and DVD-Audio are, in theory, a nice improvement over CDs. Both support 5.1 channel surround as well as 2 channel stereo, and offer a much higher dynamic range and significantly more accurate sound than CDs.
However, any potentially-noticable quality benefits are offset by the lack of digital outputs on players. Because of this, early adopters — audiophiles — aren’t buying. High-end audio dealers aren’t selling, either, until the industry delivers players that can play both formats as well as “legacy” CDs at the highest quality. Both formats are copy-protected, but (ironically) it’s trivial to record via the players’ analog outs, if a little more inconvenient.
Will average consumers ever actively want SACD and DVD-Audio? I don’t think so — CDs are good enough, and people really the ability to make their own compilations, etc. Can the industry force these new formats on us? Long term, probably. But expect the transition from CD to take 10 years. Link