Just recently I came across some news that the independent record label, Reference Recordings, is planning to sell their music in high resolution audio formats. This isn't some revolutionary new audio format, even though some blogs seem to be presenting it as such. Nevertheless, I think this is good news for people that want to listen to high resolution audio. Basically, they are planning to copy their music to DVD-R discs and sell them to people who will load them in their DVD drives and copy them onto their computer or media servers for playback with their computer. Obviously, you don't have to copy them off of the DVD-R disc to play the music, but most probably will copy them to their music library because of the convenience. It seems like the people at Reference Recordings are another group who understand the advantages of using a PC for playing music.
They are calling these recordings HRx recordings. Hopefully this won't confuse people into thinking there is a new format war that will require some new specialized player like DVD-Audio or SACD. Don't worry, it's not. They are just copying the digital masters, which are 24bit/176.4KHz .WAV files to DVD recordable discs. These DVDs can be read by any PC's DVD drive. You won't be able to play these files using your CD or DVD stand-alone players. Reference Recordings’ legendary audio designer and engineer “Prof.” Keith O. Johnson, who co-developed the HDCD process and has received seven Grammy nominations for Best Engineered Album, stated that the files allow people to hear for the first time all the information on their universally praised master recordings.
I'm not sure when they are going to start selling these discs. There's no information on their website about this. I've also read that this is just an interim solution until they can offer these files as downloads from their online store. Hopefully, they will use lossless encoding to help reduce file sizes and speed up downloads.