|Main - Sample Issue - Subscription Request - Archives|
w/e January 7, 2007 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2004
Product News | People in the News | Research News
IPTV Growth Driver for equipment in 2007The number of subscribers to Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) services worldwide is expected to nearly triple in 2007, helping to drive a strong increase in sales of wired communications equipment and related semiconductors for the year, iSuppli Corp. predicts.
"The year 2007 represents an inflection point for IPTV where the technology will no longer be only for early adopters but those in mass market will also jump on board," said Steve Rago, principal analyst for networking and optical communications at iSuppli. "This IPTV transition is occurring simultaneously around the world, so everywhere regionally will see an increase in subscribers."
Global IPTV subscribers will reach 14.5 million in 2007, up 192.4 per cent from 4.9 million in 2006, iSuppli predicts. By 2010, worldwide IPTV subscribers will amount to 63 million, Rago said. As the number of subscribers grows, companies will spend more on equipment that can increase network bandwidth and capacity. Partly because of the IPTV surge, global factory revenue for wired communications gear will rise to $101.4 billion in 2007, up 7.2 percent from $94.6 billion in 2006. This growth rate is nearly double the 3.7 per cent expansion in 2006.
Moving up another level of the supply chain, semiconductor sales to the wired communications gear market also will benefit from IPTV's ascendance. Global revenue for wired-communications-oriented semiconductors will expand to $19.4 billion in 2007, up 18.3 percent from $16.4 billion in 2006. In comparison, chip revenue to the wired gear market grew by only 10 percent in 2006.
LCD HDTV Sales to Decline?Some industry observers are saying that LCD HDTVs will soon dominate the flat-screen category. However, a new study says LCD sales may cool down in 2007.
iSuppli, a research firm, said that price declines will slow down the LCD market overall. In 2007, iSuppli says, global LCD TV shipments will increase to 62.5 million, a 57 percent increase over 2006.
However, LCD shipments jumped 95 percent this year, the group says.
Additionally, the decline in growth may hit LCD TV makers in the wallet. iSuppli predicts that global LCD TV revenues will rise just 20 percent in 2007, compared to 76 percent this year.
The LCD HDTV is battling the Plasma HDTV for the growing flat-screen market. While Plasma TVs are currently in more homes, LCD sales have been rising fast, leading some to forecast that it will pass Plasma for good in the next year or so. LCD makers have launched several models in the 40 to 50-inch category this year with great success.
Earlier studies have also said Plasma sales growth may slow in 2007.
Despite the predicted slowdown in growth, iSuppli says LCD is still growing faster than most new CE products.
"Regardless of the slowdown, the LCD TV market remains in a phase of explosive growth, mainly due to booming sales of large-sized sets," said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli.
Patel says LCD makers will likely continue to focus on the 40-50-inch category in 2007. iSuppli forecasts that LCD TV shipments in the 42-44 inch category will reach 1.1 million units next year, an increase of 87.7 percent.
"Premium LCD TV brands will benefit from sales increases due to these rapidly plunging prices," Patel said. "But value brands also stand to gain significantly."
WABC Switches to HDTV NewsWABC, the ABC affiliate in New York, is now broadcasting its local news programs in High-Definition TV. The station switched to high-def news about a month ago, according to high-def message boards and Broadcasting & Cable magazine.
However, WABC has decided not to issue an official announcement on the switch, which is unusual. Other local stations around the country have issued press releases and done other promotions after converting to high-def news.
"It's not a big deal, we're just doing our thing here," Dave Davis, WABC's general manager, told B&C.
WABC's news team is broadcasting HD pictures from the studio, newsroom and other indoor facilities. However, field reports are still in standard definition.
B&C reports that the station has also installed a high-def camera atop the Millennium Building in New York to provide a panoramic view of the city.
WABC is the second local station in New York to switch to high-def news. WNBC began broadcasting its local news programs in HD last September.
Back to SCRI News Briefs Index
Liberty Media eyes Cablevision unitLiberty Media Chairman John Malone is gauging the interest of Cablevision Systems Corp.'s controlling family in selling the Rainbow Media unit, reports the New York Post. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the Post said the talks amount to "informal chatter between friendly moguls."
Rainbow Media, which manages the AMC, IFC and WE: Women's Entertainment cable networks, is a subsidiary of Cablevision, which is controlled by the Dolan family. The talks could become more serious as Cablevision shareholders become increasingly restless with the company's silence on a decision on the family's $19.2 billion buyout proposal. Cablevision has set up a special committee to review the family's offer, but has yet to publicly approve or reject it.
A deal for Rainbow's programming assets could generate more than $2 billion, the Post reported. In December 2006, Malone agreed to swap an $11 billion stake in News Corp. for control of satellite TV provider DirecTV and other assets.
AT&T Expands HDTV ServiceAT&T has added High-Definition TV service in the markets of Indianapolis, Hartford, Connecticut and Northern California's San Jose and Bay Area.
Previously, the telco was available only in the Texas cities of Houston and San Antonio. But AT&T began rolling out the service to more markets this week, although its availability is still limited in those cities.
For instance, several Indianapolis area counties can get AT&T TV, but not residents in the city of Indianapolis itself.
AT&T has said that it would offer TV service (including HDTV) in almost 20 markets by year's end. The telco has not revealed which cities would get the service.
AT&T and rival telco Verizon are hoping to compete with cable and satellite in the lucrative TV business. Verizon has already unveiled TV service in several markets.
LIN TV & Verizon DealLIN TV Corp. has reached an agreement with Verizon for retransmission services of its broadcast stations through Verizon’s FiOS TV to consumers in LIN TV’s markets, providing greater choice for subscription television and on-demand programming via Verizon’s all-digital, fiber-optic network.
“We are pleased to be partnering with an industry leader like Verizon to offer LIN TV station viewers a rich experience and provide households with more choice and competitive pricing,” said Vincent L. Sadusky, president and chief executive officer of LIN TV Corp.
The agreement grants Verizon the right to LIN TV’s locally produced content, including market-leading local newscasts, for Video on Demand (VOD) and to carry both the analog and HDTV signals of all the LIN stations in markets where Verizon provides FiOS TV service. WAVY-TV NBC 10 and WVBT-TV FOX Channel 43, both serving the Norfolk, Virginia, market will be the first of LIN TV’s stations to air on Verizon’s FiOS TV.
Cine Gear Expo ReportThis report is by Frank Moldstad at SCRI's online partner, DigitalMediaNet.
LA's Wadsworth Theater was the venue, although exhibits were in outdoor tents. Cine Gear Expo celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer the way it always has: with a gathering of the filmmaking clan. Starting out in 1996 with a party on the Paramount lot, the event has grown steadily while retaining its focus on cameras, lights, dollies, cranes and those who use them.
This year’s Cine Gear Expo was held in June on the grounds of the Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles, and drew roughly 8,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors, according to Karl Kresser, president of the Cine Gear Expo group. Ten years ago, Kresser was working for the camera company Otto Nemenz International, which held a party with a couple of other companies on the Paramount Studios back lot.
“From there, it just developed into this great show. It’s a social gathering, and most of these people are really from the industry,” Kresser says. “So we try to keep it that way. It’s a place where a cameraman often catches up with a gaffer and they discuss jobs and what’s coming up.”
Panavision entertained showgoers with minature golf, and digital 2K workflow demos in trailer at rear.
The park-like setting of this year’s Cine Gear Expo allowed exhibitors to spread out around tent-based exhibits, adding to the social atmosphere. Panavision even erected a four-hole miniature golf course in its area. Nearby was a grove of Panavision’s Millennium and Genesis digital cameras.
Other digital film camera exhibitors were Canon, Panasonic, Dalsa, JVC, Sony, Arri and Red Digital Cinema. As a walk around the grounds of Cine Gear Expo revealed, the latest generation of specialized HD cameras is being rapidly adopted by filmmakers.
“The utilization has been much better than we thought it would be at this early date,” noted Albert Mayer, Jr,. Panavision’s VP of Technical Marketing. Panavision’s Genesis camera, developed with technology partner Sony, was introduced a year and a half ago. It has already been used for several major motion pictures, including Scary Movie 4,
Both Panavision and Dalsa featured demonstrations of digital-to-film workflows using their cameras, addressing one of the top issues on the minds of many attendees who are contemplating the brave new world of digital cinematography.
“This year there’s a lot of talk about workflow, what happens after you record the image. And where you are going to go, compressed, uncompressed, recording on tape, or direct onto a hard drive. So there’s a lot of energy and a lot of excitement going on in that area,” Kresser said.
Dalsa, which introduced the Origin 4K Digital Cinema camera last year, had a large tent devoted to showing its full 4K workflow. “We try to make it a lot simpler than everybody else, and it does work very well,” said Dalsa’s Syrous Nabation. "It’s just like a 35mm camera, with the lenses and so forth.”
Nabation said the Origin camera has been used on multiple productions, the latest being a series of movie shorts for Snickers candy featuring The Black Eyed Peas that began airing two weeks ago. Called “Instant Def,” the episodic series will appear in theatrical trailers, TV commercials and on the web.
Also, a film shot with the Dalsa Origin will be released in about a month and a half, Nabation said. “They’re in the process of doing film on one feature that’s going to be released soon. But we are under NDA, so we can’t say what it is,” he added.
In addition to digital cameras, there were plenty of nuts-and-bolts filmmaking tools being exhibited at Cine Gear Expo. Giant boom arms seemed to be bobbing and weaving overhead around every corner. There were solutions for mounting cameras on SUVs, helicopters and even jet planes.
One of the more interesting products was the MK-V AR System, a handheld device that allows camera operators total flexibility in moving from high to low shots and all points between. Being demonstrated by cameraman Stephen Campanelli on a grassy lawn near the MK-V booth, the giant baton-like contraption drew crowds as he swiveled the arm around. The picture, displayed on a built-in monitor, remained stable no matter how he moved the camera.
“There is a learning curve. But I’ve had it about a week now, and I’ve massively improved just this morning,” said Campanelli, who regularly works as a Steadicam operator with Clint Eastwood.
Other creative camera devices and harnesses were being shown by the Walter Klassen FX company, which shared a booth with MK-V. Among them was the HT Hardmount, which allows a camera to be securely mounted on a specialized Segue-type DC Servomotor-powered scooter called the Handsfree Transporter. The HT Hardmount allows camera operators to cruise around without bearing the weight of a camera rig.
Among the other camera accessories on display at the show was OConnor ‘s new Cine HD Aluminum Tripod. “It’s a Mitchell-style aluminum tripod for HD and film production,” said OConnor’s Bob Low. “It’s really a heavy duty single-stage tripod with a ground spreader, and it will hold up to 400 pounds, although you’ll never need to put that much on it.”
OConnor sells both standard legs and baby legs for the Cine HD tripod – the baby legs help with lower shots, since the ultra-stable single-stage design doesn’t go as low as a dual-extension tripod would. “It’s really a feature film package. You’d probably buy both tripods and a single spreader – it works for both,” Low said.
And if your productions need some serious lighting power, Mole-Richardson Co. showed a prototype of a new 10,000-watt Tungsten PAR that will be available this fall. It uses a specially designed GE 10K Tungsten Halogen lamp, which is horizontally mounted. The design includes a highly polished parabolic reflector, and the company says the Tungsten PAR will produce output equivalent to a Type 4251 20K Fresnel lamp.
“It uses a new socket base -- instead of the standard G 38 base, it’s a G51, which means the actual pins, as well as the sockets on the globe itself, are larger. This supports the globe a little bit better, because it is going to be on an X axis, not straight up and down,” said Mole-Richardson sales representative Justin Memovich.
Many of the products on display at Cine Gear Expo are not often exhibited at trade shows, which makes it valuable place for attendees to see new film production gear up close. The show’s popularity has led show organizers to eye a new market for their focused niche.
“Our next step is, we’re going to do an East Coast show this year,” said Karl Klassen of the Cine Gear Expo Group. “It’s going to be Nov. 10 and 11 in Miami.” The target audience is the East Coast film community, as well as Latin America, the Carribean and Europe.
“Last year, we had people show up from 38 countries,” Klassen said. “I haven’t gotten all my data yet, but I was told that people from more than 40 countries came this year, specifically for this show. The Cine Gear name brand has really grown.”
Back to SCRI News Briefs Index
Avid Reports on State of IndustryThe following report is by Charlie White at SCRI's online strategic partner DigitalMediaNet.
What's the state of the broadcast industry today? We asked key broadcast product vendors the same five specific questions about their products, customers and growth areas they see for their companies and the broadcast industry in general. We now simultaineously publish the answers of all the companies that responded to our query, in hopes of giving you a good idea of the issues on the minds of broadcast equipment suppliers circa late 2006.
The following companies responded: Avid Technology ; Grass Valley ; Harris Corporation; Panasonic Broadcast; Quantel ; Autodesk Media & Entertainment ; AJA Video Systems . SCRI will publish a response form each on a weekly basis, starting here with AVid.
1. Tell us why your biggest-selling product is so successful.
Apple Launches Slamdance PodcastThe Slamdance Film Festival announced that Apple is launching the "Slamdance Podcast" on iTunes. In a unique creative partnership, the video Podcast will include trailers and screening times for many of the festival's films, as well as festival highlights, alumni updates and other unique clip content, all for free and available for download to anyone with a new video iPod or on their Apple computer. In conjunction with the Podcast itself, Slamdance will host a Podcasting screening and discussion led by the filmmakers behind FOUR EYED MONSTERS a world premiere Slamdance 2005 competition feature which has evolved into one of the most popular and original podcasts on iTunes.
"The Slamdance Podcast will be a great way for people both in Park City and around the world to get a taste of Slamdance and our filmmakers," said Slamdance Co-Founder-at-Large Dan Mirvish. "There are going to be a lot of celebrities, Hollywood execs and others with fancy new iPods in Park City. Now they'll have something relevant to watch."
Slamdance filmmakers were among the first to embrace video Podcasting when Apple announced the new technology last fall. The FOUR EYED MONSTERS Podcast has shown how creative Podcasts can be used to build an audience in order to get distribution, while Mirvish has used his own Podcast to add bonus content and fan contributions for his film OPEN HOUSE which has already been released. Currently there are 23 Slamdance Podcast episodes, 19 of which are from this year's filmmakers and more will be added throughout the Festival. "Apple realized that Slamdance filmmakers were already on the vanguard of this new medium, so it seemed a natural extension to partner with the festival as a whole," said Slamdance's Marketing Manager Kate Walker.
Avid to Present at Needham & Co. Growth ConferenceAvid Technology announced that Paul Milbury, vice president and chief financial officer, will present at the Needham & Co. Growth Conference on Tuesday, January 9, 2007, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST at The New York Palace Hotel in New York City. An on-demand audio webcast of the presentation will be accessible through Avid’s Web site during the conference and for a limited period following the conference. To listen, visit www.avid.com/company and click on “investor relations.”
Avistar Gets $10 Million Line of CreditAvistar Communications Corporation, a video collaboration platform provider, announced the signing of a $10 million dollar revolving credit facility with a major financial institution.
This new facility provides for up to $10 million in debt financing to be used to fund business operations, and has an initial term through December 2007. The credit facility is subject to customary terms and conditions, including several reporting and non-financial covenants. The credit facility is secured by the grant of a security interest in all of Avistar’s assets, tangible and intangible. The facility is also supported by a personal collateralized guaranty from Gerald J. Burnett, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Avistar, increasing the accessibility of the line.
“With this revolving credit facility in place, Avistar Communications Corporation has additional financial flexibility to take advantage of opportunities in the video collaboration marketplace in 2007,” stated Robert J. Habig, Chief Financial Officer of Avistar.
TANDBERG Wins $8M+ US MPEG-4 AVC HD OrderTANDBERG Television announced that it has received an order, valued in excess of $8 million, from a leading North American satellite broadcaster for its market-leading, second generation MPEG-4 AVC HD EN8090 video compression system.
The contract is a continuation of that direct-to-home provider’s deployment of HD content to local markets. The revenue is expected to be recognized in the fourth quarter of 2006 and the first quarter of 2007.
Back to SCRI News Briefs Index
Sony HDR-FX7 ReviewThe follwing report is by David Hague at SCRI's online partner, DigitalMediaNet.
Sony had remarkable success with both the HDR-FX1 – touted as the world’s first HDV camcorder – and its bigger brother the HDR-Z1P. Indeed it seems that there has been an ever flowing outpouring of HDV product from the Sony Japanese factories over the last few years, including the newer AVCHD format both Sony and Panasonic will sway more domestic owners over to the hi-def format.
FX1 owners sadly and loudly lamented the loss of their treasured model, but they should be heartened, by the launch of the new HDR-FX7 with the launch price of the FX7 is A$500 less than the corresponding current price of the FX1!
Another major difference is the body shape, with the FX7 taking on more of the persona of the successful Canon GL1 (XM2) shape than the original and quite novel FX1 with its top mounted and flip-over LCD being a first in this area (and strangely, now almost exactly copied in the Canon XHA1 whilst Sony has reversed to the more traditional side mounted flip out LCD).
The FX7 is also a lot lighter than its predecessor by almost 25% but certainly has a more solid heft with many commentators criticising the FX1 because of its “plasticky” feel. The only criticism of the shape of the FX7 is that some videographers who had a play with this review unit felt it was a little right hand side heavy for single handed use.
But the major talking point will be about image quality. The FX1 was driven by a 3CCD setup and the FX7 by contrast – pardon the pun – uses Sony’s new ClearVid 3CMOS setup. This gives a pixel count of 1120K (1037K “real”) in comparison to the FX1’s 1120K/1070K. This is more than acceptable and definitely the CMOS will use less power.
Video camera engineers I spoke to on a recent Japan visit agreed that CMOS long term is the way to go and equally agree, at this point, CMOS is not quite as good as CCD. However the quality from the FX7 is very, very good in conjunction with the Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens. There is a 20K optical zoom boasting 106-2.8 and a focal distance of 3.9-78mm. Stabilisation is optical.
Functions include auto/manual focussing (by focus ring), and white balance, iris control can both be automatic or manually controlled. Shooting aids include zebra patterning, histogram, guide frames and AE shift.
The flip-out LCD screen is a generous 3.5” and supports 16:9 widescreen with a pixel count of 211,200. The colour viewfinder has 252,000 dots.
Sony has continued their trend of placing the battery compartment on the rear of the camcorder (yay!)and to its right are controls for auto lock, gain, shutter speed, white balance and to activate the onboard menu. With the right hand slipped through the handstrap, the left is free to operate these controls as well as the nicely ergonomic exposure/iris button, ND filter switch and expanded focus and focus buttons. Also In this location is the flip down panel containing Memory Stick port, Bluetooth and unlike the Canon XHA1, an inbuilt HDMI port.
Transport controls for the VTR operation are underneath the flip-out LCD – a design I find annoying as it means you have to use the LCD (and consequently potentially battery life) to review a shot rather than the viewfinder.
At least the LCD is not touch screen, another idea I just cannot fathom.
To the right of the battery compartment is another hideaway panel containing iLink, A/V and component out.
Audio is supplied by an onboard mic just ahead of a hotshoe, but sadly there is no provision for balanced SLR input, a point that may sway pro users to the Canon XHA1 (although you can run a plug in power external mic).
So is the HDR-FX7 a better camcorder than the HDR-FX1? Proponents of the FX1 state that it looks like a more “professional” camera – this seems to be important to some – whereas the FX7 appears as a larger version of the standard domestic camcorder. It is strange that Sony has gone back to the traditional shape, and one can only surmise there was enough criticism of the FX1/Z1P shape to justify a re-tooling. Conversely, perhaps they thought Canon had the right idea all along (despite Canon now copying some FX1 attributes!)
The proof is in picture quality and functionality. Personally, I feel the control ergonomics are better than the FX1, but the use of CMOS slightly – ever so slightly – is not quite as good as the CCD based FX1. Many people I showed however – admittedly not power users – couldn’t tell the difference.
Overall, I’d opt for the extra dollars and get the Canon XHA1 as the twin SLR’s make the difference to me, but if this is not important to you, then the FX7 certainly deserves a long hard look and play to see if it suits your needs.
Sorenson Releases Squeeze 4.5.3Sorenson Media has released Squeeze 4.5.3, which adds two new features as well as improves the quality of material undergoing compression and encoding within the application.
The latest version contains an error log feature for batch encoding that displays the name of any file with an error and error information as the tool continues to encode the entire batch of files. Users can save the error log text file and send it to Sorenson Media for help diagnosing encoding problems. File naming has also been expanded to 63 characters, up from 32.
Maintenance items on Version 4.5.3 include support for encoding alpha channels while scaling; allowing Sorenson Squeeze versions 4.3 and 4.5 to coexist on same hard drive; eliminating pops and clicks on MP3 audio; adding a more robust filter in the Noise Reduction feature, and stopping a memory leak in Apple's H.264.
HD DVD & Blu-ray Capable DVD from LGLG Electronics said it would launch the world’s first DVD player capable of playing both Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD. LG said the new high-definition disc player will be unveiled in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. LG, which was a strong supporter of Sony’s Blu-ray format.
Toshiba is leading a group of manufacturers that includes Microsoft and Intel which are supporting the HD-DVD format while the majority of consumer electronics and PC markers, including Samsung Electronics, Matsushita, Dell and most of the Hollywood studios, are firmly in the Blu-ray camp.
Meantime, Warner Brothers, which helped popularize the DVD more than a decade ago, plans a single videodisc that can play films and television programs in both Blu-ray and HD-DVD, the rival DVD technologies.
Warner Brothers will announce the new disc, which it is calling a Total HD disc, at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Back to SCRI News Briefs Index
PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Samsung Appoints New EVP, Sales & MarketingSamsung Electronics America announced the appointment of Tim Baxter as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Consumer Electronics Division (CED). Baxter will take the helm of Samsung’s CE Division consisting of the award-winning Visual Display (LCD, plasma, CRT and microdisplay), and Digital A/V (Blu-ray, DVD recorders/players, home and portable audio, and camcorders). Tim will report to Mr. JS Park, President of the Consumer Electronics Division.
Baxter comes to Samsung from Sony Corporation of America, where throughout his ten years he rose to become SVP of Strategic Marketing. In particular, he led their Blu-ray efforts including Hollywood studio support negotiations and its horizontal launch strategy, advertising, promotions and PR activities. At different points in his tenure, he had P&L and marketing responsibilities for their TV, home audio, home video and telecom businesses. Tim also spent thirteen years at AT&T consumer products handling marketing, product management and sales for various categories in their residential phone business.
Back to SCRI News Briefs Index
Back to SCRI News Briefs Index