Insider Reporter


Insider Report

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

w/e Feb 1, 2009 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2008

INDEX

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

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Post-Production Players in Focus at NAB '09

David Helfand, an Emmy-winning editor, and Michael Tronick, editor of "Hairspray" and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith", will speak during the Post|Production World Conference at the 2009 NAB Show in Las Vegas. NAB Show organizers also announced that Avid Technology, an international leader in media creation tools, will return to this year's NAB Show exhibit floor. The NAB Show will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from April 18-23.

The Post|Production World Conference, now in its sixth year, will span five days and offer more than 200 sessions of advanced training, providing real-world insight into creating dynamic video and film content. Tracks this year include Avid Editing, Final Cut Studio Editing, Digital Video Production, Adobe Production Premium, and New Media 2.0, among others. New to this year's conference is a line-up of specialized sessions focusing on editing techniques for news, sports and technologies for worship. David Helfand, who has edited an array of popular TV shows including Showtime's "Weeds" and NBC's "Friends," and Michael Tronick, whose resume includes editing credits for "Hairspray" and "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," will speak during the conference.

Latest HDTV Research from In-Stat

The number of households with an installed HDTV set continues to grow worldwide particularly in the US and Japan. In the US market, there is a significant gap between HDTV ownership and households utilizing HD programming, reports In-Stat. The number of US HDTV households, defined as households having both an installed HD-capable TV set and also receiving and watching HD programming, increased by almost 40 per cent in 2008. However, the growth rate could well have been much larger.

"In the US, there are more than 39 million households with an installed HDTV set," according to Mike Paxton, an In-Stat analyst. "However, only 22 million of those are HDTV households, meaning that 17 million US households with an installed HDTV set are not watching HD programming."

Recent research by In-Stat also found the following:

  • On a global basis, HDTV service remains limited to a relatively small number of countries, primarily the US and Japan.
  • At year-end 2008, there were over 36 million HDTV households worldwide, up from 29 million at year-end 2007.
  • Even though the number of European HDTV households is rising, it will be 2011 before the number of HDTV households in that region reaches the 10 million mark.

    Cable and satellite TV service providers provide HD programming to almost 80 per cent of all HDTV households. Telco TV service providers and terrestrial broadcast TV service providers provide service to the remaining HDTV households

    Mobile broadband on the rise

    In the next five years, the nature of cell phones will change radically, reports In-Stat. Increasing availability of mobile broadband, operator support for data-intensive devices, and improvements in usability for mobile devices brought about by the influence of the Apple iPhone will evolve the designs of handheld devices, the high-tech market research and consultancy firm says.

    “Consumers are nearing their limits adjusting to the added complexity of converged devices,” says David Chamberlain, In-Stat analyst. “Feature proliferation is impinging on usability. Handset vendors and mobile operators must carefully evaluate the drive toward increasingly converged devices with features and functions that add direct value to consumers.”

    Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

  • Wi-Fi will become increasingly available in handsets; In-Stat forecasts more than 300 million Wi-Fi-enabled cell phones will be sold in 2012.
  • Annual smartphone sales will double over the next five years.
  • By 2012, annual sales of handsets able to receive video content will exceed a half-billion.
  • According to a survey of over 1,500 individuals from In-Stat’s technology adoption panel, almost 60% of respondents indicate some level of interest or already use Wi-Fi for VoIP using a cell phone.

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    INDUSTRY NEWS

    Time Warner writes down $25bn

    Time Warner announced it will record some $25 billion in write-downs for the fourth quarter, with nearly $15 billion of it coming from Time Warner Cable. Time Warner, which owns 85 per cent of the cable company but has been planning to spin off the stake to shareholders, said beyond the cable business, the write-downs will involve the falling value of its publishing and America Online units. The Time Warner Cable write-down reflects its cable franchising rights. It had been expected that Time Warner might have to admit it also paid too much for acquisitions other than its disastrous merger with AOL, as it still carried over $42.5 billion in goodwill on the books last year.

    The latest write-downs come after Time Warner recorded nearly $100 billion in goodwill write-downs in 2002 as the tech bubble that fuelled AOL's purchase of Time Warner deflated.

    Free Sony HD Technology Seminars

    Sony Electronics' Professional Media Group is conducting the third session in its annual series of online seminars on high-definition recording media and formats.

    These web-based courses, designed for production professionals, are available at no charge. They will begin on Jan. 27 and again be led by Wayne Desmond, national training manager for Sony Electronics' Media and Applications Solutions Division.

    Targeted toward cinematographers, directors, directors of photography, editors and other content creators working in TV and motion picture production, the seminars are designed to raise awareness of professional recording media technologies - including tape, optical disc and solid-state - and their roles in enabling high definition formats.

    The online seminars will be conducted in January and February. For more information, including the current schedule of seminars and how to register, visit: www.sony.com/promedia.

    YouTube to share ad revenues?

    Google plans to give big media companies a cut of advertising revenues when their videos appear on YouTube, regardless of who posts them to the site. Google will expand a programme that allows media companies to sell advertising for their video content that appears on YouTube.

    A few big partners, such as CBS, already sell their own advertising inventory for videos in their own YouTube channels as well as on videos that are picked up by YouTube's Content ID system, which identifies copyrighted content.

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    COMPANY NEWS

    Dalsa Digital Cinema "Bites the Dust"

    DALSA Corporation, an international leader in high performance digital imaging and semiconductors, announced that following the closure of DALSA's Woodland Hills, CA, cinema equipment rental facility and the termination or redeployment of the Digital Cinema division staff, the Company has wound down its Digital Cinema operations.

    Following extensive negotiations with Arnold & Richter Cine Technik GmbH ("ARRI") for the past several months, the Company has failed to reach agreement with ARRI as to acceptable terms on a definitive agreement. As a result, the Company set aside discussions with ARRI and the Company is currently pursuing other alternatives to maximize value of its Digital Cinema operations.

    There can be no guarantee that any of these alternatives will ultimately lead to a successful transaction.

    Sony $3bn loss

    Sony has said it expects to post a record annual operating loss of nearly $3 billion because of the rapid deterioration of the global economy. It also announced a major overhaul that would include layoffs and factory closings.

    "The massive economic upheaval being experienced across the world is sparing no one in the consumer electronics world," the Sony chief executive, Howard Stringer, told reporters in Tokyo.

    Stringer said the main problem had been "a significant deterioration" in the company’s core electronics division. But business worsened across every major line, including games, movies and financial services.

    Sony is not alone. In November, its Japanese rival, Panasonic, revised its annual sales forecast downward by 700 billion yen. LG Electronics reported a fourth-quarter net loss of nearly $500 million this week and Samsung Electronics, which reports its earnings this week is expected to post its first quarterly net loss ever

    Philips records loss

    Philips has reported a fourth quarter loss of E1.47 billion. The loss includes a write down of E1.3 billion relating to its stakes in NXP Semiconductors, LG Display, and its acquisition of Lumileds.

    Chief executive Gerard Kleisterlee said the results reflected the unprecedented "speed and ferocity with which the economy softened in 2008". Amsterdam-based Philips said it was freezing its share buy-back programme. The firm recorded total sales of E26.4 billion for the year.

    Avid Q4 Conference Call

    Avid Technology, Inc. will hold a conference call to review its financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2008 on Thursday, January 29, 2009, at 4:30 p.m. EST, following the dissemination of its press release on those results.

    The dial-in number is: 719.457.2617 The replay number is: 719.457.0820 The confirmation code and replay passcode: 4569475

    The call will also be available via live audio webcast and subsequent replay on the company's website. To listen via this alternative, go to the Investor Relations page under the About Us menu at www.avid.com.

    Harmonic Q4 Conference Call

    Harmonic Inc. announced that it plans to report its fourth quarter and year end 2008 results after market close on January 29, 2009.

    Harmonic will host a conference call to discuss its financial results at 2:00 P.M. Pacific (5:00 P.M. Eastern) on Thursday, January 29, 2009. A listen-only broadcast of the conference call can be accessed on the Company’s website at www.harmonicinc.com or by calling +1-706-634-9047 (conference identification code 30815953). The replay will be available after 6:00 P.M. Pacific at the same website address or by calling +1-706-645-9291 (conference identification code 30815953).

    Harmonic intends to discuss financial and other statistical information on this conference call. This information will also be available on the Company’s website at www.harmonicinc.com either in the press release related to the above broadcast, by accessing the listen-only broadcast described above or by accessing the replay of the broadcast described above.

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    PRODUCT NEWS

    Extron's New DVI DAs Now Shipping

    Extron Electronics announced that all models in the DVI DA and DVI DA Plus series of DVI distribution amplifiers are now shipping.

    The DVI DA includes an existing two output version and a new four output version, while the new DVI DA Plus features four, six, and eight output versions. All models accept one single link DVI source and distribute digital video signals to multiple devices. They are compatible with DVI resolutions up to 1920x1200 @ 60Hz, including HDTV 1080p/60.

    The DVI DA Plus models also feature EDID Minder, which ensures that the DVI source powers up properly and maintains proper video output even if the digital display device is off, and source signal presence indication for quick, visual confirmation of system functionality. All of these distribution amplifiers are well-suited for a broad range of applications where a fully digital signal path from source to destination is preferred.

    All Extron DVI distribution amplifiers feature automatic input equalization, which restores and reshapes incoming DVI signals, minimizing jitter effects that can be a problem when DVI signals are routed through multiple active devices. The distribution amplifiers are housed in 1U high, rack-mountable enclosures and include an external, universal power supply for worldwide power compatibility.

    GDC’s DC servers to incorporate RealD’s 3D EQ

    GDC Technology (GDC), a world leading digital cinema solution provider, and RealD, the global leader in 3D cinema technology, announced further cooperation between the two companies. In this latest agreement, RealD will license to GDC the right to install and deploy its 3D EQ (aka ‘ghostbuster’) technology in GDC’s line of digital cinema servers.

    RealD’s 3D EQ technology enhances the separation of the left and right eye images. In the past, this process was incorporated into the master by the studios; RealD’s new approach incorporates the technology into the digital cinema server and therefore simplifies the distribution process without sacrificing the optimal 3D visual experience.

    “As the leader in 3D cinema, RealD is focused on using our technology to make the creation and distribution of 3D content as efficient as possible,” said Joe Peixoto, president of worldwide cinemas at RealD. “Working with GDC to deploy our 3D EQ technology in their digital cinema servers offers a streamlined approach so the focus can stay on delivering to audiences a 3D experience unlike anything they’ve ever seen.”

    “GDC is a firm believer in bringing the best and latest feature sets available in its digital cinema servers to its customers,” said Dr Man-Nang CHONG, founder and CEO of GDC Technology. “We are quick to notice the superiority of RealD’s technology and wasted no time to incorporate it in GDC’s line of digital cinema servers. This is another illustration of GDC’s alertness to emerging technology and incessant

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    PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

    Barco CEO steps down

    After seven years of leading the transformation of Barco, Martin De Prycker has informed the Board that he wishes to step down as CEO of the company. The Board has accepted his resignation and has asked Mr De Prycker to support the transition.

    The Board has proposed Eric Van Zele, currently a member of the Board, to take up the CEO position. Mr Van Zele has accepted this appointment.

    AmberFin appoints Bruce Devlin as CTO

    AmberFin announced the appointment of Bruce Devlin as its new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). In this role, Bruce will be responsible for leading strategy and vision at AmberFin, helping its customers to deliver superior-quality TV, film and video content across a rapidly changing file-based media environment.

    Prior to his new role, Bruce was VP of Technology at AmberFin, guiding the company on video file, workflow and systems issues. Previously Bruce was at Snell & Wilcox where his career spanned 15 years with the company. Here he led its innovative and award-winning work on compression coding.

    New Omneon CEO

    Omneon, Inc. announced that it has appointed Suresh Vasudevan as the company's president and CEO and as a member of the board. Vasudevan joins Omneon having most recently served as senior vice president of product operations at NetApp and as a member of the company's executive team, leading all product management and engineering for the NetApp product portfolio.

    "We are thrilled that Suresh has joined Omneon," said Lawrence Kaplan, who has acted as interim president and CEO at Omneon since May 2008 and now returns to his role as vice chairman of the board. "Suresh brings a great balance of leadership and product management knowledge to the company, and we look forward to his guiding Omneon to the next level."

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    RESEARCH NEWS

    SCRI RESEARCH NEWS

  • Broadcast/Pro Video Product Sales Top $10 billion -- read more

  • 2008 - 2009 Broadcast/Pro Video Product Reports
  • 2008-09 Broadcast/Pro Video Macro Industry Overview Report
  • 2008-09 Broadcast/Pro Video Micro Quantitative Product Data Report
  • HDTV / Digital Trends Report
  • IPTV / Mobile TV Report

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