I was wondering if anyone had heard of Microsoft's long-term plans for the\nHDCD music decoding technology that they purchased from Pacific Microsonics\n(PMI), in September 2000. Right now, it is an obscure feature of Windows\nMedia Player versions 9 and 10. Like most people, I didn't pay any attention\nto HDCD because it has been poorly marketed, and is easily confused with\nother technologies like SACD and DVD-audio. But I recently expereinced what\nthis technolgy is cabale of, and I was blown away! Finally, CD music playback\nthat sounds rich, alive, and REAL. Allow me to give a short\ndefinition/history lesson on HDCD:\n\nThe HDCD (High Definition Compatible DigitalÂ®) technology makes it possible\nto get closer to the original sound. This is facilitated through a\nsophisticated system, where a 20 - 24 bit sound signal is encoded onto an\nordinary CDâ€™s 16 bits through dithering. When played on a Windows XP PC with\nMedia Player version 9/10 AND a 24-bit sound card, the sound signal is then\ndecoded again to 20-24 bits. The encoding process allows an extra 6 dB\navailable (7 dB extra at low level), which gives noticeably reduced\ndistortion levels and an extra enhanced resolution. All parameters of the\nsound image are enhanced, resulting in an all-improved sound! A dynamic range\nof up to 115 dB can be obtained.\nThe creators of the HDCD technology are Keith O. Johnson and Pflash\nPflaumer. Together they developed the idea of HDCD between 1986 and 1991. In\n1996 they started Pacific Microsonics (PMI), an audio technology company\nbased in California. In September 2000, (PMI) was acquired by Microsoft.\n\nThis is a great technology! It deserves to be continued, and I think\nMicrosoft can play a big role. The stand-alone CD players with HDCD\ncaplalbity are almost non-existent. Media player with HDCD software may be\nthe best option at this point. If any one cares to comment on this, I would\nlove to hear from you. Thanks!