Insider Reporter


Insider Report

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

w/e December 23, 2007 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2007

INDEX

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

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Digital Age in its infancy says CEA

The electronics industry faces a bright future, according to Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and secretary of the World Electronics Forum.

"The main trends in the industry include big developments in the areas digitalisation, convergence, broadband, biometrics and nanotechnology," Shapiro said. "We are only in the infancy of the digital age."

According to Shapiro, The electronics industry fuels a big change and transformation in fields such as cable and satellite TV and content. "This industry makes the world a smaller place, and its jobs change lives, through teleworking and other practices. The consumption of electronics in the US is around $150 billion. The average American home has 25 electronic devices."

Shapiro estimated that every country will eventually move to digital TV. "This move is very important, as analogue TV uses a lot of spectrum compared to digital TV, and the move will free up a lot of spectrum, in a way that will contribute to future developments."

ITU releases global IPTV standards

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has confirmed the first set of global standards for IPTV. The standards were built with technical contributions from service providers and manufacturers from the information and communication technology sector.

The new standards were developed by the Focus Group on IPTV in ITU's telecommunication standardisation sector. Contained within the documents produced by the Focus Group are high-level architecture and frameworks needed by service providers to rollout IPTV services. Twenty-one documents covering IPTV requirements, architecture, quality of service, security, digital rights management, unicast and multicast, protocols, metadata, middleware and home networks will be submitted to the ITU-T Study Group charged with progressing and distributing the work.

ITU's next phase of IPTV work, IPTV-Global Standards Initiative, will centre on the speedy preparation of standards based on documents produced by FG IPTV and the detailed protocols required. The first meeting of IPTV-GSI will convene in Seoul from 15 to 22 January 2008.

IPTV equipment sales up 23% in Q3

After a 32 per cent jump in sales in the second quarter, worldwide IPTV equipment sales hit $682.5 million (E473.7m) in the third quarter of 2007, up 23 per cent sequentially, according to Infonetics Research’s quarterly IPTV report. Likewise, manufacturers of IP set-top boxes (STBs) saw revenue jump 35 per cent worldwide in Q3 from Q2

"IPTV, in its pure and hybrid forms, continues to grow steadily and is poised for bigger growth as operators clear regulatory hurdles, as MPEG-4 HD set-top boxes become more widely available, and as operators lock up exclusive broadcasting arrangements with professional sports leagues, movie studios, and international programmers. We expect the number of IPTV subscribers to continue growing steadily, reaching 65 million worldwide in 2010, " said Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for IPTV at Infonetics Research.

Growth in worldwide service provider revenue from IPTV services is expected to grow more than 10-fold in the 5 years between 2006 and 2010.

Broadcast Mobile Convergence Forum Defines Profile

International lobbying association the Broadcast Mobile Convergence Forum (bmcoforum) has finalised an implementation profile based on the Open Mobile Alliance Mobile Broadcast 1.0 Enabler, with the aim of to accelerating the launch of DVB-H based mobile TV.

This profile can be used in interoperability tests, pilots and timely deployments as early as 2008 of DVB-H based mobile TV services using OMA BCAST specifications. The profile covers areas such as delivery protocols, service guides as well as DRM and smartcard profile protection and purchase options.

The profile contains essential features needed for launching and developing commercial mobile TV services over DVB-H. The features selected by service providers and vendors are to ensure product implementations within the target time frame.

bmcoforum will maintain its DVB-H/IPDC and OMA BCAST profiles to ensure a proper evolution of Mobile TV services by adding more features as technology progresses.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Cable MSOs Face a Growing Bandwidth Crisis

Surging demand for high-definition TV, video on demand, time-shifting video services such as digital video recorders, and Internet video is rapidly depleting bandwidth reserves on cable networks and will force cable MSOs to upgrade their networks with new technologies aimed at conserving and reusing network bandwidth, according to a major new report from CMP's Light Reading.

Switched Digital Video & Cable's Looming Bandwidth Crisis explores the cable industry's bandwidth crisis, focusing on the emergence of switched digital video (SDV) technology as a solution to the cable bandwidth crunch. The 52-page report examines the cable industry's plans to test, refine, and deploy SDV technology as quickly as possible over the next two years. Based on direct interviews with the seven largest U.S. and Canadian cable operators and more than a dozen technology vendors, the report takes a close look at the early SDV trial and rollout strategies of leading North American MSOs and forecasts their progress through the end of 2009.

Leading cable MSOs profiled in this report include: Cablevision Systems, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Rogers Communications, and Time Warner Cable.

Cable technology suppliers analyzed in this report include: Arris Group, BigBand Networks, Casa Systems, C-COR, GoBackTV, Harmonic, LiquidxStream Systems, Motorola, RGB Networks, Scientific Atlanta (a subsidiary of Cisco Systems), Tandberg Television (a subsidiary of Ericsson), Teleste, and Vecima Networks.

"Cable network operators have come to realize that customer demand for bandwidth, which has been climbing faster and higher than anyone expected, will soon outstrip their ability to supply that bandwidth with technologies now in place," notes Alan Breznick, Senior Analyst with Heavy Reading and author of the report. "Competitive pressure from satellite network operators and telco IPTV providers will force cable MSOs to find solutions to their bandwidth problem sooner rather than later."

Cable operators are evaluating an array of new technologies to expand their overall radio frequency (RF) capacity and use existing bandwidth more efficiently, Breznick says. "Over the past year, SDV has emerged as the leading choice on this menu -- beating out such alternatives as fiber node segmentation, MPEG-4 video encoding, improved quadrature amplitude modulation, plant upgrades to 1GHz capacity, out-of-band spectrum overlays, and deep-fiber drops, among others," he says.

Although SDV is now a frontrunner in the MSO bandwidth efficiency race, its long-term success is far from certain, Breznick says. In addition to questions about technological complexity, the cost associated with deploying SDV on a wide scale may be higher than MSOs now anticipate, he warns: "At least one large North American cable company estimates the price tag to be as high as $32 per home passed, which is double the early estimates for SDV deployment."

Other key findings of Switched Digital Video & Cable's Looming Bandwidth Crisis include the following:

  • North American cable operators will roll out SDV in a big way in 2008, after several cautious years of lab tests, field trials, and limited pilot deployments. The two largest MSOs, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, both plan to introduce the technology in most, if not virtually all, of their markets by the end of 2008; while Cox and Charter, which have just started deploying SDV commercially, intend to expand to several more markets in 2008.
  • SDV will be deployed to the majority of North American cable households by the end of 2008. Based on interviews with the leading MSOs and equipment vendors, Heavy Reading expects SDV deployments to cover as much as 60 percent of the entire North American cable footprint by January 2009. This total could then rise to 75 percent or more by January 2010.
  • Early trial deployments of SDV confirm its bandwidth-saving potential. In market trials and pilot deployments, several North American MSOs report digital spectrum savings of close to 50 percent, just as they had hoped. Vendors report that some customers are already realizing bandwidth efficiencies of 60 percent or more in select cable systems.
  • SDV may well prove to be just a temporary solution to cable's bandwidth issue. While SDV will buy the industry time by freeing up some digital spectrum for other, more profitable uses, the technology won't actually create any new bandwidth for MSOs, particularly on the critical upstream side.
  • Cable operators will need to continue to pursue other technology options along with SDV to improve bandwidth efficiency in their networks. MSOs will likely have to combine SDV with a number of other techniques -- including reclamation of more analog channels, further node splits, MPEG-4 compression, 1GHz plant upgrades, and 3GHz spectrum overlays -- to create enough bandwidth for all of the HD, niche programming, and other new digital services they need to deliver to meet competitive threats from satellite and telco IPTV service providers.

    Cable losing out to satellite

    More American TV households are receiving video programming via an alternate delivery system (ADS) than ever before while MSOs’ penetration continued to fall, according to a TVB analysis of Nielsen Media Research data for November 2007. Fifteen DMAs (Designated Market Areas) are now majority-ADS markets, where more viewers are watching via satellite than over wired cable,.

    According to Nielsen NTI data, national ADS penetration reached 28 per cent of television households in November 2007, up from 24.5 per cent in November 2006, and now represents 31.6 per cent of subscription television customers (those paying for video delivery). Over the same period, national wired-cable penetration of television households fell from 62.1 per cent to 61.3 per cent — the last time wired cable was lower was in February 1990.

    Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) delivery, the largest component of ADS, is now estimated at 27.6 per cent of television households, up from 24.0 per cent in November

    India entertainment industry boosted by technology

    The Indian media and entertainment industry is set to grow at twice the rate of the country’s GDP in the coming few years, driven largely by the emergence of regional players, technology and digitisation. A combined Ernst & Young-Assocham study has highlighted that increasing digital content in the media and entertainment industry will lead to sweeping changes in consumption habits and revenue models.

    Changes in consumption habits along with regulatory pressures have led the country — the third-largest cable and satellite market in the world — to start migrating to digital platforms. Last year, digital music sales took over traditional physical sales of music for the first time in India. In the rest of Asia as well, digital sales are expected to surpass physical sales by end of 2007-08.

    The home entertainment segment is also set to grow significantly. Hollywood makes 78 per cent of its revenues from the home entertainment and television broadcast rights segment while in India, home entertainment accounts for less than 25 per cent of overall revenues from the entertainment business. But it is expected to grow significantly, with additional revenue streams such as video on demand emerging. Revenues from home entertainment, DVD and VCD viewing, digital pay television platforms and broadcasting rights are likely contribute up to 45 per cent of overall total revenues of films. In the television space, 29 per cent of an estimated 100 million pay television households are expected to migrate to digital platforms by 2010.

    Time Warner: 'Unlimited' HDTV Coming Soon

    Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt says the cable operator will soon be able to offer an "unlimited" amount of High-Definition programming. In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Britt says Time Warner Cable is installing a new technology that will expand its high-def capacity.

    While he didn't name the technology, Time Warner has been testing a new technology called Switched Digital Video that promises to offer more system space. "We are putting in technology where we will essentially be able to have unlimited High-Definition," Britt told the newspaper. "In the next several months, we're going to be adding them rapidly."

    "I'm a big believer in high-def, by the way," he added.

    Time Warner now offers roughly 30 high-def channels in most markets, but has previously stated that it will soon be able to match satcasters DIRECTV and EchoStar which offer dozens of HD networks.

    Britt did not name any new HD channels that Time Warner will add in the near future.

    However, he chided DIRECTV, suggesting that it's promoting HDTV channels that don't broadcast full-time in high-def.

    "I will admit they've done a wonderful job of marketing this," said Britt. "I would also say they are, if you look at the fine print, they are advertising a whole lot of channels that don't exist in High-Definition yet."

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    COMPANY NEWS

    SCRI Inks Deal With DRI in Japan

    SCRI Research International, publisher of this newsletter and the leading broadcast industry market research reports, has announced a distribution deal with Data Resources, Inc (DRI) in Japan for distribution of SCRI reports in Japan.

    DRI, with 2005 sales at 270 Million Yen, is an agency firm handling the worldwide information and intelligence, in the area of telecommunications, computer and electronics industries. Major clients include: Canon, Fujitsu Hitachi, KDD, NE,C Sony, NTT, Sumitomo, Toshiba, Panasonic, Oki, MRI, NRI, Mitsubishi.

    “This deal gives SCRI direct representation in Japan to support our growing list of Japanese based clients” said SCRI’s Research Director, Des Chaskelson.

    SCRI Reports are also distributed by several leading online publishers including: Thomson Financial, Profound, Dialog, MarkIntel, MarketResearch.com & Research & Markets.

    SCRI clients include equipment manufacturers, investment firms, trade magazines, trade associations, and other industry analysts including the US. Department of Commerce. To date, SCRI has served over 1,000 such clients , worldwide.

    Pace acquires Philips STB unit

    Philips Electronics has reached an agreement in principle to sell its Set-Top Boxes (STB) and Connectivity Solutions (CS) businesses to UK-based technology provider Pace Micro Technology.

    Philips will sell the businesses to Pace in exchange for 70 million Pace shares. Philips will retain 22.5 per cent of the enlarged share capital of Pace. The deal is classified as a 'reverse takeover' under the Listing Rules by virtue of its size and is conditional on the approval of Pace shareholders, the relevant regulatory authorities and Philips' workers council.

    IPTV Corporation with Arqiva

    IPTV Corporation has choosen Arqiva for DTH distribution giving IPTV Transatlantic fibre connectivity, uplinking to the UK, and access to the British Sky Broadcasting digital platform allowing the Company to operate as if it were a UK broadcaster.

    Arqiva is positioned as the major gateway to Europe for American broadcasters and allows IPTV to distribute its live and pre-recorded television programming from its offices in California directly to the UK

    Media General Reports November 2007 Revenues Down

    Heavily impacted by an $11.8 million reduction in Political revenues from last year, Media General, Inc. reported November 2007 total revenues of $80.3 million, a decrease of $11.5 million, or 12.5 percent, from November 2006.

    In the Broadcast Division, gross time sales decreased $8 million, or 18.3 percent, mostly due to the impact of lower Political spending in this off- election year.

    Local time sales increased $2.3 million, or 11.7 percent, primarily from higher spending in the automotive, grocery store and the services categories, partially offset by lower furniture store and telecommunications advertising.

    National time sales rose $1.6 million, or 14.3 percent, as a result of increased advertising in the automotive, telecommunications and financial categories.

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    PRODUCT NEWS

    High-Def DVD War to End In 2008

    The High-Definition DVD format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD will end in 2008. That's according to a forecast in a new report from Screen Digest.

    Screen Digest, however, doesn't predicts whether Blu-ray or HD DVD will ultimately succeed in the format battle. But it says that if another major studio endorses one format over another, it could be the decider.

    "It would only take one major player to shift allegiances to push the tipping point one way or another," says Screen Digest analyst Richard Cooper.

    The research company adds that content -- the availability of high-def discs -- will decide which format wins. As of now, four major studios support Blu-ray exclusively while two support HD DVD.

    "Hardware prices have been coming down all year," said Cooper. "It is now about what content is available, which will make the roles of the studios more important."

    Panasonic 32GB P2 Memory Cards Now Available

    Panasonic’s 32GB P2 solid-state memory card (model AJ-P2C032RG) for its P2 HD and P2 product line is now available at a suggested list price of $1,650. The reusable 32GB P2 card provides recording time greater than media for most tape-based and disc-based systems.

    On a single 32GB P2 card, professionals can record for 32 minutes in AVC-Intra 100 or DVCPRO HD, 40 minutes in AVC-Intra 100 in native 1080/24p, 80 minutes in AVC-Intra 100 or DVCPRO HD in native 720/24p, 64 minutes in DVCPRO50 and 128 minutes in DVCPRO.

    For an AJ-HPX3000 or an AJ-HPX2000 P2 HD camcorder, which have five P2 card slots, record times quintuple. For example, a user can record for up to 200 minutes of master-quality AVC-Intra 100 1080/24p video with a five-slot HPX3000.

    In addition to a 32GB P2 card, Panasonic also offers the AJ-P2C032RG 16GB P2 card at the suggested list price of $900.

    Panasonic’s P2 card is based on ultra-reliable, solid-state memory, consisting of four SD cards, like those now used in digital still cameras, packaged in a rugged, die-cast frame that weighs only 0.099 lbs (45 grams). This convenient card has four times the capacity and four times the transfer speed of a single SD card. The P2 card is reusable and connects instantly with P2 decks, drives, laptops and major non-linear editing systems to eliminate the time-consuming task of digitizing. These PCMCIA-based cards can be easily connected to laptops using ExpressCard technology with simple, highly affordable third-party adapters.

    The P2 card is resistant to impact (up to 1,500G), vibration (up to 15G), shock, dust and environmental extremes including temperature changes. It operates in temperatures from -4° to 176°F (-20 to 60°C), and can be stored in temperatures from -40° to 176°F (-40 to 80°C). Unlike tapes and discs, the P2 card has no rotating parts. The solid-state P2 memory card can transfer data at speeds up to 640Mbps to provide the professional user with fast, easy operation. Compared to tape or disc, P2 acquisition requires no media consumption, resulting in tremendous savings in media costs.

    The new 32GB card is fully compatible with the current 16GB P2 card, so users who’ve upgraded their P2 product(s) and computer system for 16GB operation are ready for 32GB operation. For P2 users who haven’t completed this upgrade, it is a requirement to take advantage of 32GB operation.

    Samsung Offers 1TB Hard Drive

    Samsung Electronics introduced the F1 series 1TB (terabyte) hard disk drive is shipping. Using only three disks, the new Serial ATA 3.5” F1 Series drives running at 7,200rpm are designed for enterprise environments, personal video recorders, desktop PCs and other external storage applications.

    The F1 Series incorporates a wide range of proprietary technologies to achieve increased performance and lower power consumption. The three-disk structure provides a higher data storage density per platter, resulting in faster data processing speeds when compared with other 1TB drives. The optimized electronics and power saving modes reduce power consumption and resulting heat dissipation. Under the same test conditions with similar drives, the F1 Series uses the lowest power, just an average of 6.7 watts in idle mode and an average of 7.2 watts in random seek mode. In addition, the drive operates at just 2.7 Bell in idle mode.

    In addition, Samsung’s award-winning SilentSeek technology reduces overall noise and vibration emanating from the drive, ensuring whisper-quiet operation.

    Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) with Samsung’s Flying on Demand (FOD) head technology improves recording stability over changing temperature ranges. By using three disks instead of five, Samsung’s 1TB drive offers higher reliability from the fewer components inside.

    The F1 Series drive features a 334GB per-platter capacity, a 7,200RPM spindle speed, a 32MB cache, and an MTBF of up to 1.2 million hours. The F1 Series offers high reliability for enterprise requirements and is optimized for RAID applications. It features a SATA 3Gb/s interface with native command queuing (NCQ) and many additional SATA features. Its performance is further enhanced through Samsung’s optimized firmware system, a rotational vibration (RV) sensor for vibration tolerance, and an optimized system-on-chip (SOC) controller that lowers power consumption.

    Samsung’s SpinPoint F1 Series is now shipping with a $399 MSRP.

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    PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

    Avid Appoints New CEO from outside the Industry

    Avid Technology announced that Gary Greenfield has been named chairman of the board and chief executive officer (CEO) effective immediately. Greenfield succeeds Nancy Hawthorne, who has served as interim CEO since August 1 and will assume the role of lead director on the company’s Board.

    Greenfield has been CEO of GXS since 2003, a leading worldwide provider of business-to-business integration, synchronization and collaboration solutions. Since December 2003, he has also been an operating partner with Francisco Partners, a leading technology-focused private equity firm.

    Previously, he served as CEO of Peregrine Systems where he managed the restructuring of their business; president and CEO of MERANT; and while CEO of INTERSOLV, they merged with Micro Focus to form MERANT. He has experience growing businesses both organically and through acquisition, managing development, marketing and operations, and serving diverse customers from small businesses to the Fortune 500.

    As part of Greenfield’s compensation package, Avid granted to him an option to purchase 725,000 shares of Avid’s common stock and issued 100,000 shares of restricted stock.

    Lisa Pistacchio, Avid's Corporate Public Relations Manager stated that: "While Gary does not hail from the Media Industry, the Board was seeking a technology industry veteran with a successful track record as a CEO with demonstrated skills in helping complex and multi-dimensional public companies achieve their goals. He also has experience growing businesses both organically and through acquisition; managing development, marketing and operations; and serving diverse customers from small businesses to the Fortune 500".

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    RESEARCH NEWS

    SCRI RESEARCH NEWS

  • 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.

    Mobile Media Market Potential Staggering, says Report

    A new report from Rider Research predicts that the market for entertainment content on mobile media devices such as Apple's iPhones and iPods will exceed that of content delivered over broadband to the home.

    The potential size of the market for entertainment videos and music on multimedia mobile phones and other portable devices is staggering. Several billion consumers worldwide are predicted within a few years to be carrying in their pocket or purse a handheld device that is capable of wirelessly receiving and playing video and audio entertainment.

    This new report describes the current state of information & entertainment content on mobile devices and shows how content will be delivered over high-speed wireless networks to millions of always-connected multimedia mobile phones such as the iPhone.

    Background:

  • Half the world's population -- 3.3 billion -- now has a mobile phone subscription
  • More multimedia mobile phones (300 million) will be sold in 2008 than TV sets, phones that can play audio and video as well as browse the Internet.
  • Nokia says 25% of entertainment on mobile devices will come from online communities by 2012.

    The rapid spread of broadband to homes caught many within the media and entertainment industry by surprise. Can they move quickly to fill consumers' seemingly unquenchable demand for entertainment?

    Most of the needed technology for high-speed Internet access is available now. The last remaining barrier is its deployment in portable devices and national networks.

    Mobile devices, with their smaller screens and their use where attention spans are shorter, will demand made-for-mobile content, such as mobisodes from the studios and ringtones from the record companies.

    Telco TV boom says new report

    The telco TV market is quickly adding new deployments and subscribers, which is boosting headend equipment sales as each deployment requires at least one headend, reports research firm In-Stat. Growth in the ranks of subscribers means more revenue from licence, service, and support fees for vendors of middleware, content protection, and on-demand platforms, the high-tech market, according to In-Stat’s study - Telco TV Headends Moving to the Upgrade Phase.

    "As more headends are built, the market for broadcast TV content-processing equipment will turn from newly built headends to headend upgrades," says Michelle Abraham, In-Stat analyst. "Many of these upgrades will be the addition or replacement of encoding equipment as more channels are added and encoding technology improves. The launch of new HD channels will be a driving factor for additional encoding equipment."

    In-Stat findings suggest that the worldwide telco TV headend market will reach $732 million in 2011; broadcast content processing equipment revenue will stagnate, while middleware, content protection, and on-demand content will continue to Rise; a video-on-demand (VOD) service has become a requirement for many telcos when they deploy telco TV, which has improved the market for on-demand equipment vendors.

    STB manufacturers respond to increasing risks

    The status of the STB (Set-Top Box) within pay-TV households faces significant risk from the development of two-way, digital-cable–ready TVs, media centres, and residential gateways, among others. STB manufacturers are responding in several ways according to ABI Research,

    "In recent times, Comcast created a residential network gateway project, which ultimately will act as a convergence device for cable modems, digital cable receivers, and DVRs," says ABI Research analyst Paulhwa Lee. "The residential network gateway device may even include placeshifting."

    STB manufacturers are adding new features, such as increased hard-disk space, DVD players, DVD burners, and home-audio solutions, which will better align STB functionality with consumer demands. Manufacturers also are attempting to improve electronic programme guides and to incorporate more video gaming and Web-based services.

    "STB vendors are moving aggressively into the hybrid STB market," continues Lee. "Hybrid STBs offer a single solution to numerous possible problems caused by the multiplicity of video sources, video formats, and distribution platforms."

    ABI Research forecasts that revenue from standard STB sales will decline in the period from 2008 to 2012; STB vendors initially will rely on growing markets for DBS (Digital Broadcast Satellite), IPTV (IP Television), and DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) STBs. But according to a recent report from ABI Research, by 2010 even those sectors will be under pressure from alternative technologies introduced to facilitate ‘the connected home’; vendors must include new features and functions to revive flagging shipment numbers.

    "No one video or television technology will be a ‘killer’ in the next few years," Lee expounds, "so as this market flattens in 2012, STB vendors should incorporate as many of those technologies as possible."

    2008 will be the year of Web TV in the UK

    Research conducted by Nielsen Online revealed almost 21 million Britons visited a TV, video or movie-related website in September 2007 - a 28 per cent increase in visitors on the previous year. Internet TV services are available to the 12 million UK households with a broadband connection. Worldwide, that figures rises to more than 300 million.

    In addition, 2007 saw a plethora of businesses entering the space, hoping to capitalise on the growing consumer trend, but while not all of them will survive, Babelgum CEO, Valerio Zingarelli, believes "the intense competition can only lead to greater innovation and a substantial increase in service quality for viewers, and we’re certainly expecting more new entrants to arrive in 2008."

    He continues, "Broadcasters worried about Web television should realise Internet TV is not trying to replace traditional TV, but is merely giving increasingly savvy viewers greater control and choice. It is this greater control, and choice, which will see Internet TV take its place as a conventional platform alongside broadcast TV in 2008 and beyond."

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