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Insider Report

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

w/e February 18, 2006 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2004

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

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Nokia predicts mainstream mobile TV

Nokia president and CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo opened 3GSM in Barcelona with a prediction that four billion mobile phones would be sold in 2010, a billion more than current sales figures. He said mobile Internet access and entertainment was changing business models to the extent that it was almost a new industry.

Kallasvuo said this was the year mobile TV would reach the mainstream. He said DVB-H chips would fall to E7 making devices more affordable and more widespread - he predicted 20 million such devices in use by 2009. Nokia has also confirmed a deal with YouTube to make its content available through its handsets.

CBS Provides Boost to Mobile TV

Capitalizing on the growing interest of consumers to use their mobile phones as entertainment centers, CBS has launched three next-generation web sites catering to mobile users. The announcement of the three new sites – the CBS Mobile Store and two new advertising-supported mobile web sites (also known as Wireless Application Protocol, or WAP sites) for Sports and News – was made by Cyriac Roeding, Executive Vice President, CBS Mobile.

The "CBS Mobile Store" (www.CBSMobile.com) is an online destination where consumers download a wide variety of exclusive mobile content, including games and special wallpapers and voicetones created specifically for the mobile phone from CBS programming. Additionally, the CBS Mobile Store will offer two industry firsts: "Live wallpapers," featuring scenes from hit CBS reality shows that can be downloaded in the form of still images within hours of broadcast, and daily mobile video alerts from David Letterman, called "Dave TV," featuring the funniest moments from the previous night's show. CBS Mobile Store content is available either for a one-time download charge or at a subscription rate. The technology behind the CBS Mobile Store is provided and run by VeriSign.

The two new CBS WAP sites employ cutting-edge technology with CBS SportsLine (wap.CBSSportsLine.com) featuring real-time scores and the ability to control fantasy sports teams from the mobile phone. CBS News (wap.CBSNews.com) offers mobile users direct access to full stories and images of near real-time breaking news events. Both WAP sites are ad supported on most carriers, with the content available for free to mobile users.

"We are breaking new ground with these robust wireless offerings just as we did when we were the first to launch video alerts last year," said Roeding. "The CBS Mobile Store and WAP sites represent the most innovative sites of their kind. The content is designed and made specifically for mobile, but at the same time it offers a seamless link to our top television shows. We call this 'platforming content' to mobile."

CBS worked with mobile-solutions firm Volantis to build the WAP sites for all CBS properties.

"We're very pleased to partner with one of the premiere media companies in the world. We look forward to helping CBS launch the next generation of WAP sites – these are the most innovative WAP sites we have seen anywhere in the world," said Matthew Harris, CEO of Volantis, based in Seattle, Washington.

According to CTIA – The Wireless Association, there are 215-million cell phone users in the United States, which is 70 percent of the entire population of the country (300 million). In addition, the cell phone is the one medium that consumers have with them while they are enjoying other media, including watching TV, surfing the internet, listening to the radio, and reading a magazine. A recent CBS research study concluded that over half (52 percent) of the 25- to 44-year olds surveyed have their cell phone with them 90 percent of the time when they are watching television. That number increases among the younger demographic, where 64 percent of the 18- to 24-year olds surveyed said they have their cell phones with them 90 percent of the time when they are watching television.

Blu-ray & HD-DVD Sales Running Even

According to the NPD Group, sales of Blu-ray & HD-DVD players were almost even from April to December of last year. NPD says 52 percent of HDTV DVD players sold during that time period were HD-DVD players while 48 percent were Blu-ray.

However, Blu-ray enthusiasts might count the numbers as a victory because they did not include sales of the PlayStation 3, which has a Blu-ray player inside. (The totals also did not include sales of Microsoft's XBox 360 HD-DVD attachment, but they are estimated to be far less than the PS3.)

Additionally, Blu-ray standalone players cost roughly $1,000, about twice as much as HD-DVD players.

In related news, Nielsen said last week that Blu-ray movie titles outsold HD-DVDs by more than two to one in the first two weeks of January.

MySpace claims copyright filter

MySpace, News Corp’s social networking site, has started a pilot programme aimed at detecting copyrighted video content by using the audio on videos to identify and track them.

Using digital fingerprinting technology licensed from Audible Magic, the DRM provider, MySpace said it would screen video uploaded by users and block any video matching a fingerprint in MySpace’s database. "MySpace is dedicated to ensuring that content owners, whether large or small, can both promote and protect their content in our community," said Chris DeWolfe, chief executive and co-founder of MySpace.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Lionsgate Q3 Revenues Up 11%

Lionsgate, a leading independent filmed entertainment studio, reported revenues of $254.5 million and net income of $20.5 million for its fiscal 2007 third quarter ended December 31, 2006, the Company announced today.

"We are pleased that all of our core businesses made important contributions to our profitability and free cash flow for the quarter," said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer. "We remain focused on our unique business plan, and our financial results reflect our continued progress toward a successful fiscal 2007 in every one of our key businesses as well as for the Company as a whole."

Feltheimer noted that Lionsgate's filmed entertainment backlog grew to a record $347.4 million in the third quarter, which now includes the backlog of approximately $66.9 million from Lionsgate's recently-acquired television syndication company Debmar-Mercury. At quarter end on December 31, 2006, Lionsgate also had total cash and auction rate notes of more than $245 million on its balance sheet.

Overall motion picture revenue for the quarter was $221.6 million, an increase of 9% compared to $203.3 million in the prior year's quarter. Within this segment, theatrical revenue of $46.0 million during the third quarter decreased 8% compared to $49.9 million in the prior year quarter. Principal revenue drivers for the quarter were the box office hits SAW III and EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH as the Company continued to consistently generate successful theatrical wide releases. Lionsgate's SAW franchise has now grossed more than $400 million worldwide, and the DVD release of SAW III debuted at number one on the nationwide charts last week.

Lionsgate's home video revenue of $113.6 million in the third quarter decreased 2% compared to $115.9 million in the prior year's quarter. Major DVD titles included the continuing sales of AKEELAH AND THE BEE, AN AMERICAN HAUNTING, the 15th anniversary special edition of RESERVOIR DOGS, continued sales of SAW II, SEE NO EVIL and THE DESCENT. The Company's DVD release slate remains heavily skewed toward the end of the fiscal year. Shortly after the close of the third quarter, Lionsgate released several major DVD titles and placed four of the top seven releases and six of the top 20 titles on the nationwide DVD charts in the final week of January. SAW III and CRANK both debuted at number one on the DVD charts in January.

International revenue of $27.6 million in the third quarter increased 90% compared to $14.5 million in the prior year's quarter, driven by revenues from Lionsgate U.K. as well as strong foreign sales of CRANK, SAW II, SAW III and THE LOST CITY.

Television revenue included in the motion picture segment was $31.2 million in the third quarter, a 55% increase compared to $20.2 million in the prior year's quarter. The gain was attributable to several strong theatrical titles with television windows opening in the third quarter, including HOSTEL and Tyler Perry's MADEA'S FAMILY REUNION. The Company also recorded continued strong television sales of THE PUNISHER.

Television production revenue of $32.9 million in the third quarter increased 27% compared to $26.0 million in the prior year's quarter, driven by deliveries of the third season of WILDFIRE (ABC Family), DIRTY DANCING: THE REALITY SERIES (WE), I PITY THE FOOL (TV Land) and THE LOST ROOM (Sci Fi Network). Domestic licensing for the third quarter included $4.7 million in revenues from the July 2006 acquisition of the television syndication company Debmar-Mercury. Deliveries of additional new Lionsgate television series, including THE DRESDEN FILES (Sci Fi Network), HIDDEN PALMS (CW Network), KILL PIT (Spike TV) and MAD MEN (AMC) are anticipated in future quarters. Lionsgate's Golden Globe-winning hit comedy WEEDS has also been ordered by Showtime for a third full season, which is expected to debut in the summer. WILDFIRE has already been picked up for a fourth season by ABC Family.

MTV cuts 300 posts

Viacom plans to cut 300 jobs at its MTV Networks division in an attempt to improve margins and free up more resources for its digital operations. The cuts will be in the US and are expected to come across the division’s youth-oriented brands.

Some Viacom executives are expecting hundreds of additional cuts in MTV’s international division, which the company has pledged to make more profitable

Sinclair & Mediacom Reach Agreement

Sinclair Broadcasting and Mediacom Cable announced they have reached an agreement on the carriage of 22 Sinclair TV stations in the Midwest. The deal, which ends a weeks-long dispute between the two companies, means that Mediacom viewers will be able to watch the Super Bowl in HDTV and standard definition. The Sinclair stations were returned tonight to Mediacom lineups.

Sinclair had ordered Mediacom to remove their high-def and standard definition signals on January 6 after the two companies could not agree on compensation. By federal law, a TV provider, such as a cable company, can not carry a local station's signal without its permission.

The order, however, generated widespread complaints from Mediacom subscribers, which eventually led to state and federal lawmakers urging the Federal Communications Commission to intervene.

The FCC refused Mediacom's request for binding arbitration, but the agency reportedly urged the two companies to end the dispute in backstage talks.

In the past, local stations and cable operators have reached agreement on carriage of analog channels usually by exchanging promotional considerations.

However, many local stations, including those owned by companies such as Sinclair, Belo and LIN TV, are now demanding fees from cable ops to carry their high-def channels (and standard definition in some cases.)

In several cities, cable operators have refused the request, which has led to the local stations forcing the cable operators to remove the HD channels from their lineups.

YouTube & DMG in TV deal

YouTube has signed a deal with Digital Music Group to post more than 4,000 hours of video content such as classic television shows to the video-sharing site. Digital Music, an online distributor of independently owned music, TV shows and films, will receive a portion of revenue from ads that YouTube shows on the pages featuring its programming. Under the deal, YouTube will also use a filtering technology to identify songs for which Digital Music controls the rights that are being used without authorisation in videos on the site

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COMPANY NEWS

Avid Technology to Hold Analyst Day

Avid Technology, Inc. announced that it will hold an Analyst Day on Thursday, February 15, 2007 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST at its corporate headquarters in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. An on-demand audio webcast of the presentations made during the day will be accessible through Avid’s website during the day and for a limited period following the day. To listen, visit www.avid.com/company and click on “investor relations.”

Eastman Kodak to Cut 5,000 More Jobs

Eastman Kodak Co. has said in a statement that they plan to cut as many as 5,000 more jobs than they had originally expected.

This comes as the company increasingly cuts itself from the consumer film business while focusing on digital photography industry.

With this, the company now aims to cut as many as 28,000 to 30,000 jobs. Kodak estimates that they can cut costs by around $3.8 billion through this initiative.

Kodak began the revamping in 2004 and since then they have cut as many as 23,400 jobs at a cost of $2.7 billion.

Kodak Chief Executive Officer Antonio Perez said in a statement: “The most important thing for me is to complete this transition. I want the $500 to $600 million we keep using every year to do the layoffs to remain in our pockets starting 2008.”

Scopus Video Networks Q4 Up

Scopus Video Networks Ltd., a provider of digital video networking products, announced its results for the fourth quarter and full year ending December 31, 2006

Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2006 was $12.1 million, up 6.2% sequentially from $11.4 million in the third quarter of 2006 and up 1.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2005. The breakdown of revenue by region was 44% in EMEA, 33% in Asia and Pacific Rim and 23% in the Americas.

Gross profit in the fourth quarter of 2006 was $6.0 million compared with $5.2 million in the third quarter 2006, and $6.4 million in the fourth quarter 2005. Gross profit as a percentage of revenues was 50% compared with 46% in the third quarter of 2006, and 54% in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Pro-forma net loss for the fourth quarter of 2006, which excludes expenses related to stock based compensation as defined under FAS123R was $417 thousand, or $0.03 per share, compared to a net loss of $875 thousand, or $0.07 per share, in the third quarter of 2006, and a net profit of $322 thousand, in the fourth quarter of 2005.

Revenue for the full year of 2006 was $47.3 million, a 5.5% increase from $44.8 million in 2005. Gross profit for the year was $23.0 million compared with $22.2 million last year. Gross profit, as a percentage of revenues, for the full year was 49% compared with 50% last year. Pro-forma net loss for the year was $1.9 million or $0.14 per share compared with $3.7 million in 2005. Net loss on a GAAP basis for the full year of 2006 was $3.8 million, or $0.29 per share, compared with $3.9 million for 2005.

"I am pleased with our fourth quarter results, especially given the fact that they were driven by sales to customers seeking a full system solution," commented Dr. Yaron Simler, CEO of Scopus. "One of our strongest competitive edges is our ability to offer a cost effective, full end-to-end system solution. Our systems' focus will continue into 2007, which we believe will enable us to penetrate higher-tier customers that were out of reach previously."

Concluded Dr. Simler, "We believe that there are many reasons to be optimistic with respect to our prospects for the year. Our advanced products and technology, as well as our unique full system solution, position us well to benefit from the global trend of migration to digital video and the increased competition among the service providers."

Is Blu-Ray Hurting Sony's Profits?

Is Blu-Ray Hurting Sony's Profits? This report is by Phillip Swann, publisher of SCRIs online partner, TV Predictions.

Sony said its quarterly operating profit dropped 15 percent -- and it appears the Play Station 3 is the chief culprit.

The video game console, which comes with a Blu-ray HDTV DVD player inside, has experienced a host of problems including heavy start-up costs.

Some analysts have also questioned Sony's decision to include the Blu-ray player, saying it raised the price of the game console which could lead to slower sales.

While Sony said flat-panel TV sales were strong, the video game business is bringing the company's profits down. However, one analyst told Reuters that the company's TV business points to future improvement.

"It's a positive development that the company increased profits on electronics even as their prices fell during the holiday sales period," said Mizuho Investors Securities analyst Mitsuhiro Osawa. "Of course we cannot ignore the game machines.... It's too early to say Sony has been reborn."

Reuters reports that Sony's profit decline was expected due to start-up costs for PS3. The newswire said Sony is now losing money on each game console it sells.

But Nobuyuki Oneda, Sony's chief financial officer, told reporters Tuesday that the company hopes to break even with PS3 by year's end.

"I think we will see substantial improvement when it comes to our game operations in the next business year," Oneda said, according to Reuters.

Sony launched PlayStation 3 last November.

TANDBERG Television Reports Positive Q4

TANDBERG Television (TAT) delivered revenues of $85.3m in 4Q06, up 9% compared to $78.5m in 4Q05. The gross margin was 57.3%, compared with 58.2% in the same quarter in 2005. Operating profit was $11.2m compared to $16.2m in the same quarter last year. Pre-tax profit was $14.5m (including $2.7m from the disposal of investments), compared to $18.0m in the same period in the previous year.

On January 15th, 2007 TAT announced that it had reached agreement with ARRIS Inc, a US NASDAQ listed company to combine the two companies through an acquisition of all outstanding TANDBERG Television shares by ARRIS, subject to certain conditions as noted in the press release of January 15th, 2007. The offer price of NOK 96 consists of NOK 80 cash and NOK 16 in ARRIS shares, although ARRIS can increase the cash portion of the offer at its discretion. The TAT Board of Directors, and TAT Officers have unanimously recommended that TAT shareholders accept the offer.

TANDBERG Television concluded 2006 with a quarter of profitable growth and ended a year in which the company successfully leveraged its digital compression, on-demand and advanced media software technologies to further solidify its position as the global leader in digital media infrastructure.

TANDBERG Television continued to demonstrate its video compression technology leadership with a number of key wins. These included a satellite segment order for MPEG-4 AVC HD systems valued in excess of $8M ,an IPTV segment order for MPEG-4 AVC SD system for EPM Telecommunications who are creating the first IPTV service in Columbia, South America, and a fiber to the premises network for Rochester Telephone in Indiana. Further, TANDBERG Interactive solutions were used by NBC for the second consecutive year to enhance the live broadcast of the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

The company also continued to successfully expand its software business with a number of operators in Europe and Asia commencing on-demand deployments with the TANDBERG OpenStream Digital Services Platform. In the UK, Red Bee Media selected the TANDBERG Xport™ software to enable next-generation on-demand entertainment services with a system that brings together TANDBERG Television’s encoding technologies with its software solutions for on-demand and interactive television. The system is the first in the world to support both high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 AVC ingest and editing.

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PRODUCT NEWS

HDMI Connections Surge in PC Market

HDMI Licensing, LLC, the agent responsible for licensing the High-Definition Multimedia Interface(TM) (HDMI(TM)) specification, announced the rapid penetration of HDMI into the PC market with more than 50 HDMI PC products currently available, including nearly two dozen desktop and notebook PCs, families of HDMI PC monitors from major manufacturers and a broad range of motherboards and graphics cards with HDMI outputs.

HDMI is the de facto standard digital interface for HDTVs and high- definition (HD) consumer electronics products. HDMI is also currently the leading interface for PCs intended for HD content usage, including connection to HDTVs and HD video camcorders.

Major PC makers, such as Acer, BenQ, Dell/Alienware, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, have already announced or delivered desktop and notebook PCs with the HDMI interface. HP is shipping the affordable Pavilion dv9000t series notebooks with HDMI, while Sony offers HDMI as a standard feature on its full line of VAIO AR series of notebooks. BenQ plans to launch the Joybook S41 notebook PC along with an expanded offering of LCD monitors in the first half of this year, all featuring HDMI. Among the new products announced during the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was Dell's HDMI-enabled Alienware Media PC that features a high-definition digital video recorder, enabling users to record and play back HD content via an HDMI output.

PCs with HDMI outputs can connect directly to more than 105 million HDTVs with HDMI inputs estimated by research firm In-Stat to be in the market by the end of the year. This allows PC users to play games, watch TV shows and movies, and view photos on their monitors or large screen TVs. Because HDMI is backward compatible with the Digital Visual Interface (DVI), the HDMI PCs can also connect directly to the enormous installed base of PC monitors with DVI inputs, which In-Stat estimates at 106 million shipped to date since 2002. (Note that content needing HDCP content protection requires that both source and display devices support HDCP to properly view protected video content).

Major producers of PC monitors are starting to introduce low-cost HDMI monitors to respond to the recent surge of PCs with HDMI outputs. ViewSonic Corporation has introduced the VX2435wm and VX2835wm, two LCD monitors that have HDMI inputs to provide clear, crisp high-definition images for enjoying diverse digital entertainment including Internet Protocol Television, movies and digital photos. LG Electronics offers a 24-inch LCD monitor with an HDMI input that is certified for use with Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system. Another manufacturer, BenQ, has introduced four new widescreen LCD gaming monitors with HDMI connections, including a 19-inch model with an affordable price of $299.

Recognizing the advantages HDMI offers with a simple single cable solution, Apple has also included an HDMI connection for the new Apple TV set- top box. The product allows consumers to wirelessly sync and stream high- definition content from a computer so HD movies and TV shows can be viewed on their television sets. "With the widespread proliferation of PC products using HDMI connections in 2006 and 2007, HDMI is rapidly becoming the digital interface of choice for many PC users," said Leslie Chard, president of HDMI Licensing, LLC. "The ubiquity of the HDMI interface in high-definition consumer electronics products, and the compatibility with the huge installed base of HDMI and DVI products makes HDMI a natural choice for PC users and gives PC product makers the largest target market."

Harris to provide HD Graphics to Cox TV

Harris Corporation has been selected as the primary HD graphics delivery platform provider for a national, multistation branding initiative by Atlanta-based Cox Television. Cox Television owns or controls 15 television stations in 11 markets.

For this national project, Cox chose the Harris(R) IconStation(TM) SD/HD on-air branding system and the Harris(R) ADC(TM) Playout Automation application, which is included in the Harris(R) H-Class(TM) application platform. Additionally, Business Technology, Inc.'s (BTi) Attendant Solutions(TM) software products, which are highly interoperable with both IconStation(TM) and the ADC Playout Automation application, will collect data from multiple sources and use that information to drive SD and HD informational graphics to air on the IconStation(TM) system. An interface between BTi's Branding and Promotions Attendant Solution and the ADC Playout Automation application will bring together traffic, graphics and automation for enhanced control of static or animated graphic files. BTi's Branding and Promotions Attendant Solution will have real-time access to the ADC(TM) schedule information for any necessary last-minute changes to the ADC(TM) Playlist.

"Harris has eliminated the restrictions that can exist among automation and master control/branding device interfaces," said Sterling Davis, vice president of engineering at Cox. "The flexible and highly configurable interface between the Harris branding and automation system provides Cox with a high level of control over our channel branding."

IconStation(TM) is one of the first branding solutions to combine logo insertion with multiple, real-time data crawls and a squeezeback DVE for maximum channel branding impact. IconStation(TM) simplifies the creation, display and maintenance of a consistent "brand," with key features such as simultaneous Program/Preview. The ADC Playout Automation application fully automates the dubbing, management and playout of program material from video disks and VTRs, and supports a full range of GPI-controlled devices. ADC(TM) delivers affordable, flexible solutions that are designed to meet current requirements and provide a platform on which to grow.

Microsoft Announces PlayReady at 3GSM World Congress 2007

At 3GSM World Congress 2007, Microsoft Corp. announced PlayReady(TM) technology, a new multimedia content access technology optimized to meet the needs of mobile operators and handset manufacturers for digital entertainment and commerce. Supporting multiple content types, and flexible rights, Microsoft PlayReady enables operators to provide a range of new services tailored toward growing consumer interest in mobile digital media. Leading mobile operators worldwide, including Telefonica, O2, Verizon Wireless, Bouygues Telecom, and Cingular Wireless, now the new AT&T, are today indicating plans to implement Microsoft PlayReady technology. In addition, Microsoft is working with mobile industry software developer PacketVideo to showcase a fully operational demonstration of Microsoft PlayReady for the first time, at the Microsoft booth, No. 1D19 in Hall 1 at the 3GSM conference.

"Our wireless partners worldwide asked for a single system to power a growing array of business models and consumer scenarios -- the result is Microsoft PlayReady," said Amir Majidimehr, corporate vice president of the Consumer Media Technology group at Microsoft. "With consumer demand for digital goods of all types growing exponentially, this technology delivers a foundation for the future and accelerates the transparent delivery of rich content to consumers."

Demand for mobile entertainment, with worldwide revenues of nearly $19 billion in 2006, continues to grow across all sectors, including music services, ring tones, games and video. The flexibility of Microsoft PlayReady technology makes it attractive for leading mobile operators looking to deploy next-generation entertainment services, including Telefonica, O2, Verizon Wireless, Bouygues Telecom, and Cingular Wireless, now the new AT&T, which today are announcing their support for Microsoft PlayReady.

New low cost DVB-SCPC from ADVANTECH

ADVANTECH Satellite Networks and ADVANTECH Satellite Equipment, two divisions of Advantech AMT, Inc., have announced the availability of their new low cost DVB-SCPC system offering. The newly launched system features the world’s first dual capability DVB-SCPC & DVB-RCS terminal, SatNet terminal model S5400.

“The DVB-SCPC VSAT system is the right solution to complement our DVB-RCS hub and terminal product line,” stated Don Osborne, president of ADVANTECH Satellite Networks. “Customers sometimes require small VSAT system deployments and require the dedicated bandwidth connectivity offered by SCPC remote-to-hub return links. We offer the world’s most affordable DVB-SCPC hub and terminal solution, which can easily be upgraded later to a full-featured DVB-RCS system as the customer’s network size expands over time.”

“ADVANTECH’s DVB and SCPC modem business is growing to offer complete system solutions, and our customers will certainly be able to benefit from this”, added Vagan Shakhgildian, president of ADVANTECH Satellite Equipment. ADVANTECH offers a complete suite of DVB, SCPC and DVB-RCS IP datacasting and networking solutions.

Costly modem replacements at remote sites are completely avoided. “ADVANTECH continues its tradition of innovation. We have now successfully integrated technologies from our leading edge DVB and SCPC modem product lines together with our Satellite Networks low cost terminal product line,” says David Gelerman, CEO of ADVANTECH. “Customers are not locked in anymore with their SCPC equipment investment. Starting with a small SCPC-based network, they can easily migrate to DVB-RCS while re-using the same user terminal equipment and hub outbound DVB equipment.”

Orders for SCPC/DVB-RCS hubs and terminals are being taken now. The S5400 terminal product datasheet is available on the SatNet website as is a detailed white paper on IP datacasting and networking which can be downloaded from the corporate site. For more information, contact ADVANTECH Satellite Networks, or visit the ADVANTECH in booth 317 at Satellite 2007 in Washington D.C. February 19-22.

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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

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RESEARCH NEWS

Mobile TV & Video Survey Results

With mobile TV just beginning to take off in the United States, service providers can learn from the experiences of mobile TV users in Europe. A survey of 22,000 European mobile service users commissioned by Tellabs revealed that former users of mobile TV and video now outnumber current users by more than 19%. The research, conducted by M:Metrics in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France and Spain, cited price, reliability and quality issues as the main reasons why users do not come back for more.

"Pricing has already been highlighted as a stumbling block for recurrent use of mobile video and TV services, but we were surprised by just how much value users place on quality and reliability," said Paul Goode, senior analyst, M:Metrics. "Once the basic requirements of quality and reliability are good enough, the focus will rightly shift to issues of programming, brands and marketing in addition to price. This research highlights the need to address quality and reliability so the industry can retain viewers, which is a key part of growing audience numbers."

Forty-five percent of European mobile video and TV users cited pricing issues as a factor causing them to switch off the services. And nearly a quarter (24%) of users who had tried mobile video and TV stopped using it due to concerns about service quality and reliability.

The split between perception and reality was most pronounced in the United Kingdom. Only 6% of those who had never used mobile TV and video cited quality and reliability as reasons not to try such services, but 29% of users had stopped using services because of quality and reliability.

"Mobile companies in the United States can learn a lot about customer acceptance of mobile TV and video services from this survey," said Don Hutton, vice president, Tellabs. "It shows how important it is to have efficient backhaul networks that can satisfy the high expectations of mobile TV users."

New high-bandwidth services such as mobile video combined with the increasing number of mobile users cause strain on backhaul networks. This capacity crunch can directly affect the quality and reliability of new 3G services. Service providers need a backhaul architecture that automatically allocates bandwidth and priority to prevent bottlenecks. To ensure users can enjoy mobile TV, operators are migrating to pseudowire-based platforms that enable Ethernet backhauling with strict Quality of Service and high reliability. Tellabs addresses these needs with the Tellabs(R) IntegratedMobile(SM) solution. It enables service providers to act now and ensure their transport networks can deliver the services to match the hype.

DTV in China Much Lower than the Global Average

A new report from R&M surveys the development course and the status quo of China's Digital TV, compares China's TV industry with that of developed countries, analyses China's related policies, explores the industrial chain and provides possible development trends on the basis of a full range of statistics and cases.

Digital TV is an information service platform where digital signals are adopted from the TV programs, signal emission and transmission to TV sets. With information capacity four to fivefold that of ordinary TV and horizon definition three-odd-fold that of ordinary analog TV, Digital TV not only supports the future Scanning Standard signal, but also supports certain horizontal scanning signal of cable TV, AV, DVD, Progressive DVD, computer, digital camera and digital video camera ,etc.

Globally, from the satellite digital TV started in 1994 to the Digital Television Terrestrial Broadcasting started at the end of 1998, digital TV has started up completely. By the end of 2005, there have been 170 million consumers of digital TV worldwide, increasing by about 40 million consumers compared to 2004. The UK has the highest pervasion ratio of digital TV all over the world at 70%, followed by USA with a pervasion ratio of 55%; while in Japan it is 50% and in Europe it's about 30%; globally a little more than 16% on an average.

It is obvious that the digital TV pervasion ratio in China is much lower than that of the globally average level, even a bigger gap between UK and USA respectively. Reasons for this are various, including policy, funding and the lack of content, etc.

China's cable TV (CATV) industry has a history of 30 years up to 2006. Through years of development, CATV is now the largest cable TV network throughout the world and has become one of the most important components in China's radio TV industry. Currently, China's digital TV is mainly cable digital TV relying upon the CATV network.

Digital mobile TV realizes the broadcasting and receiving of digital programs through radio digital signal emission and ground digital receiver, taking buses, taxis, subways, light rails, business cars and personal cars, etc as its carriers. In a sense, mobile TV has become the best information channel of some citizens.

China started to transmit CCTV programs nationwide with communication satellites in 1985. For the past 21 years, China has made a great progress in satellite broadcasting & TV technology. The adoption of satellite digital compression technology elevates the signal quality of TV programs from CCTV or provincial broadcast TV stations and expands the population coverage of broadcast and TV. Thanks to satellite television 1,226 million Chinese were covered in 2005, with a coverage ratio of 95.81%, much higher than the 68.3% in 1985. Yet due to a certain policy factor, live broadcast of digital TV in China is still being restricted to some extent. Anyway, nothing can hinder its development trend in the long term.

Compared with developed countries, China has lagged far behind in the field of digital TV, yet it made rapid progress in 2005; altogether 4.13 million Chinese subscribed digital TV, increasing by over twofold compared to the previous year. Among them, 3.97 million were digital cable digital TV subscribers.

Also, problems can be found in China's DTV industry: backward standards, difficulties in network consolidation, deficient terminal, immature market, serious shortage of content, deep-rooted receiving habit, want of price system, immature core technology, incomplete DTV industrial chain, need of further probe in business modes and systems. All these factors severely restrict the development of the DTV industry in China.

It can be seen from the development trend that DTV is bound to substitute for analog TV. However, as to digital pay TV, China is still exploring a suitable operation mode and there is still a long period of time before its maturity. SARFT (The State Administration of Radio Film and Television) of P.R.C. is always vigorously popularizing DTV in China. The Chinese government, along with channel suppliers, channel integrators and cable network operators is zealous about the popularization of DTV, offering a fairly good and unique circumstance for the development of digital pay TV. With the rise of DTV, China has established relevant policies to gradually eliminate analog TV and enter the era of DTV. China has planned to stop the transmission of analog TV programs nationwide by 2015. Meanwhile, as the wide spread of DTV, there will be some new trends in operation modes. Thereupon, we can say that DTV will have a bright future in China.

DTV Contributes to Strong Growth of STB Semiconductor Market

Globally, the set top box market has been experiencing strong growth in unit shipments and revenues, with the former reaching 59.0 million units in 2003. Set top boxes have met with considerable success in Europe and North America, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are now looking to repeat this success in other parts of the world. OEMs are facing increasing pressure from cable TV operators and subscribers for higher interactivity and greater control over the cable TV viewing experience. The development of interactive functions such as video-on-demand (VOD) and personal video recorders (PVRs) is changing the architectural behavior of digital cable set top boxes.

“With cable TV operators trying to introduce new applications such as high definition television (HDTV) and digital video recorder (DVR), the demand for advanced technology that can help implement these applications effectively is rising,” says the analyst of this research service. "The move toward digital television has contributed to much of the growth of the set top box semiconductor market." As the penetration of HDTV in homes increases in line with growing consumer demand for superior quality video content, the challenge for OEMs is to ensure that set top boxes have the required functionality to make this possible. As compression techniques increasingly move toward providing clear digital content, OEMs need to consider implementing MPEG-4 decoding techniques in future set top boxes.

The world set top box semiconductor market earned revenues of $1,778.4 million in 2006 and is expected to increase to $4,237.7 million in 2010. Unit shipments are likely to experience high growth rates, with average selling prices declining year-on-year. The emerging trend of replacing mechanical tuners with silicon tuners, already observed in cable modems, is likely to gain ground in set top boxes as well. Silicon chip tuners available today possess the ability to receive both analog and digital video channels, which could help make set top boxes compact. Moreover, silicon tuners offer various advantages such as fewer integrated components, less power consumption, and low heat dissipation.

“As an increasing number of additional functions are integrated into set top boxes, the requirement for silicon tuners is on the rise,” says the analyst. “There is a need for compact and cost-effective silicon tuners to enable additional functions such as picture-in-picture and PVRs.” There is also a rising trend among OEMs to transition from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 decoders, as they enable set top boxes to deliver higher-quality digital content in a more efficient manner. However, the key challenge that lies in this stage of transition is meeting the requirements of HD.

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