Insider Reporter


Insider Report

news and views on broadcast and professional video/audio sectors, worldwide

w/e December 2, 2007 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2007

INDEX

Technology News | Industry News | Company News |
Product News | People in the News | Research News

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Digital TV growth forecast

Research published by Informa shows that nearly 54 million digital TV households will be added in 2007, bringing the global total to 239 million. The report forecasts that digital penetration of TV households will reach 22 per cent by year-end. The North American penetration rate will exceed 68 per cent, with Western Europe at 52 per cent. A further 52 million digital homes will be added to the total in 2008.

By 2012, 43 per cent of the world's TV homes will receive digital signals - or 504 million households. This indicates that digital growth will accelerate as the decade progresses, especially outside North America and Western Europe. More than 264 million digital homes will be added to the total between end-2007 and end-2012, which will more than double the total. China will be a major contributor to this increase by accounting for 60 million of the extra homes. Other significant rises will come in the US (39 million), Japan (20 million) and India (23 million). These four countries combined will account for 54 per cent of the additional digital households.

3G LTE: future of mobile broadband

Juniper Research predicts that subscriber numbers for 3G LTE (Long Term Evolution) will approach 24 million by 2012, just two years after the early versions of the technology are expected to be deployed.

The report highlights that LTE is expected to be the long-term successor in mobile broadband as it offers a migration path from existing 3G/HSPA technologies already in place. Juniper Research forecasts that, by 2010, LTE - the next generation of mobile broadband (after HSPA), should be going commercial and high definition could by then be a reality on devices.

However, the report warns that LTE needs to continually evolve to remain competitive in cost and performance versus the other leading mobile data technologies set to be foremost over the next five years. The report predicts that HSPA will dominate mobile broadband network deployments, consistently accounting for about 70 per cent of the total mobile broadband subscriber base until 2012.

Report author, Howard Wilcox says, "we expect 3GLTE to begin to achieve significant market traction towards the 2011 to 2012 timeframe. By 2012, for example, we forecast that 3GLTE will represent around 24 million subscribers globally. As the GSM Association has said recently, it is a natural follow-on from HSPA and will benefit from the extensive installed base of HSPA worldwide. Western Europe will account for over half of LTE subscribers in 2012."

Mobile Video Services to reach $1.62 billion in 2011.

Compelling content, multiple application types, social networking, mobile advertising and mobile broadcasting services are some of the developments that influence the mobile video services market.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, U.S. Mobile Video Services Markets, finds that premium revenues from mobile video content services estimates to reach $1.62 billion in 2011.

Interestingly, the U.S. is one of the few regions where competing multicasting technologies can be deployed. While QUALCOMM’s MediaFLO USA’s service is the sole commercial mobile video broadcasting service presently, mobile operators will partner with broadcasting service providers to surmount spectrum and network limitations.

As Sprint-Nextel offers one of the largest content catalog over CDMA2000 1xEVDO, other operators such as AT&T and Helio provide various content categories to set themselves apart. Participants that can improve end-user experience through high-quality mobile video broadcasting services will experience significant success.

“In the meantime, penetration of capable handsets is increasing at a rapid pace, and it is only a matter of time before consumers adopt some form of mobile video service,” says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Vikrant Gandhi. “The challenge then is to persuade the subscribers to try these services first – mobile operators are hopeful that the enhanced user experience will result in many subscribers continuing to use mobile video.”

A short trial period can significantly drive the uptake of mobile video services. Operators need to initiate aggressive awareness campaigns to communicate the value of mobile video.

Competitors will have to deal with the issues of high subscription charges. While the regular subscriptions are normally charged at $15 per month, premium channels cost extra, and these charges can easily push the monthly phone bills up by $20.

“Participants’ present focus is to offer innovative content and persuade more content providers to join the mobile video market,” observes Gandhi. “Both unicast and broadcast content will serve important roles within the ecosystem, and operators are likely to rely on their own networks for differentiation while common services continue being offered over broadcasting networks.”

As linear video and made-for-mobile video content are available to subscribers, the overall mobile video services market expects to expand rapidly. Leading U.S. off-deck mobile content providers have made available downloadable short mobile video clips for viewing on the handset. Other popular services in off-deck include mobile social networking services such as enabling the upload of videos to users’ online profiles.

Back to SCRI News Briefs Index



INDUSTRY NEWS

FCC cable regulation on hold

Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has backed down, for now, from his effort to expand regulatory control over the cable industry after failing to secure backing from fellow regulators.

The FCC had planned to vote on a report that found companies such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable had reached a large enough share of the US population to allow the government to impose new regulatory powers. The commission voted to approve the release of the report to Congress and the public without concluding that the 70/70 threshold had been reached, FCC spokesman David Fiske said. The agency will require cable operators to provide subscriber data within 60 days after the report appears in the Federal Register.

The cable industry fought hard against Martin’s 70/70 rule on market reach, whereby 70 per cent of US households have access to cable systems with 36 or more channels, and 70 per cent of those households subscribe. A measure cable companies regarded as a further step in his campaign to damage the sector due to its refusal to allow customers to pay for programming on a channel-by-channel basis

Hollywood Studios Sue Chinese Movie Site Jeboo

Five Hollywood movie studios have sued Jeboo, a Chinese service that offers what they say are unauthorized movie downloads through Internet cafes in China, as well as an individual Internet café that offered the service, Reuters reported, citing the state Xinhua news agency.

Beijing-based Jeboo, which offers nearly 30,000 movie and TV titles for download, claims that it library is "legally obtained," according to its website.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is coordinating the lawsuit, filed in the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate Court on Sept. 28, on behalf of member studios Fox, Disney, Paramount, Columbia and Universal.

The studios are seeking $432,000 in damages, or about $27,000 for each of 13 films cited in the complaint, which included "X-Men 2" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."

NFL Coverage on Mobile Phones

Sprint and the National Football League (NFL) are giving Sprint wireless subscribers access to live NFL game coverage on their mobile phones. Coverage will include red zone drives and other key moments of all games televised on NFL Network in 2007.

The coverage will be provided by NFL Network which will produce a three-hour studio-based show that will be streamed live on NFL.com and via wireless exclusively to Sprint subscribers. Highlights of that coverage include live game action when a team enters the red zone, during scheduled time slots at the :15 and :45 marks, and at other critical moments in a game. The show also features replays, in-game highlights and analysis from that night’s action, and the halftime show featuring host Rich Eisen and analysts Steve Mariucci, Marshall Faulk and Deion Sanders.

“Sprint continues to drive innovation with NFL fans,” said Steve Gaffney, Sprint’s director of sports sponsorships. “Fans tell us they want to have the ability to watch live NFL game broadcasts on their phones and we’re enabling them to do that.”

The live telecast of NFL Network is available to Sprint subscribers round the clock via NFL Mobile and Sprint TV. Unlimited access to NFL Mobile is available with any Sprint Power Vision pack at no additional cost. To access NFL Mobile, Sprint customers can text “NFL” to 7777.

More than 1 million Sprint customers have downloaded NFL Mobile, and NFL Network continues to be the most popular channel on Sprint TV. NFL Mobile delivers stats and scores, official play-by-play, video highlights and customizable text alerts to Sprint subscribers faster than any other carrier with information updated every 10 seconds on game days.

Back to SCRI News Briefs Index


COMPANY NEWS

XM-Sirius Merger Challenged

Consumer advocacy groups including the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and Free Press have urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reject the proposed merger of satellite radio providers XM and Sirius, saying the deal would eliminate competition and negatively impact consumers.

"The proposed XM-Sirius merger is not in the interest of American consumers," said Dr. Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America and lead author of the report.

"Leaving one company to monopolize the satellite radio industry would result in higher prices and fewer choices -- with no foreseeable public benefit."

The groups say the companies have not made a sufficient case that the FCC should end its explicit prohibition on mergers between satellite licensees.

They also argue that the deal will reduce the number of channels and formats available, resulting in fewer cost-saving incentives and a dramatic drop in spending on talent and retail.

The proposed $5 billion merger was recently approved by shareholders of both companies, and is currently under review by the FCC and the Justice Department.

Chinese Video-Sharing Site Youku Lands $25 Million

Youku.com, an online video-sharing website in China, has raised $25 million in a new round of financing led by Brookside Capital Partners, an investment fund affiliated with Bain Capital.

Officially launched in December 2006, Youku allows people to watch and share short-form videos.

The company currently delivers more than 80 million video views on a daily basis.

It also has provided interactive marketing services to advertising clients such as Dell, Samsung, Shanda, Ford Motors, Rising software, Hewlett Packard and Giant Interactive.

Google Developing Online File Storage Service

Google is working on a Web-based file storage service that would allow users to store all of their word-processing documents, music, video and photos on the company's servers, according to a recent WSJ report. The service, which could be released as early as a few months from now, would provide some storage space for free, and charge a fee for additional space.

Once uploaded, users would be able to access their files from various computers and mobile devices, as well as share them with others.

Google already offers consumers online storage of e-mail (Gmail), video (via YouTube), photos (Picasa Web Albums) and documents (Google Docs).

The company faces challenges with such a broad service that include "data privacy, copyright, the economics of adding storage capacity and the technical challenges of offering service without interruption," The Journal reports, noting that, "it is still possible that new developments could lead Google to shift tack or shelve plans for the storage offering in the coming months."

Back to SCRI News Briefs Index


PRODUCT NEWS

Autodesk announces Combustion 2008

Autodesk, Inc. has announced Autodesk Combustion 2008, the latest version of its desktop compositing and visual effects tool. Combustion offers digital media artists a node-based interface (like Shake's), non-destructive workflow and extensive toolset at US$995. That is reasonable compared with, say After Effects at US$999, but it also has to compete with Shake at US$499 and Motion. Even the upgrade price of US$199 is hard to justify on the basis of two new tools devolved from Autodesk's higher end tools: Color Warper (from Flame) and improvements to the schematic view.

The Color Warper in Combustions 2008 performs primary and selective color correction. It also allows for precise fine-tuning with multiple levels of adjustment in a single pass.

Autodesk anticipates that Combustion 2008 will be available in December 2007. The 2008 release will be supported on Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Frankly I'm surprised there's even another release of Combustion as it appeared to be abandoned by Autodesk.

Matsushita Introduces the P2HD Lineup

Matsushita Electric Industrial made a presentation on the main stage of its booth at Inter BEE 2007, emphasizing the signing of its contract entered in September this year for the worldwide official partner program with the Olympics for an 8-year period from 2009 to 2016. The program will cover the winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, the summer Olympics in London in 2012, the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in 2014, and the summer Olympics to be held in an undetermined location in 2016. Matsushita will provide video recording and transmission equipment, as well as AV recording media, and car multimedia equipment, including car navigation systems, and security AV equipment.

In the following presentation, Matsushita promoted the semiconductor memory card P2 series, which is the focus of their booth at this show. Since it was launched in 2004, it has continued to advance, accumulating results, such as growing use in the broadcast industry and use in the Athens Olympics. The furthest advances yet, the P2HD series tapeless transmission solutions, are being introduced in all areas of the booth at this show.

Matsushita announced prior to Inter BEE 2007 that as of the end of August, 610 broadcast stations around the world are using P2 solutions, and shipments exceed 60,000 units. Fox in the U.S. is taking large quantities of the high-definition P2HD, and MBC, the largest public broadcaster in Korea is using the P2HD series also. That is the first time that Matsushita’s transmission equipment has been used in Korea, an indication that the P2HD is spreading globally.

In the corner behind the stage, the P2HD Real Work Flow presentation uses panels to show steps from recording, editing, and transmission to archiving using the P2HD series. They show the P2 cam AJ-HPX2100 and the new P2 cam AJ-HPX3000G equipped with the AVC-Intra Codec for recording, the P2 mobile AJ-HPM100 for editing, the P2 deck AJ-HPS1500 and News OTC for transmission, and the Data Tape Library AJ-ZCM100 for archiving, appealing a complete work flow using the P2HD.

In an island in the center of the space, Matsushita displays P2 HD hybrid solutions, including the AJ-DHC27H 720P variable frame recorder for creating digital movies and commercials, the AJ-HPM100 P2 mobile recorder for HD and SD video, and the AJ-HDX900 universal 1080/720 HD camcorder.

Matsushita also introduces four P2 partners in one corner. They are AVID Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, Quantel eQ, and Apple Final Cut Pro.

The P2 Asset Support System is another P2 related item Matsushita shows in another corner. The company introduces support for the P2HD including a 5-year compensation/repair registration system, equipment management through the Internet, and update support.

In addition, Matsushita introduces all types of switchers for multiple HD/SD formats in the Multi Format Live Switcher corner.

NEC Demos VC-7300 encoder / decoder (H.264)

NEC is demonstrating the VC-7300 encoder and the VD-7300 decoder, which support High Profile@Level 4.0, a H264 coding format, at Inter BEE 2007, an international broadcasting equipment exhibition, in Makuhari. Both products use various coding technologies including a 2-pass coding algorithm that NEC has developed for terrestrial digital broadcasting coding. They help produce high-quality video at low bit rates and can be used flexibly for various applications including digital broadcast transmission.

Back to SCRI News Briefs Index


PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Dielectric Taps Les Kutasi to Expand Mobile Media Operations

Dielectric Communications, a division of SPX and a supplier of broadcast antenna systems, has promoted Les Kutasi to the role of Director, Mobile Media Business Development. In this position, he will oversee customer needs and business trends in the mobile media market and will help to foster new sales both domestically and internationally.

"This is an exciting time for me to lead Dielectric's mobile media team, with many new opportunities both in the States and abroad as companies explore new ways to reach their customer base. Domestically these customers will leverage the current mobile media spectrum, which is being auctioned in early 2008, and internationally similar frequencies are being set aside as announced at the World Radio Communications Conference in Geneva," said Kutasi. "Dielectric has developed a number of antenna and filter products specifically for the mobile media marketplace and is committed to responding to the needs of this market as it continually evolves."

Kutasi has 17 years of experience with Dielectric, giving him a comprehensive understanding of the business with roles ranging from production and project management to customer service and sales. He will oversee many of the company's key mobile media sales, including the current MediaFLO nationwide network, as well as the Hiwire installation in Las Vegas. Dielectric also has developed antennas and filters for the 1.7-GHz frequency, controlled by Telecom Ventures LLC, and has enrolled a number of businesses that are currently testing beta sites worldwide with Dielectric's equipment.

"The Dielectric engineering team worked hand in hand with our own engineering group to provide unique antenna and RF solutions that went above and beyond our expectations. They made significant contributions to our implementation, which combined multiple UHF frequencies to deliver 24 channels of mobile programming to consumers," said Hiwire President and COO Scott Wills. "We are very pleased with the responsiveness of the Dielectric team and its support throughout the process."

Back to SCRI News Briefs Index


RESEARCH NEWS

Big swings continue in the market for graphics add-in boards (AIBs)

What a difference a couple of quarters can make in the dynamic market for graphics add-in boards (AIBs). Q1’07 was downright ugly, not so much with respect to units but very much so in the context of revenue and ASPs. Volume was down just modestly, but ASPs and revenue (street) were way down, off 21.2% sequentially and a huge 39.8% year-to-year. Q2’07 showed an expected bounce back to respectability, with a modest year-over-year (YoY) increase in both units and market value.

But in this dynamic market, there’s not much in the way of status quo. Q1 saw that big swing down, and then Q2’07 saw moderation. Now Jon Peddie Research’s (JPR) Q3 results are in, and the firm reports another big swing, but this time a strong – and most welcome – swing to the upside.

Capitalizing on the momentum that ramped in Q2, with both Nvidia and AMD in various stages of product transitions to new graphics technologies, Q3 saw units increase an impressive 18.7% (YoY). But revenue was the real bright spot, increasing 33.0%.

Revenue outpacing units contradicts the typical trend we tend see in semiconductor-driven markets, where as products mature, ASPs moderate or drop, thereby driving up volume. But in the inverse case of Q3, JPR credits the larger gains in revenue to a volume shift up toward more lucrative price bands, as Nvidia in particular saw more demand for its latest generation of high-end Performance, Enthusiast and Workstation class product.

  • SD not HD Dominates Recording Formats
    According to SCRI's just published "2007 – 2009 HD / Digital Video Trends Report", recording formats are always a bell weather of trends in our industry. This year we see expected large penetration for SD format, but surprisingly no HD formats reached more than HDV (25.5%), despite the fact that HDV is a relatively new player in the market. HDCAM still has over 21% penetration, with DVCPRO HD slightly lower at about 17%. Neither reached the remaining penetration of Betacam SP (well over 50% of the market still has Betacam SP). Penetration of HDCAM has remained essentially constant since the last Survey. In SD products DV based recorders (DV, DVCPRO, DV CAM, and variants) are present in more than 80% of all facilities.

    The 2007 - 2009 HDTV / Digital Trends Report is now available. Data for the report was derived from extensive surveys of broadcast and professional video/film production/post facilities, worldwide.

    This years Summary includes very important data which shows that the industry will remain healthy and growing into the future. It shows support for existing standards, and some degree of skepticism about the uptake rates for some emerging technology. Above all it represents a snapshot of the changes which are shaping the hardware and programming in which we are all involved. The US economy has weathered recent storms well, with strong corporate profits. With an election year next year both production facility and broadcast station owners should do well, as is traditional in presidential election years.

    Summary data about the survey includes information on respondents, including Media and Video Functions, and Demographics. Approximately 1 out of eight respondents were associated with broadcast licensees, and six out of ten respondents were associated with production of film or commercial production facilities. A follow up question appears to identify most of the broadcast respondents as being related to ENG/EFP operations. 27% were associated with religious organizations, government, corporate facilities, or healthcare.

    This extensive 75 page report includes an Executive Summary, followed by an analysis, charts and tables of how the broadcast / professional video marketplace equipment end-users respond to questions on key trends -- click to view table of contents
  • NEW: 2007-2009 HDTV / Digital Trends Report This extensive 75 page report includes an Executive Summary, followed by an analysis, charts and tables of how the broadcast / professional video marketplace equipment endusers respond to the key HDTV / Digital Video Trends -- click to view table of contents

  • IPTV / Mobile TV Report: now available, 14 page Executive Summary and Analysis, with over 120 pages of articles and reports from online sources as well as SCRI Insider Reports. Cost is $995, or $695 for current SCRI Insider Report subscribers and clients. Contactdes_chas@scri.com for more info.

  • Broadcast/Pro Video Product Reports. Tracking purchase history (2006), purchase plans (2007 & 2008), brand shares, etc. for each of twenty five specific product types, from Camcorders to VTRs.

  • Broadcast/Pro Video Macro Industry Overview Report. Over 50 pages of analysis and information on the state-of-the-industry compiled from secondary online research sources including industry news sites, manufacturers sites, as well as SCRI's own weekly online News Briefs and Insider Reports.

  • Broadcast/Pro Video Micro Quantitative Product Data Report. 23-page report containing quantitative data tables, for all six verical end-user markets, and all of the 25 Product categories, as well as in total, with summary tables from 2002- 2008.

    Back to SCRI News Briefs Index