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IPTV Demand GrowingA new report on IPTV by F&S provides insight into the market for IPTV services and set-top boxes as part of the residential broadband and customer premise equipment (CPE) markets. Highlights fromt he report include:
As customers migrate to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)-based telephony and wireless telephony, incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) are losing access lines, customers, and the associated revenue. Internet Protocol television (IPTV) enables telecom operators to leverage their digital subscriber line (DSL) access networks and customer base with an additional video service in order to stem losses and keep customers. "While initially offering a service similar to that of cable and satellite, the real value of IPTV is in the enhanced services available with an IP network offering," according to the analyst. "In general, operators believe that for their IPTV business plans to succeed they will need 15-35 percent of their current broadband subscribers to sign up for digital TV and/or video-on-demand services as part of the IPTV offerings."
While the Industrial Revolution heralded mass production and automation, the current Information Age has brought mass customization to the forefront. Mass customization enables IPTV subscribers to set preferences and choose from a menu of content to create a personal experience out of broadcast television. IPTV customization includes the ability to time-shift programs, have VCR functionality, watch multiple programs, and choose from on-demand content. Consumers have become accustomed to choice in service subscriptions, content, and device as users of tiered cable services, TiVos, iPods and video on demand.
Consumers are increasingly adopting high definition television (HDTV), pocket video recorder/digital voice recorder (PVR/DVR), and on-demand programming. As the 'iPod generation' expands, people are becoming accustomed to greater choice and the ability to search the Internet for content for viewing on the TV, personal computer (PC), or any other device. This desire for customization, along with value pricing and competition among providers, is expected to spur the market for IPTV-based services. There is a significant demand for niche, older programming and educational programming.
Consumers will pay for programs from other countries. In turn, the service providers are likely to charge either subscription/viewing fees or sell very targeted advertising for this affinity programming, which will defray network deployment costs. In addition, IPTV offers consumers savings over cable services, which have been increasing in price over the past several years. The price increases are exacerbated when one considers that viewers may have 100 channels, but watch only about 20. "With IPTV, customers can choose programming from a variety of sources based on their own preferences, adding value," explains the analyst. "Video on demand programming has proved successful for cable operators with Comcast reporting over one billion total on-demand program views for 2006 from a rotating selection of 800 movies per month."
Telco competition makes Europe IPTV leaderWorldwide IPTV subscribers will reach nearly 60 million by year-end 2011, spurred by both offensive and defensive telco posturing worldwide, a new Parks Associates study claims.
"IPTV: From Quadruple Play to Multiplay" says that European consumers will find their television choices expanding greatly, thanks to a growing number of IPTV providers per country, plus a surge in digital terrestrial offerings and a resurgence by cable providers in certain markets. While Asia has established solid growth to date, the study finds that certain regulations may bar IPTV providers from offering truly differentiated content. Finally, North American growth, spurred by major Tier 1 providers, will reach solid numbers by the end of the forecast period.
"On a global scale, the IPTV experience is going to provide widely-varying levels of success and challenges," said Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates’ vice president and principal analyst. "European incumbents are being encouraged now to enter non-traditional markets, and this has spurred not only growth of multi-channel television delivery, but a whole new level of reliance on residential gateways and the beginnings of truly converged communications services. Asian markets have, in many cases, the necessary infrastructure to support incredible television experiences, but providers may struggle to truly differentiate their offerings from cable competitors."
More HD for DirecTVDirecTV's has added nearly a dozen more HD channels just in time for the summer season. Hoping to stay on track with its "100 high-definition channels by year's end" goal it unveiled plans this week to launch four Discovery HD channels, five HD channels from Starz and CNBC and Chiller in HD.
Under terms of the agreement with Discovery, DIRECTV will launch four simulcasts - Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and The Science Channel - and two other channels yet to be named (or launched) by Discovery sometime in the near future. The HD feeds of the four existing networks will launch in September, DIRECTV said.
Terms of the deal with Starz include the launch of three new HD movie channels: Starz Edge, Starz Comedy and Starz Kids & Family, as well as Starz's East and West coast HD feeds. The new Starz HD channels, which the company said will feature first-run movies, and the coastal HD feeds will also launch in September
Netflix for TVIn an investor briefing Netflix chief financial officer Barry McCarthy seemed to confirm that the online retailer plans to use some type of set-top box to stream movies from its Watch Now Internet movie service to the TV. McCarthy said Netflix has been working on a "solution" to deliver Internet movies to the TV for two years.
McCarthy said some type of device is needed to deliver movies to the TV and said he didn’t think a PC would be the hardware consumers choose. McCarthy said that because Netflix streams its movies, it can use a cheaper type of box that requires only a wi-fi chip, rather than a more expensive box that has a hard drive for storing movies.
In April, CEO Reed Hastings said the company was working on a number of partnerships to deliver Internet movies to the TV. McCarthy predicted that Internet movie services would continue to create proprietary set-top boxes, such as Apple TV, which only delivers movies and other content from Apple’s iTunes. He said a universal box that would allow consumers to choose which Internet service to download movies from would be "nirvana," but he added, "I just don’t see it unfolding that way."
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Wireless Telecom Markets Growing at Record PaceEntertainment is driving the wireless market through demands for broadband applications such as multimedia and data services, with wireless use expected to rise to 270 million people, or 87 percent of the U.S. population, by 2010, according to TIA’s 2007 Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast.
The annual report by the Telecommunication Industry Association analyzes trends affecting the information and communications technology industry. The 370-page book includes an overview of the entire industry, as well as detailed sections on the wireless, landline, equipment and international markets.
Wireless service providers in the United States are upgrading their networks to offer bundled and high-speed services such as music, video games, television, children’s applications, instant messaging and Internet applications. The market consists of transport services, handsets, capital expenditures, test and infrastructure equipment and professional services in support of wireless infrastructure – all of which totaled $190 billion in 2006, projected to reach $267 billion in 2010. Outside the United States, wireless transport services alone totaled $560 billion last year and are projected to total $887 billion in 2010, according to TIA’s report.
“Consumer demand for wireless services is unprecedented throughout the world, and carriers as well as manufacturers are scrambling to satisfy the marketplace needs,” said TIA President Grant E. Seiffert. “Wireless, broadband and television are becoming key elements of a bundled landline package that we predict 77 percent of residential customers will take by 2010, up from 28 percent in 2006,” he added.
Other key facts from the TIA report:
FTC probes Google-DoubleClick dealThe US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has opened a preliminary antitrust investigation into Google’s planned $3.1bn purchase of the online advertising company DoubleClick.
The inquiry began at the end of last week, after it was decided that the FTC instead of the Justice Department would conduct the review. The deal prompted privacy advocates and competitors to raise concerns after it was announced last month. Those concerns and the deal’s size made a preliminary investigation all but certain, according to antitrust experts.
CBS buys WallstripCBS has bought Wallstrip, an online company whose Web site mixes finance with humour, to add to its daily financial news Web broadcast. Wallstrip, which also produces blogs about financial news, will retain a separate identity, CBS said.
The acquisition will increase the original Internet video offerings produced by CBS’s interactive unit. CBS has agreements with more than 10 companies, including AOL and YouTube, to distribute its shows online
Qualcomm Infringes Three Broadcom PatentsBroadcom Corporation announced that a unanimous federal jury has found that certain Qualcomm Incorporated cellular baseband chips and software infringe claims of three Broadcom patents, and awarded Broadcom $19.64 million in damages for Qualcomm's past infringement.
The jury of six women and three men, sitting in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., also found that the three patents are valid and that Qualcomm's infringement was willful, allowing the court to increase the damages up to three times the amount awarded by the jury.
Broadcom plans to ask the court to issue a permanent injunction barring Qualcomm from further infringement of the three patents.
"We are very pleased with the jury's verdict, and gratified that the jurors were able to absorb and evaluate very technical material and arrive at the conclusion that Qualcomm once again is improperly utilizing our patented technology covering cellular baseband solutions," said David A. Dull, Broadcom's Senior Vice President and General Counsel. "Broadcom was an early pioneer in a broad range of wired and wireless communications and multimedia technologies, which are at the heart of the convergence and communications trends that are touching consumers in their daily lives. Broadcom's patents are our company's lifeblood, representing substantial financial investment and the hard work and innovations of our engineers around the world. We are heartened that the legal system has provided redress for Qualcomm's infringing behavior."
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DreamWorks sees cinema’s future in 3DAccording to an aritcle in the Financial Times sourcing Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation. three-dimensional films are poised to revolutionise the cinema industry, says J
Although basic 3D technology has been around for years, Mr Katzenberg said three “magical” factors are combining to bring it into the commercial mainstream: increased power of computers which enables crisper images, digital cinemas and affordable 3D eye-wear.
“It’s the biggest technology advance since the arrival of colour 60 years ago,” Mr Katzenberg told Les Echos, the Financial Times’ French sister paper.
A further advantage, he added, was that 3D films “cannot be pirated”.
From 2009 onwards, all DreamWorks’ films will be in 3D, starting with planned releases, Monsters Vs Aliens, How To Train Your Dragon, and Shrek 4.
The driving force for the switch-over would be the willingness of audiences to pay more to watch 3D films.
“Viewers are willing to pay $5 more per ticket to watch these films,” said Mr Katzenberg. Two-dimensional films would not disappear, but of the 500 films released each year, 15 per cent of them accounted for 75 per cent of cinema tickets sold, he said. “I believe two-thirds of these blockbusters would benefit from being 3D.”
Producers will face extra costs. Mr Katzenberg estimated the additional cost of making an animated feature film in 3D at $12m-$15m, while an action film would cost an extra $5m-$6m.
Cinemas would also have to invest in technology, although for those equipped with digital projectors, the investment would be only $16,000- $17,000 more, Mr Katzenberg said.
He added that it was this new strategy to focus on 3D digital films that had prompted DreamWorks to end its collaboration with British studio Aardman Animations, which makes its films using clay models.
NEWS Corp./NBC Universal Joint Venture Inks Deals for Premier ContentNews Corporation and NBC Universal announced the addition of FUEL TV, Oxygen, SPEED, Sundance Channel and TV Guide to their premium video joint venture’s growing roster of professional content partners. Each network will bring a variety of original content that showcases its unique programming expertise to the new site and video network on a non-exclusive basis.
"Each of our new content partners has a reputation for creating premium entertainment experiences designed to fulfill television viewers’ more eclectic needs," said George Kliavkoff, chief digital officer, NBC Universal and interim CEO of the joint venture. “We are delighted they have all agreed to contribute their compelling content to our venture, which will help ensure our ability to satisfy the more personalized demands of the growing number of Web video consumers."
Under the terms of its agreements with FUEL TV and SPEED, the new venture will distribute both partners’ short-form content across its distribution network and will host their programming on its destination site. The venture’s distribution network currently includes some of the most-popular sites on the Web, including AOL, MSN, MySpace, Yahoo, Comcast and CNET.
T-Mobile USA not for saleAccording to a recent Reuters report, Deutsche Telekom has no plans to sell its T-Mobile USA subsidiary. "We are not even considering a sale," Karl-Gerhard Eick, CFO, said in an interview with Reuters.
The company has already bought 120 new U.S. frequencies that will allow it to catch up with rivals and offer advanced wireless services such as high-speed Internet and video across the United States.
The rollout of a third-generation (3G) network over the next two years is a crucial step for T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest mobile operator in the United States with a roughly 10 percent market share.
Expanding the mobile telephone business of Deutsche Telekom is a key strategy of new Chief Executive Rene Obermann, who has not ruled out making acquisitions. The company is also looking to divest some assets but is not under time pressure.
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Thomson two million cable converterThomson has announced at Anga the sale of its two millionth cable converter. Thomson is marking the milestone with the launch in the converter product line of the DCI1100, a new generation digital cable decoder with broadband connectivity.
Situated in the entry-level decoder category, cable converters are an ideal solution for large-scale digital transition deployments such as those taking place in countries like Germany, China and India. Thomson says the latest product in this category, the DCI1100 is a cost-effective digital cable decoder with built-in broadband connectivity for interactive services via Ethernet or an external modem.
Noise IndustriesNoise Industries, developer of visual effects tools for the postproduction and broadcast markets, announced Noise Industries partners Core Melt, Idustrial Revolution, and SUGARfx have launched “FxFactory Expansion FxPacks” for the new Apple Final Cut Studio 2.0 release. FxPacks are developed by Noise Industries and its partners using the Noise Industries FxFactory Pro plug-in manager. The FxFactory Pro plug-in manager provides non-developers such as visual effects artists a user-friendly graphical user interface to create additional effects for the Apple Final Cut Studio package.
Pricing and Availability for FxFactory Expansion FxPacks Core Melt ImageFlow FX and SUGARfx Video Wall FxPacks are available today for $99.00 MSRP and $59.00 MSRP respectively. Idustrial Revolution Volumetrix 1.03 is available for $49.00 MSRP. Idustrial Revolution Volumetrix 1.03 is a free update for existing Volumetrix customers.
Apple Final Cut Studio 2.0 users can test drive FxFactory Expansion FxPacks by downloading the 15-day trial version from www.noiseindustries.com
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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
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SCRI RESEARCH NEWS
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