Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale will hit theaters a little over two weeks from today. While the movie based on popular Japanese anime Sword Art Online is being eagerly awaited, companies are taking advantage of the large SAO fan base to promote their products by including them in the feature.
Sony, a huge Japanese conglomerate, has managed to secure a product tie-in with Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale. Sony Corporation, the parent company to Aniplex, one of the core companies involved in the production and distribution of the SAO movie, has managed to showcase its very high-end headphones.
Many companies including BOSE, Sennheiser, Shure, Beyerdynamic, Beats, and others that make headphones and headsets for audio players, studios, and smartphone users who demand lossless audio of the highest purity, have been trying to push the latest High-Resolution Audio or HRA. The new standard for music essentially demands audio playback equipment which assures audio files are rendered at 96 kHz or 192 kHz with 24-bit resolution.
Also known as Hi-Fi Audio, the music files encoded on this standard is supposed to be far better than the ones offered by digital music download sites like Amazon and iTunes, and streaming platforms like Spotify. These services usually compress the music files with relatively low bitrates. While iTunes offers music that is compressed at 256 kbps, Spotify offers music at 320 kbps. Needless to say, iTunes’ AAC or the MP3s from Spotify are audibly discernable from the Hi-Res audio. This is because compression equals data loss, which in turn means degradation of quality.
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Hi-Res audio is supposed to cater to the hardest of the hardcore audiophiles that want utmost music fidelity with minimum to none audio compression, which is also referred as lossless audio. However, many experts argue that very few music aficionados can actually hear the difference between a properly mastered CD and a Hi-Res Audio file.
Nonetheless, Sony is appealing to fans of Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale and moviegoers in general to consider their latest audio products which support Hi-Res audio, reported Crunchyroll. In the case of the SAO movie product tie-in, Sony is promoting its h.ear on™ Wireless NC MDR-100ABN Cinnabar Red headphones and MDR-1000X Beige headphones. Some of these headphones are seen in the promotional video. The headphones are worn by the leading characters of Sword Art Online. The products simultaneously support Hi-Res Audio over Bluetooth, NFC, and wired connections.
Will Sword Art Online fans buy these Hi-Res audio headphones from Sony?
It is not clear why Sony chose to promote its ultra-high-end headphones in a movie that’s based on a Japanese anime. Although the SAO movie is expected to be a huge hit as the series is quite popular not just in Japan, but also in Western countries, but a large majority of moviegoers may not splurge on these expensive headphones. The h.ear on headphones featured in the movie start at $300 (34,880 Yen), while the MDR-1000X headphones are even costlier. These headphones feature active noise-cancelling features, and hence, retail at $399.99 (45,339 Yen).
Although it is difficult to say if the in-movie promotion of high-end audio products will increase their sales, but the promotion sure looks great owing to the seamless integration within the movie.
Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale is set in the year 2026, which isn’t that far into the future. However, the movie claims there has been significant development in the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies, which are predominantly used for gaming.
[Featured Image by Reki Kawahara/Sword Art Online]