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Insider Report

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

w/e February 15, 2009 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2008

INDEX

Technology News | Industry News | Company News |
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TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Senate Approves Digital TV Delay

The Senate voted on Monday to delay next month’s transition to digital television until June 12 because some viewers would not be ready for the switch.

The voice vote followed a call by President Obama’s administration to postpone the Feb. 17 date for major TV stations to stop sending traditional analog signals. Similar legislation awaits action in the House on Tuesday.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia who leads the commerce committee, said last week that he had reached agreement with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, the top Republican on the panel, on the legislation. Some Republicans had opposed a delay, saying it would cause confusion by changing a long-planned date.

A federal program to subsidize digital equipment that some viewers will need has fallen short of money, and last week the government reported a waiting list of 1.4 million households.

More than 6.5 million homes are not able to receive digital TV programming, the Nielsen Company said last week. The figure is a decrease from last month, when Nielsen said almost 8 million could not receive it.

Mobile TV -- Half a billion viewers in 2013

The approaching switchover to all-digital television in the US and other major countries will create an unprecedented opportunity for the mobile TV market, according to a study from ABI Research. While mobile broadcast TV was pioneered in Japan and South Korea, following the switchover traditional and mobile TV broadcasters and cellular operators in many regions will launch mobile TV services that are forecast to attract over 500 million viewers by 2013. "Mobile TV users have yet to value the medium properly because it has not been validated as an independent product and service," says senior analyst Jeff Orr. "It has been primarily offered at the end of a long list of more preferred cellular services. However, Mobile TV will soon be positioned in a more proper role as an extension of traditional broadcast TV services." "Mobile TV viewing will not solely be on cellular handsets," Orr continues, "but also on MIDs, and automotive infotainment systems. I believe that once the content is available and the services launched, mobile TV will enable more classes of mobile devices that are natural fits‚ for mobile entertainment." Who will benefit? Content developers and providers; device vendors, especially MID and cellular handset OEMs; and service providers. Other winners: multimedia and security software, semiconductor and network infrastructure vendors. Once mobile TV users adopt the service at high growth levels, advertisers will also climb on board to target the significant number of new "mobile eyeballs."

Mobile traffic growth forecast

Cisco has released the results of a Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Mobile Forecast for 2008-2013, providing findings on a variety of IP networking trends driven largely by the increased use of mobile broadband applications.

The Cisco VNI Mobile Forecast projects global mobile traffic to increase 66-fold between 2008 and 2013 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 131 per cent over that same period. These projections reflect a transformation in the fourth-generation, or 4G, mobile Internet that will enable consumers to view more mobile video and access a variety of mobile broadband services.

Additional key findings from the Cisco VNI Mobile Forecast:

  • Nearly 64 per cent of the world’s mobile traffic will be video by 2013.
  • Mobile video will grow at a CAGR of 150 per cent between 2008 and 2013.
  • Western Europe will have the most mobile video traffic of all regions in 2013.

    Korea's IPTV market booming

    Profits in Korea's market for IPTV are expected to expand nearly 10 times by 2012 following the suspension of all analogue broadcasting services in Korea later that year. Ovum have said in a report that IPTV profits in Korea will increase to over $310 million in 2012 with almost 3.5 million subscribers.

    Ovum includes Korea as one of the highest potential in developing IPTV technologies, along with Canada and Singapore. Ovum says that although Korea was late in establishing related laws and providing real-time services for IPTV subscribers, the country will be able to overcome the gap with its widespread high-speed Internet access and well-founded infrastructure

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    INDUSTRY NEWS

    Broadband subs slump in 2008

    The telco broadband market experienced a significant downturn in new subscriber additions during 2008, according to iSuppli Corp.

    "New telco broadband subscriber growth saw a 9.1 per cent decline in 2008 following double-digit gains during the prior five years," said Steve Rago, principal analyst, broadband and digital Home for iSuppli. Hardest hit was North America, with new subscriber additions in 2008 amounting to 3.1 million, down 56.1 per cent from 6.5 million in 2007.

    Driven by the need to upgrade the broadband access network, new Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) connections grew by 90 per cent and new VDSL connections grew by 54 per cent compared to 2007. In the cable world, many European and American operators introduced DOCSIS 3.0, significantly increasing broadband access data rates.

    Telco TV was a major driver of high-speed access upgrades during 2008. Virtually every telephone company and competitive access supplier deployed or made plans to deploy television services during 2008. Overall telco TV subscribers grew by 8.8 million to end 2008 at a total of 18.5 million.

    MSOs, led by Comcast and Time Warner, added 4.3 million new voice subscribers, most of which were previously telephone subscribers. The MSOs in North America also won the battle for the broadband connection, adding 4 million subscribers compared to 2 million for the telephone companies.

    CTIA-The Wireless Association® & One Economy Corp. Partner

    CTIA-The Wireless Association® and One Economy Corporation announced the formation of a new partnership to create a national Wireless Digital Literacy Initiative. The purpose of the Initiative is to introduce thousands of lower-income youth to the educational and economic power of the mobile Internet. The Initiative will leverage the reach and effectiveness of One Economy's existing Digital Connectors community service program, targeted to youth aged 14 to 21. The youth will gain skills and experience in the use of wireless broadband technologies to help them improve their lives and communities.

    Through the Initiative, 5,000 youth ages 14-21 will be offered wireless technology training and provided wireless access to youth-focused content produced by One Economy in such areas as education, healthcare, personal finance, and life skills. By partnering with One Economy, the wireless industry hopes to bring thousands of America's youth onto the 21st century's mobile ramp with the prospects of a higher quality of life.

    "This initiative comes at a time when increasing numbers of youth are unemployed and when the country is seeking ways to expand broadband adoption. By harnessing the energy and potential of youth and wireless technology, we can make a difference," said Rey Ramsey, CEO of One Economy.

    CTIA-The Wireless Association President and CEO Steve Largent was equally enthusiastic about the prospects of the partnership, saying "The wireless industry is extremely pleased and excited to work with One Economy to extend the powerful benefits of wireless broadband technology. One Economy has an outstanding program in place, and we believe incorporating the most valuable and popular mode of communication in the 21st century will bring tremendous gains to economically disadvantaged young people all over the country."

    One Economy, CTIA, and CTIA's member companies will announce details of the Initiative in a formal announcement at the association's annual trade show, CTIA WIRELESS 2009®, April 1-3 in Las Vegas, NV.

    The Digital Connector Program launched in 2001, has helped 2,600 low-income youth provide 56,000 hours of community service, including creating more than 5,000 hours of original digital media content. The program now operates in 30 communities.

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    COMPANY NEWS

    Harris Broadcast Revenue Is Flat in Q2

    Harris reported that broadcast revenue in its second financial quarter was $163 million, flat compared to the same three months of last year.

    “Operating income in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 was $12 million and operating margin was 7.4%. Segment operating performance improved in the second quarter as a result of cost reduction actions taken over the past several quarters. In the prior-year quarter, operating income was $8 million, and non-GAAP operating income, excluding acquisition-related costs, was $10 million.”

    The company, which does not break out TV vs. radio revenue within the broadcast division reports, said sales of transmission systems increased, helped by the over-the-air digital TV transition in the United States and Brazil. “Strong sales of infrastructure and networking solutions and media and workflow software in international markets were more than offset by weak market demand in the North America market. Weak economic conditions in the U.S. have prompted many broadcast and media customers to delay capital spending.”

    It said order momentum “slowed significantly in the U.S. market during the first half of fiscal 2009 and is expected to remain weak during the next several quarters. The outlook for international business is more positive, aided by several large project opportunities.” It said Harris has recently received significant orders in Qatar, Iraq, India, Australia, Lebanon, Turkey, Nigeria, Russia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Mexico.

    Overall, parent Harris Corp. reported revenue of $1.52 billion in the second quarter, an increase of 16%. However it posted a net loss of $38.6 million, citing a financial charge related to subsidiary Harris Stratex Networks. In December the company said it is “evaluating strategic alternatives” related to its ownership of Harris Stratex. Excluding that charge, Harris overall reported non-GAAP net income in the second quarter up 24 percent. “We are very pleased with the strong year-over-year organic revenue growth and operating performance in the second quarter,” said Chairman Howard L. Lance, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

    PARTER Capital Group completes acquisition of Thomson Grass Valley Post Production Solutions

    With the acquisition of the Thomson Grass Valley Post Production Business Unit by PARTER Capital Group now complete, Digital Film Technology (DFT) is driving forward with some exciting activities in 2009. Over 200 companies worldwide rely on Digital Film Technology’s post production solutions, and with the dynamic team in place, DFT is well positioned to address the post business with renewed energy and entrepreneurial vision.

    This new opportunity allows DFT to step forward and address customer requirements more effectively, remain at the forefront of technological advancements, deliver first-to-market solutions that are truly unique, and remain focused on post production facilities that are seeking exceptional expertise.

    The transition for Digital Film Technology customers is seamless since DFT is selling and supporting the full product line, which includes the Spirit and Shadow family of Film Scanners/Telecines/DataCines, the Bones™ family of dailies and post production workflow management tools, the Scream grain reducer, and the LUTher color calibration system.

    “In addition to our highly seasoned management team, we have an extremely talented and motivated group of people that are committed to delivering superior sales and support services, innovative technology and products, and helping our company business operations run as smoothly as possible,” comments Stefan Kramper. “Our focus is to build on the core of our business, and our team with their long-standing reputation in the post industry can do just that.”

    “We are taking important steps in the way we serve our customers, “continues Stefan. “By building on our history and leadership in the post production industry, as well as opening our internal and external communication channels, we are able to more effectively facilitate customer requirements.”

    Demands for traditional film and digital acquisition to coexist is prevalent, digital workflow management is becoming more critical, and the post market continues to trend toward more resolution independent data-centric environments. Being well aware of these market trends, Digital Film Technology is committed to supporting a wide variety of applications with the creative tools for new and existing post production workflows.

    “We are confident with our investment in Digital Film Technology because their reputation of delivering leading edge technologies is outstanding, “says Dr Rüdiger Terhorst of PARTER Capital Group. “By offering DFT new strategic direction we can aid their highly skilled team in driving sustainable growth.”

    Dolby Q1 Revenue & Net Income Up

    Dolby Laboratories, Inc. announced the Company's financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2009. For the first quarter, Dolby reported total revenue of $180.3 million, compared to $150.2 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008, an increase of 20 percent. First quarter net income was $78.1 million, or $0.68 per diluted share, compared to $47.7 million, or $0.42 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

    Net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 reflects a gain of $20 million resulting from an amendment to a license agreement with an unrelated patent licensor. This gain contributed $0.12 to fiscal first quarter 2009 diluted earnings per share.

    Net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 also reflects stock-based compensation expense of $4.6 million compared to $5.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 and charges related to the amortization of intangibles of $3.3 million compared to $2.3 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

    “We are pleased with our first quarter performance,” said Bill Jasper, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dolby Laboratories, “and we continue to position ourselves for the long-term by pursuing new innovations and opportunities. However, we are also very mindful of the worldwide economic slowdown, and have adjusted our outlook in light of reduced consumer spending.”

    Dolby now expects fiscal 2009 revenue to be $630 million to $700 million. Net income is now expected to be $193 million to $222 million. Earnings per diluted share are now expected to be $1.66 to $1.91. Included in Dolby’s fiscal 2009 earnings guidance is the $20 million gain in the first quarter resulting from an amendment to the license agreement with an unrelated patent licensor, and $5 million in estimated restructuring charges for the consolidation of manufacturing operations expected in fiscal 2009. The combined net impact of the gain and restructuring charge on net income is approximately $10 million, or $0.09 per diluted share. While under FAS 123R, stock-based compensation expense may vary based on factors such as stock price or volatility, Dolby now expects stock-based compensation expense for the full year to be approximately $25 million. In addition, Dolby now expects charges related to the amortization of intangibles for fiscal 2009 to be approximately $15 million.

    Optibase Partners with AVT Video System Integrators

    Optibase announced a new partnership with Applied Video Technology Inc. (AVT), a US system integration firm focusing on design, procurement, engineering, installation and service of audiovisual, videoconferencing, video streaming and broadcast solutions. AVT will leverage Optibase’s IPTV platforms and video distribution systems to provide its customers in the corporate and educational markets with professional encoding, decoding, video server upload and streaming solutions that deliver high quality video at a wide range of bit rates.

    Optibase solutions enable AVT’s customers to broadcast live or on-demand lectures, conferences, training programs and courses at top video quality across campuses, regional offices and facilities. Optibase's advanced video distribution systems can be used to create custom courses for small student groups, deliver interactive material to off-site students, monitor classrooms and provide access to archives of taped lectures and other video content.

    By partnering with Optibase, AVT can offer corporations of all sizes solutions for streaming TV and satellite TV over the corporate network or Internet; capturing and distributing executive announcements throughout the organization; providing training programs for staff; and sharing information across the network.

    “We are pleased that AVT has chosen to partner with Optibase in its efforts to provide its clients with the best possible IPTV solutions,” said Joseph (Yossi) Aloni, President Optibase Inc. “Using cutting-edge technologies such as real-time video streaming powered by Adobe® Flash®, H.264 compression format and advanced desktop video players, empowers AVT's customers to create new models of interactive educational, corporate and entertainment services and we are glad to provide them with the necessary technology and solutions.”

    Bruce MacLelland, AVT CEO, said, "With the innovative products Optibase offers, AVT can now offer our customers the absolute best solutions available. Optibase’s powerful video over IP solutions allows our customers to easily take full advantage of live and on-demand video over IP distribution like never before.”

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    PRODUCT NEWS

    JVC Introduces GY-HM700 ProHD Camcorder

    JVC announces its latest Compact Shoulder professional camcorder developed for mainstream production, electronic newsgathering and cinematography, the GY-HM700. The new camera uniquely records directly to inexpensive SDHC memory cards in the QuickTime (.MOV) format for Final Cut Pro™, and optionally to SxS media compatible with Sony's XDCAM EX™ format. Recording in the editing system's native format eliminates the time consuming transfer step and dramatically speeds up the post-production workflow, a major advancement for JVC and the industry. Additionally, the GY-HM700 includes several key technology innovations that result in significantly improved resolution in the camera's core components: CCD/optical block, lens, and viewfinder.

    “Our new generation of ProHD products brings together the most highly regarded and proven technologies in the industry, providing unmatched ownership and operational experience,” says Craig Yanagi, JVC’s national marketing manager for Creation Products. “With the GY-HM700, JVC has changed the dynamics of professional video production. Its ergonomic design and video quality meets or exceeds the performance requirements of the most demanding broadcast, ENG and cinematography applications. Combined with fastest shoot-to-edit workflow in the industry, utilizing low-cost solid-state media, ProHD provides an unprecedented level of efficiency and economy for today’s professional videographer.”

    New Panasonic High-Res 25.5" LCD HD Production Monitor

    Panasonic announced the immediate availability of its new high-resolution BT-LH2550 LCD HD production monitor. With a full 1920 x 1200-pixel In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel, the 25.5" LCD production monitor features an expanded color gamut, exceeding the NTSC standard, to ensure vivid, true-to-life color for critical monitoring at a cost far less than premium-priced reference monitors.

    The LH2550 offers six color space settings - SMPTE, EBU, ITU-R BT.709, Adobe 2.2, Adobe 1.8 and D-Cinema – to expand the range of colors that can be viewed onscreen for high-end applications ranging from broadcast and print to digital graphics and postproduction. The monitor's image processing engine has a three-dimensional look-up table (LUT) that calibrates it to reproduce content according to the specific color standard selected.

    With its advanced IPS panel, 1920 x 1200 resolution and 10-bit processing circuit, the LH2550 produces ultra-faithful color and exceptionally clear detail in any video format. Its high contrast and brightness, excellent motion response and wide 178° horizontal/vertical viewing angles make it the cost-effective choice versus more expensive reference monitors.

    The LH2550 is available now at a suggested list price of $5,995.

    New NEXIO Browse suite from Harris

    Harris announced the launch of the new NEXIO Browse suite, a comprehensive portfolio of tools that facilitate H.264 proxy viewing and editing, enabling broadcasters to implement an affordable and scalable low-resolution workflow.

    "NEXIO Browse helps eliminate the need for a complex baseband infrastructure for proxy storage and management, making it easier than ever to deploy a low-resolution, file-based workflow in news and sports operations," said Tim Thorsteinson, president of Harris Broadcast Communications. "Media management and editing are simplified, and high-resolution conforming for play-to-air functions can be performed quickly and seamlessly."

    The NEXIO Browse suite is part of the Harris® NewsForce™ HD/SD news platform. It includes all the tools necessary to generate, view and edit low-resolution proxy files across a storage area network (SAN):

    NEXIO PRX Transcoder server — automatically converts high-resolution content from the NEXIO SAN into low-res files

    NEXIO AMP PRX Encoder integrated media application for the NEXIO AMP advanced media platform — creates low-res proxy clips simultaneously with baseband ingest

    NEXIO Browse Server storage array — provides high-performance, frame-accurate proxy file storage

    NEXIO Proxy Media Host server — modular expansion of the number of viewers and editors connecting to the NEXIO low-res SAN

    Velocity PRX proxy editor — integrates with MOS-compliant newsroom computer systems, allowing for rundowns and scripts to be viewed directly from the proxy editing interface

    NEXIO InstantOnline III conforming engine — enables low-res clips to be conformed to high resolution at the push of a button for immediate play to air

    "The ability to move, browse and edit low-resolution files delivers a critical speed advantage in the competitive news and sports industries — or any broadcast environment where large numbers of people benefit from shared access to content," said Thorsteinson.

    "Our NEXIO Browse solution allows scores of users to view and edit content simultaneously, with significantly reduced storage and bandwidth requirements when compared to a high-resolution SAN. This capability not only helps broadcasters get to air faster, it saves them money."

    New Dual-Channel HD CG from Compix Media

    Compix Media, a developer of professional-quality character generators (CGs), launched its new CYNERG HD, a broadcast-quality, dual-channel HD CG with unrivalled price to performance for the broadcast, sports, professional, educational, and government markets. Capable of simultaneously outputting graphics in either SD-SDI or HD-SDI, Compix Media's new dual-channel CYNERG HD packs a powerful punch into a conveniently sized 4-RU chassis.

    "Our goal in expanding our HD product line is to offer a range of world-class solutions that ease the cost and complexity of HD migration for our customers," said Lan Merrill, director of technology at Compix Media. "This full-featured, broadcast-quality dual-channel HD CG is no exception, boosting workflow and offering substantial time and cost savings without sacrificing functionality."

    The CYNERG HD has the inherent advantage of branding multiple video streams with different overlay material from a single chassis and one easy-to-use interface. Rather than invest in two separate CG systems, users can apply the CYNERG HD to two different functions at once, saving both time and money. Additionally, because the data required to create and playback graphics can be used between CYNERG HD's shared data storage, users need only maintain one set of graphics data.

    Dedicated logo insertion, EAS message generation, and automated template-based sports-score generation are some of the optional features supported by the CYNERG HD. Logo generation is offered via Compix Media's NewsScroll, an application that creates up to two independent crawls, manually updated or automatically updated from text files or RSS feeds. NewsScroll also incorporates static and animated logos, a real-time clock, and automatic weather updates.

    CYNERG HD is compatible with all previous Compix Media CG systems and operates with other optional Compix Media applications including AutoCast.

    The CYNERG HD is SMPTE 292M compliant with 720p/1080i support. The system passes all required closed-captioning, VBI, HANC, VANC, and embedded audio systems requirements.

    CYNERG HD accepts static graphic/logo import of TGA, BMP, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and TIF files. Compix Media's easy-to-use GenCG HD software, featuring an elegant and user-friendly GUI, is integrated into CYNERG HD, and offers 4,000 TrueType® fonts and 300,000 premium quality images included at no extra cost.

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    PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

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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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