FLAC-musicWant to take full advantage of your home theater system’s audio capabilities? Pick up some of the latest blockbusters on Blu-ray, purchase a game or two for your connected game system, and don’t forget the tunes! CDs and MP3s are great, but if you want to hear music the way it was meant to be heard, you have to check out the newest in music technology: FLAC.

FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec. The name may remind you of an insurance company, but it’s actually a way for you to listen to digital music of the same quality as music on a CD. FLAC compresses music without losing any information, reducing the file size by 50% to 60%. FLAC provides royalty-free licensing, and supports metadata tagging and album cover art – perfect for a home theater system or automated home touch screens.

There are two ways to get FLACs (legally, of course!) – ripping them from your own CDs or downloading them. There are several independent online stores that sell this new digital format. Here are a few of the best.

HDTracks – HDTracks has one of the most comprehensive libraries of FLAC songs on the market. HDTracks has a great selection of music from a variety of artists, from casino online big names like R.E.M. and KISS to indie artists like Tori Amos and Mumford & Sons. The store highlights dozens of labels for musical genres – pop, R&B, classical, jazz and many more. Albums range from $12 to $17, and many tracks are available in HD.

Beggars Group – This online label began as a single label called Beggars Banquet, but has expanded to its current name, offering selections from a collection of labels featuring ‘80s and ‘90s groups, as well as current alternative and independent artists. Although Beggars Group doesn’t offer HD, the price of albums is around $10, making it an affordable way to relive your old favorites and find some new, unknown artists.

Bandcamp – Years ago, artists had to be signed to a label before they could distribute their music to the masses. Now, all they need is a website. For artists who can’t afford their own site, Bandcamp offers a home to sell and host their albums. Bandcamp is a repository for unsigned and unknown artists, as well as many independent artists who prefer to have their music available through digital formats. Bandcamp lets you find your next favorite band through a new music discovery feature. Albums run between $9 and $10, with some limited HD availability.

Head over to one of these great sites to find out what FLAC is all about – right after you call HTS for a home theater system estimate!