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Insider Reporter


Insider Report

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

w/e July 29, 2007 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2007

INDEX

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

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

Open Mobile Video Coalition Doubles Membership

Nine more major television broadcaster station groups have joined the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), taking the group from 281 stations to 422 stations. The new members are the television station groups of Cox Television, Dispatch Broadcast Group, Freedom Broadcasting, LIN TV Corporation, Meredith Corporation, Media General, Post-Newsweek Stations, Raycom Media, and Schurz Communications.

In addition, the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) will also join the Coalition. APTS is a nonprofit corporation which provides public advocacy and other services for the 361 public television stations in the U.S.

These groups are joining Belo Corp., Fox Television Stations, Gannett Broadcasting, Gray Television, ION Media Networks, the NBC and Telemundo Television Stations, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Broadcasting Company, in an unprecedented industry alliance to accelerate the development of mobile digital broadcast television.

“Working together on a mobile DTV standard, broadcasters can become a major factor in the mobile video arena,” added Brandon Burgess, CEO of ION Media Networks, who has been facilitating bringing the broadcast Coalition together. “We are looking forward to working with the technology industry on delivering mobile digital television to consumers.”

The group has established a timeline that calls for parallel development of standards, devices and business models with the goal of a 2009 launch. With that goal in mind, the group has also launched two test markets in Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C. The Coalition has received significant interest from hardware and transmission manufacturing communities and continues to plan active dialogues regarding opportunities in the second half of 2007.

Estimates for 2007 U.S. sales of portable and mobile devices capable of video playback run as high as 100 million units. These include sales of video-capable mobile phones, personal media players, portable game players, imaging devices, notebook PCs, and in-car entertainment devices. With the addition of a low-cost receiver module, each of these devices could be built to receive DTV broadcasts from any of the 1,600 digital television stations in the U.S. that choose to transmit mobile capable signals. DTV spectrum is ideally suited for mobile video. It supports good picture quality, reliable reception inside buildings and on fast-moving vehicles, all using antennas small enough to fit in almost any portable device.

52m HDTV homes in US by ‘08

More than 30 million US households have at least one HDTV, according to figures compiled by the trade group based on data from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), retailers and manufacturers.

An estimated 4.5 million HDTVs were sold in the first half of 2007, 50 per cent more than in the first six months of 2006. CEA projects that 16 million HDTVs will be sold by the end of this year, bringing the US household total to more than 52 million. That could bring the household penetration rate to 36 per cent, with about 20 per cent of homes having more than one HD set.

High-definition media devices, including set-top box and game consoles, are available in some 10,000 North American storefronts. Nearly 2 million units have sold through to consumers.

EU backs Nokia-led mobile TV standard

The European Commission backed a Nokia-led mobile television broadcasting standard this week in a move that could spur growth in the fledgling but potentially lucrative sector.

The lack of a single technology has held back wider take-up for television on cell phones and the EU's support for digital video broadcast handheld (DVB-H) could be the decisive factor in the battle to establish a global standard.

The Commission said on its Web site that DVB-H "appears to be the strongest contender for future mobile TV deployment in Europe" and is already the most popular standard in Europe.

The European Union executive made GSM (global system for mobile communication) mandatory as a cell phone standard in the 1990s, opening the door for rapid growth in the sector. Today, 82 percent of all mobile users around the world use GSM.

So far only DVB-H has a global presence, while South Korea, Japan, the United States and China are embracing local rivals.

Some of the other technologies are also making a play for the global market, preventing services being offered worldwide under a single standard.

Commercial DVB-H broadcasts have started in India and Vietnam, in addition to some European countries, while Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia are to open networks this year.

Japan mobile TV profit under threat

According to "The Mobile TV Insight Report" released by the Mobile Consumer Lab at the International University of Japan, current Mobile TV services run the risk of unprofitable returns, and may fail to attract widespread usage amongst mobile phone subscribers. The results outlined in this report show that Japan's One-Seg users appear to be lowering their usage of the most profitable mobile phone services including Voice and Email, which suggests that troubles could lie ahead for the Mobile TV industry.

According to the author, Philip Sugai, Director of the Mobile Consumer Lab at the University of Japan, "Business leaders across the Mobile TV value-chain must seriously reconsider their approach to delivering television content via the mobile platform, as Japan's current One-Seg users are clearly behaving in ways that could threaten the long term profitability of Mobile TV services."

Back to SCRI News Briefs Index



INDUSTRY NEWS

AT&T Video Share Gains Momentum

AT&T announced the nationwide launch of AT&T Video Share in nearly 160 markets. Video Share is the first-ever service in the U.S. that enables users to share live video over their wireless phones while on a voice call.

AT&T Video Share enables one-way live streaming-video feeds that can be seen by both parties while they are participating in a two-way voice conversation. Once the parties have initiated a Video Share call, either one can be the one generating the video stream for the other to see.

Video Share works exclusively over the AT&T 3G wireless network and is the first AT&T application to use the company's emerging Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) platform. This new platform will be used to deliver a range of new Internet Protocol (IP)-based services and applications and will increasingly enable AT&T customers to seamlessly access services and content over both wireless and wireline network connections.

Ultimately, services such as Video Share will be accessible over any of the three primary screens that customers use most frequently - the wireless device, the PC and the television. AT&T Labs researchers today are perfecting service enhancements that eventually will enable wireless video feeds to be shared over IPTV or PC screens.

To use the service, a Video Share-capable handset is required. Two Video Share service packages will be available for $4.99 a month for 25 minutes of Video Share usage or $9.99 a month for 60 minutes of usage. Users also may choose to pay as they go and pay 35 cents a minute each time they use the service. Video Share minutes are charged only to the sender.

US Cable passes satellite for DVR popularity

DVRs installed in cable households have surpassed the number of those in satellite homes in the US, according to a projections released by The Carmel Group.

"Digital Video Recorders 2007: Time In A Magical Box," projects that nearly half of all US TV homes will be equipped with a DVR system by 2010. Presently, it is estimated there are nearly 26 million DVR users.

The cable TV industry passed the satellite industry in 2006, and now claims the majority of DVR users at 56 per cent, followed by satellite at 38 per cent, the telcos at 1 per cent, and standalone providers, such as Tivo, at 4 per cent.

Media General Reports June 2007 Revenues

Media General, Inc. reported June 2007 total revenues of $72.5 million, a 3.4 percent increase from June 2006, including the revenues of four NBC television stations acquired June 26, 2006. Excluding the new stations, total revenues declined 7.5 percent. Broadcast Division total revenues increased 24.8 percent, including the new stations, and decreased 7.8 percent, excluding the new stations. Interactive Media Division total revenues rose 58.9 percent.

In the Broadcast Division, gross time sales increased $6.7 million, or 28.8 percent, including the new stations. Same-station time sales decreased 7.5 percent, entirely due to lower Political spending in this off-election year. Excluding Political, Local and National time sales increased 1.2 percent. In most markets, Local and National transactional time sales remained soft, particularly at a number of NBC-affiliated stations, including Tampa.

Local time sales increased $4.9 million, or 35.6 percent, including the new stations. Same-station Local time sales declined 1.4 percent, mostly due to lower spending in the furniture and fast food categories, partially offset by higher automotive and transportation advertising.

National time sales increased $3.6 million, or 50.6 percent, including the new stations. Same-station National time sales rose 6.2 percent, as a result of higher spending in the corporate, services, and furniture categories.

Political revenues of $340,000 compared to $2.2 million last June, and represented early campaign spending from gubernatorial and lieutenant governor races in Louisiana and Mississippi and issue advertising in Ohio, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

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COMPANY NEWS

Optibase Q2 Revenue and Losses Up

Optibase announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2007. Revenues for the second quarter ended June 30, 2007 were $6.7 million compared with $5.6 million for the first quarter of 2007 and $4.3 million for the second quarter of 2006.

Net loss for the quarter ended June 30, 2007, was $1.2 million or $0.09 per basic and diluted share. This compares with a net loss of $408,000 or $0.03 per basic and diluted share for the first quarter of 2007, and a net loss of $1.1 million or $0.08 per basic and diluted share for the second quarter of 2006. Gross margin was lower this quarter, at approximately 42%, due to the impact of orders largely comprised of third party equipment. Weighted average shares outstanding used in the calculation were approximately 13.5 million for the second and first quarters of 2007 and 13.4 million for the second quarter of 2006.

For the six months ended June 30, 2007, revenues totaled $12.2 million, compared with $8.3 million for the six months ended June 30, 2006. Net loss for the period was $1.6 million or $0.12 per basic and diluted share, compared to a net loss of $2.4 million or $0.18 per basic and diluted share for the six months ended June 30, 2006. Weighted average shares outstanding used in the calculation for the periods were approximately 13.5 million and 13.4 million respectively.

Amir Philips CFO of Optibase, said, “We are pleased with the steady progress that Optibase continued to show in the second quarter. For several quarters now, both our top-line, and the IPTV market as a whole, have shown improvement”.

“During the second quarter, we further developed our integrated partnerships and OEM agreements. These relationships are important to Optibase’s success in the digital video world as demonstrated by several wins we had this quarter, particularly UT Starcom and Huawei. By strengthening these alliances, we can strategically advance Optibase’s position within the growing IPTV market.

He concluded, “We are pleased with Optibase’s progress to date as we continue advancing our business. With new customers, new applications for our technology and important new partnerships, we are confident in the direction of the Company as the markets we serve continue to take shape.”

RRSat and Soundtrack Channel Team Up

RRSat Global Communications Network Ltd., a rapidly growing provider of comprehensive content management and global distribution services to the television and radio broadcasting industries, announced that the Soundtrack Channel, a cable, satellite, and IPTV channel devoted entirely to movie music and entertainment, has chosen to expand its contract with RRSat. The Soundtrack Channel will broadcast to the US over the RRSat Global Network, using the Galaxy 23 Satellite, making the signal available to cable and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) operators in the US, reaching millions of homes. The RRSat Global Network will provide Soundtrack Channel with a total end-to-end solution, including video content management and distribution services.

In March 2007, the Soundtrack Channel launched services to Asia over the RRSat Global Network using the Telstar 10 satellite.

"Soundtrack's decision to expand its services to the US market through RRSat, after the successful launch over Asia in March, further attests to RRSat's strong commitment to customer satisfaction and its ability to offer leading global distribution and content management solutions enabling customers to further enhance their offering, even to existing markets," commented Lior Rival, VP Sales and Marketing of RRSat. "Through the RRSat Global Network, Soundtrack Channel will have the unique flexibility of leveraging the same program materials to broadcast in different regions, different versions, at different time zones."

Soundtrack Channel is currently available in the United States and several Asia/Pacific markets including Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

Back to SCRI News Briefs Index


PRODUCT NEWS

IMAX signs theatre deal in China

IMAX Corporation announced an agreement with the Nanjing Deji Plaza Co., Ltd. to install an IMAX(R) theatre in the recently opened Deji Plaza Mall, the largest mall in the city of Nanjing. The IMAX theatre will be part of the project's second phase of development, which will include the largest multiplex in the Jiangsu province. The deal was signed following continued strong box office performances from Hollywood movies that have been digitally re-mastered into IMAX's format and released to IMAX theatres. The new theatre is scheduled to open in mid 2010.

"China's IMAX network is expanding in both commercial and institutional markets," said IMAX Co-CEO's and Co-Chairmen Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "We believe that participating in the city's largest entertainment and retail development with a prominent developer such as the Deji Plaza Co., is an effective way to introduce the IMAX(R) brand to consumers in Nanjing."

"The IMAX brand is recognized by consumers in many countries worldwide as the premiere way to experience cinema and it's universal appeal, combined with the ability to show Hollywood movies in a unique and powerful way, makes the IMAX(R) theatre an anchor attraction that will draw more people out of their homes and into the new Deji Plaza Mall," added Madam Zeng Wenwen, General Manager of Nanjing Deji Plaza Co., Ltd..

The new theatre will utilize IMAX MPX(R) technology, designed specifically to enable multiplex operators to more cost effectively enter into the IMAX theatre business, either by retrofitting an existing stadium seating auditorium or via an economical new build. The IMAX theatre will be capable of playing Hollywood event films that have been digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience(R), as well as original IMAX productions in 2D and IMAX(R) 3D.

When IMAX established its Asian headquarters in Shanghai in June 2002, there were two IMAX theatres open in the country, with two more in development. There are currently 12 IMAX theatres open in The People's Republic of China, and the total number of IMAX theatres scheduled to be open by the end of 2010 is more than 25.

JVC Announces New 3CCD HD Hard Disk Drive Camcorder

JVC Company of America announced the launch of a new consumer high definition camcorder that combines a 3-CCD image sensor, high definition 1440 x 1080 recording and embedded 60GB hard disk storage in a compact size that fits in the palm of the hand.

The new HD Everio GZ-HD3 follows the launch earlier this year of the high definition HD Everio GZ-HD7, which combined the image quality of high definition with the convenience and high capacity of recording to a built-in hard drive. With the new GZ-HD3, JVC brings these same benefits to a wider audience in a palm-sized camcorder that's easy to carry and offers point-and-shoot simplicity.

Like the entire JVC Everio line, the new GZ-HD3 offers the benefits of recording to a built-in hard drive. These include long recording time (five to seven hours on HD Everios; seven to 37 hours with SD Everios), no need to purchase and carry removable tapes or discs, direct access to desired scenes, easy scene deletion, in-camera basic editing, and no risk of mistakenly erasing a desired scene. In addition, using a built-in hard drive allows the camcorder to be more compact than designs that record to DVD or tape.

The JVC HD Everio GZ-HD3 will be available in early September, and will sell for about $1,300.

Panasonic's 103-inch 1080p Plasma HDTV Installed in NY City Hall

Panasonic announced that its 103-inch 1080p Plasma HDTV - the world's largest High Definition Plasma TV on the market today - has been installed in New York's newly renovated City Hall. In addition to the 103- inch Plasma, Panasonic also installed its BD-10A Blu-ray Disc Player for playback of 1080p High Definition video content.

The Panasonic's 103-inch 1080p Plasma HDTV will help the Mayor's Office monitor news and play back other video content in High Definition. In addition to television channels, the Plasma HDTV will display real-time 311 call statistics and live video feed from NYC-TV's City Drive Live traffic cameras.

"Panasonic has been a great corporate citizen, and I would like to thank them for their generous donation," said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "New York's City Hall is the oldest in the nation to still house its original government functions, and this desperately-needed renovation, including this 103-inch High Definition Plasma display, has given the building new life - making our office safer, more efficient and more technologically advanced."

"It is a great honor for Panasonic to have the flagship of our market- leading 1080p Plasma HDTVs become a part of New York's City Hall," said Joseph Taylor, Chief Operating Officer, Panasonic Corporation of North America. "Just as this cutting-edge display provides amazingly sharp, crisp video for entertainment purposes, it is also a great way for the city's leaders to share remote video and other data vital to the safe and secure operation of the city's systems."

The 103-inch Plasma TV is a part of Panasonic's line of industry-leading consumer and professional large-screen Plasma HDTV's available in 37" (professional model only) 42", 50", 58" and 65" diagonal screen sizes.

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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

TV Magic Aligns Management Team

TV Magic, one of the broadcast systems integrators, announced a series of internal promotions.

Gus Allmann is shifting from his role as vice president of engineering to a new position as chief technology officer (CTO) at TV Magic, while Pat Thompson, formerly vice president of operations, has been named senior vice president of sales. Frank Geraty, who was previously general manager of TV Magic's Los Angeles office has been appointed the company's new vice president of operations and elected to the TV Magic board of directors. Mark Girard, who was the company's vice president of technology, has been named vice president of engineering in charge of both the company's Engineering Services Department and Support Services Group (SSG), bringing the resources of both groups together to achieve greater responsiveness and flexibility in meeting customer needs.

Avistar Names Lisa Farley to Head Video Adoption Team

Avistar Communications Corp. announced the appointment of Lisa Farley as Director, Client Development and Adoption. Farley will head the company’s video adoption team, which works with customers to optimize the benefits realized from departmental and enterprise-wide deployments of Avistar desktop video solutions.

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RESEARCH NEWS

Big Jump Expected in Chinese Multimedia Phone Market in 2006

China’s multimedia phone market experienced rapid development in 2006 in terms of available models and total shipments, reports In-Stat. The music playback function was the biggest driver to the growth of the multimedia phone market in China last year, the high-tech market research firm says.

“In-Stat’s latest survey shows that camera capability is an under-served function for China’s phone users, which suggests there is still plenty of room for market growth,” says Raymond Yan, In-Stat analyst. “Future drivers for the multimedia phone market will stem from content availability, continuous improvements in semiconductor solutions, higher data rate wireless technologies, and the combination between mobile phones and web 2.0 networks.”

In-Stat research also found the following:

  • Multimedia phone shipments in China will reach 165.0 million in 2011, representing a penetration rate of 81%.
  • High-pixel camera phones will be the next competitive focus in China’s multimedia phone market.
  • Mobile phone makers are aiming to change cellphones into personal communication and entertainment centers.
  • Chinese mobile users show a strong preference for combined MP3 players/mobile phones.
  • Around 70% of Chinese music phone and camera phone owners express strong interest in more high-end equipment.
  • Chinese mobile users express strong interest in mobile phones capable of playing video and receiving broadcast TV programming.

    SCRI RESEARCH NEWS -- NEW 2007/08 SCRI Broadcast/Pro Video Reports

  • IPTV / Mobile TV Report: now available, 14 page Executive Summary and Analysis, with over 120 pages of articles and reports from online sources as well as SCRI Insider Reports. Cost is $995, or $695 for current SCRI Insider Report subscribers and clients. Contactdes_chas@scri.com for more info.

  • Broadcast/Pro Video Product Reports. Tracking purchase history (2006), purchase plans (2007 & 2008), brand shares, etc. for each of twenty five specific product types, from Camcorders to VTRs.

  • Broadcast/Pro Video Macro Industry Overview Report. Over 50 pages of analysis and information on the state-of-the-industry compiled from secondary online research sources including industry news sites, manufacturers sites, as well as SCRI's own weekly online News Briefs and Insider Reports.

  • Broadcast/Pro Video Micro Quantitative Product Data Report. 23-page report containing quantitative data tables, for all six verical end-user markets, and all of the 25 Product categories, as well as in total, with summary tables from 2002- 2008.

  • HDTV / Digital Video Technology Trends Survey: SCRI is now conducting the 2007 HDTV / Digital Video Technology Trends Survey. Coverage this year is comprehensive using SCRI extensive dBase of broadcast and pro video facilities in conjunction with NBMedia (Digital Cinematography, TV Broadcast, TV Technology, Videography, DV, Post Magazines & Portals as well as with Penton's Broadcast Engineering Magazine and the Digital Cinema Society's members. Survey questions were developed by SCRI Consultants with inputs from major clients and industry experts. Survey is online now with results available in the fall. Click here to view online survey

    Contact SCRI Research Director, Des Chaskelson for a copy of the survey questions &/or for more information and/or to place an order.

    Back to SCRI News Briefs Index



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