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Insider Report

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

w/e March 18, 2007 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2004

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TECHNOLOGY NEWS

BE's IPTV Production Seminar

Broadcast Engineering’s is putting together a seminar consisting of seven sessions focused on the technical aspects of IPTV production. This track will teach broadcast, telephony, cable, mobile and wireless executives everything you need to know to build an effective IPTV video facility.

Sessions are as follows:

Session 1: IPTV content storage platforms: the basics of common platforms, solutions and equipment needed for IPTV service providers.

Session 2: Routing and switching video: insights on signal routing concepts, design, sizing and bandwidth requirements, as well as requirements to handle HD video.

Session 3: Encoding IPTV video and data: basics of compression, signal grooming and statistical multiplexing for IPTV delivery.

Session 4: Building IPTV control rooms: the heart of an IPTV system: sophisticated, complex, fast-paced and expensive. With innovative ways to rely on automated solutions for storage, monitoring, ingest and automated playout.

Session 5: Troubleshooting and monitoring an IPTV network: how new test solutions and methods, such as cross-layer testing and automated QoS monitoring, can help maintain a high-quality IPTV service.

Session 6: Handling HD: solutions to storing, encoding, bit splicing and transmitting HD video, including a review of the IP and video infrastructure needed to support HD services.

Session 7: Local advertising: insertion and control, automation: building and operating video platforms to ingest, store, playout and log local and network commercials.

NTIA's DTV Transition Rules Supported by NAB, CEA & MSTV

As the nation prepares to complete the transition to digital television, final rules announced today by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) provide much-needed certainty to broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and ultimately the American public, according to the leading trade associations representing broadcasters and consumer electronics manufacturers.

The transition from analog to digital broadcasting in the United States is scheduled for completion on February 17, 2009. Following that date, consumers will require a digital-to-analog converter box in order to continue receiving free, broadcast programming via over-the-air reception on their analog TV sets.

The digital TV transition rules issued by NTIA – the arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce charged with overseeing a consumer coupon program for digital-to-analog converter set-top boxes – reflect the major consensus agreement of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV).

Last fall, broadcasters and manufacturers reached an historic cross-industry consensus on key issues raised by the NTIA in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Among other things, MSTV, CEA and NAB agreed to and recommended minimum performance requirements for eligible digital converter boxes in this unique instance of a government-funded consumer coupon program. The NTIA’s rules are consistent with the industries’ joint recommendations, including assurances that coupon-eligible converters will be verified by the Federal Communications Commission upon NTIA’s request.

The NTIA rules follow the joint recommendations of the manufacturers and broadcasters regarding the features of the basic converter boxes eligible for the coupon program, including agreement that optional functions that aid in the reception or navigation of over-the-air programs such as electronic program guides and “smart antenna” interfaces should not preclude converter boxes from eligibility in the NTIA consumer coupon program.

Also agreeing with the broadcasters, manufacturers, and many other stakeholders, the NTIA did not initially limit eligibility for converter box coupons to analog-broadcast-only households, realizing that limiting coupons in this way would ignore the secondary TV sets in cable and satellite households that are connected to an antenna for over-the-air reception. As emphasized by CEA and the broadcasters, energy efficiency also is a key ingredient of the NTIA program, tied to new energy efficiency requirements for coupon-eligible converter boxes.

“The nation’s move to digital television is proceeding apace, and today’s NTIA action is a vital step in this successful transition. Regulatory certainty is important to manufacturers and retailers that are assisting consumers in preparing for the DTV transition, including providing consumers the option of using digital-to-analog converters. CEA and its members are proud of our role in introducing digital TV, and especially HDTV, to the American public. Consumers are learning about the transition and rapidly embracing digital technology, with more than 50 million digital televisions already in American homes,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro.

“The NTIA’s final DTV rules reflect the appreciation Americans place on having access to free, local television. Both government and industry have an obligation to complete the DTV transition with as little disruption to consumers as possible. The NTIA’s digital converter box coupon program, supported by a broad-based consumer education and marketing campaign, will bring tens of millions of viewers into the digital age,” said David K. Rehr, president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters.

MSTV President David Donovan stated: “The NTIA’s rulemaking helps to assure that all Americans will continue to enjoy the full benefits of over-the-air television, consistent with our program launched in late 2005 to work with manufacturers to develop high-quality, low-cost digital-to-analog converter boxes. It is particularly gratifying that the NTIA followed our recommendations regarding converter-box reception specifications and features, including smart antennas and electronic program guides.”

Blu-ray Widens Lead Over HD-DVD

Blu-ray HDTV DVDs outsold rival HD-DVD by a 2-1 margin in February, the second straight month it has done so, according to a report by Video Business. The publication reports that 250,000 Blu-ray discs were sold in February, compared to 125,000 for HD-DVD. Blu-ray also outsold HD-DVD by a 2-1 margin in January.

Blu-ray, backed by Sony and four of the eight major studios, is competing with HD-DVD for the new high-def DVD audience. Only one studio, Universal, is supporting HD-DVD exclusively; three studios are releasing titles in both formats.

With more titles now available in Blu-ray -- thanks to the greater studio support -- the format could be drawing away from its rival.

“Every week it grows,” Rich Marty, vice president of business development at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, told Video Business. “It’s growing faster than DVD did. Each month it just looks more and more promising.”

The Departed led Blu-ray to a big win in February.

However, Sony's attempt to portray Blu-ray as the inevitable winner in the format war was shot down by Universal who said Blu-ray sales have risen only because of a recent increase in new titles.

“When they start talking about numbers, two-to-one, that’s really about the release schedule,” Ken Graffeo, an executive vice president at Universal Studios, told the publication.

Video Business says that The Departed, which won this year's Oscar for Best Picture, and Superman Returns were the best sellers in both formats during February. The Departed sold more than 20,000 copies on Blu-ray and more than 13,000 on HD-DVD.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Viacom sues YouTube and Google

Viacom confirmed that it has sued YouTube and Google in US District Court for the Southern District of New York for "massive intentional copyright infringement" of its entertainment properties. The suit seeks more than $1 billion in damages, as well as an injunction prohibiting Google and YouTube from further copyright infringement.

The complaint contends that almost 160,000 unauthorised clips of Viacom’s programming have been available on YouTube and that these clips had been viewed more than 1.5 billion times.

According to Viacom, YouTube has built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others’ creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google. "Their business model, which is based on building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content, is clearly illegal and is in obvious conflict with copyright laws."

Viacom suggests that this behaviour is in "stark contrast" to the actions of other significant distributors, who have recognised the fair value of entertainment content and have concluded agreements to make content legally available to their customers around the world.

"After a great deal of unproductive negotiation, and remedial efforts by ourselves and other copyright holders, YouTube continues in its unlawful business model. Therefore, we must turn to the courts to prevent Google and YouTube from continuing to steal value from artists and to obtain compensation for the significant damage they have caused," concluded a company statement

Broadcast technology: strong profits

Broadcast and media technology suppliers in Europe and North America continue to improve their profitability despite a slowing of sales growth over recent months according to the Q1 2007 Industry Index published by the IABM, the organisation that represents broadcast and media technology suppliers worldwide.

The group of more than 60 broadcast and media technology suppliers tracked in the Index represent more than $7.4bn of sales over the last year accounting for some 65 per cent of the value of the global technology supply industry for the sector. The turnover split in the Index between North American and European companies is currently precisely 50:50.

The annual growth in sales is strong at 11 per cent but is down from a high of just over 16 per cent in May 2006 whereas the profit to sales ratio is at 12 per cent, its highest level since the Index started a year ago.

The industry’s largest companies appear to be taking an increasing share of the market with larger companies experiencing the greatest mean sales growth at 15.6 per cent, in comparison to 8.9 per cent for medium and 5.6 per cent for small companies.

IABM chief executive Roger Crumpton comments: "This data shows signs that the broadcast and media technology supply industry, traditional dominated by small specialised suppliers is maturing into one with significant global players."

Google trials targeted TV ads

Google has begun a test run serving up TV commercials to cable subscribers in Concord, California say reports.The pilot project to bring its web based ad-targetting approach to cable boxes represents a foray into the $54 billion U.S. market for TV advertising.

Google since last year has been steering TV commercials to subscribers of cable provider Astound Broadband, a unit of WaveDivision Holdings. When Astound's customers watch TV, some commercials spots they see have been sold to advertisers by Google and delivered to the cable company so they appear in the normal breaks in programming as other ads do. If the system is successful, Google could eventually try to establish itself as a middleman for purchasing TV spots, furthering its stated goal of offering advertisers one-stop-shopping across virtually all media.

While federal privacy law restricts what cable companies can do with "personally identifiable information," the theory is that consumers will be better served seeing ads more relevant to them and will perhaps agree to share information about their habits and interests with Google. Such data eventually might allow Google or others to more specifically tailor ads to individual households.

Granite Broadcasting Q4 Net Revenue Up 14%

Granite Broadcasting Corporation reported fourth quarter and full-year 2006 results.

Net revenue increased 14.0 percent during the quarter and almost 9.0 percent for the full year. Expenses increased 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter and were flat for the full year.

Commenting on the results, W. Don Cornwell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are extremely pleased with our results for both the fourth quarter and full year, as our group achieved solid revenue growth. Revenue from the new station we operate in Binghamton, strong political revenue and solid non-political local growth, particularly in Detroit, Duluth and Fresno, all contributed to our revenue performance. This combined with prudent cost controls resulted in a 41 percent increase in Broadcast Cash Flow for 2006."

John Deushane, Chief Operating Officer, said, "Our stations have done a great job overcoming various hurdles in 2006, including a soft automotive advertising market and reduced network compensation. Our sales initiatives have added $7.0 million in new local direct business this year, and we continue to drive our local business with many new projects for 2007.

Mr. Deushane continued, "We are aggressively taking advantage of opportunities to leverage our local content by expanding local news into new distribution channels and time periods, time-shifting popular programming, as well as cross-promoting and cross-selling across our platform. In San Francisco, our station now airs the only 9 p.m. newscast through our strategic partnership with market-leader KGO. Our stations in Fresno and Peoria also have arrangements in their respective markets to air their locally produced newscasts on their market's MyNetwork TV affiliated stations."

Mr. Cornwell concluded, "We are very proud that our managers have continued to focus on the business and report outstanding results despite the natural distractions attendant with our financial restructuring. We would like to thank all of our employees as well as our customers and vendors for the confidence and support they have provided Granite as we work toward the successful completion of our financial reorganization. We continue to make progress in regards to our restructuring and remain on track for approval of our reorganization plan in mid-April 2007. We are very pleased that the court has approved our disclosure statement, which will be presented to our creditors for a vote by April 3, 2007. In addition, we welcome the court's appointment of an examiner from the U.S. Trustee's Office. We look forward to working with the examiner, whose expanded scope includes reviewing the actions of the Company as well as all third parties, and sharing the process our Board took in creating our reorganization plan. We believe this plan fairly addresses the interest of all our stakeholders and provides the best overall value."

Comcast & Sinclair Extend Retransmission Agreement

Comcast and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. announced that they have reached a four-year extension to their retransmission consent agreement. The agreement, which expires on March 1, 2011, provides for the continued carriage of the analog and digital signals of 37 stations in 23 markets owned or operated by Sinclair. The agreement also provides for the carriage of digital multicast channels which Sinclair is currently broadcasting in Baltimore and Richmond, as well as certain other multicast channels which the stations located in Comcast markets may broadcast in the future.

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COMPANY NEWS

Chyron Reports Upbeat Q4 and 2006

Chyron Corporation announced improved net income for the fourth quarter and full year of 2006. This marks the third successive year of increasing profits.

Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2006, was $26.2 million, four percent higher than the previous year's $25.1 million. Net income for the year was $3.1 million, or $0.07 per share, compared to net income of $0.7 million, or $0.02 per share, for 2005. Included in full year and fourth quarter 2006 results was a $1.7 million tax benefit from the reversal of net deferred tax assets valuation allowances.

Revenue for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2006, was $6.4 million, with net income of $1.8 million, or $0.04 per share. This compares to revenue of $6.8 million, with net income of $0.7 million, or $0.02 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2005.

Michael Wellesley-Wesley, Chyron President and C.E.O., commented, "The increase in 2006 net income to $3.1 million, or $0.07 per share, is an acceptable outcome. I am optimistic that Chyron is positioned to improve upon its operating performance in 2007. Pre-tax income has now doubled in each of the last three years and Chyron ended 2006 with zero debt. We currently have cash and unused credit availability adequate to our anticipated working capital needs."

"The key to delivering a superior performance in 2007 is generation of strong revenue increases while maintaining tight control of expenses at both the gross margin and operating expense levels. Our gross margin improved to 67 percent for 2006 as compared to 62 percent for 2005. Also in 2006 we increased our R&D expenditure by 41% over 2005 levels and as a result we have launched, or are about to launch, several new exciting products and services that should deliver increased revenues for both our broadcast graphics as well as our digital displays business lines in 2007."

"With the proliferation of mobile media, the emergence of HDTV as a worldwide phenomenon, and the democratization of content via the Internet, the emerging opportunities for a graphics innovator like Chyron are significant. To take full advantage of these opportunities in 2007 we must maintain and strengthen our financial resources, remain agile and lean enough to be able to move quickly, and stay ahead of our competitors by introducing innovative products and services, always at the most competitive price points," added Mr. Wellesley-Wesley.

On a full year basis, the broadcast graphics business line reported revenues of $25.4 million, a three percent increase over the prior year, and the digital displays business line reported revenues of $0.9 million, an eighty percent increase over the prior year's $0.5 million. The broadcast graphics business line reported an operating profit of $3.2 million, whereas the digital displays business line reported an operating loss of $1.9 million.

For the fourth quarter of 2006, the Company's broadcast graphics business line's revenues were $6.2 million and its digital displays business line's revenues were $0.2 million, as compared to fourth quarter of 2005 revenues of $6.5 million and $0.3 million, respectively. The broadcast graphics business line reported an operating profit of $0.6 million, whereas the digital displays business line reported an operating loss of $0.6 million.

SeaChange Q4 Revenue Up 21%

SeaChange International, Inc. announced financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter ended January 31, 2007 and for the fiscal year. Total revenues for the quarter were $40.1 million, a 21% increase compared to total revenues of $33.2 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006. Approximately $2 million of VOD-related revenue was deferred as of January 31, 2007, to reflect the bundling of 12 month software subscription services with five system orders. Net loss for the fourth quarter was $3.7 million, or $0.13 per share, compared with a net loss of $3.1 million, or $0.11 per share for the same period last year. Adjusted EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, Amortization and stock-based compensation expense) in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 was a loss of $0.5 million compared to a loss of $1.0 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006. (See note 1 below)

For the fiscal year 2007 ended January 31, 2007, revenues were a record $161.3 million, a 28% increase from total revenues of $126.3 million in the prior fiscal year. The net loss for fiscal 2007 was $8.2 million, or $0.28 per share, compared with a net loss of $12.3 million, or $0.44 per share, for fiscal 2006. Adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2007 was $5.4 million as compared to a loss of $8.2 million for fiscal 2006.

The Company ended the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 with cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities of $55.3 million and no debt, compared to $55.0 million and no debt at the end of the third quarter.

Broadband Revenues impacted by VOD software subscription
Revenues in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 from the Company’s Broadband segment, which includes Video on Demand (VOD) and Advertising Insertion hardware and software, were $20.1 million, an increase of $5.8 million or 41% over comparable revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006. It should be noted that within the VOD product line the Company deferred approximately $2.0 million of VOD-related revenue on January 31, 2007 for five orders with three separate customers who purchased the Company’s VOD software subscription service as part of its systems order. The Company deferred the revenue associated with these orders and will recognize the revenue ratably over the 12 month subscription period.

VOD Systems Revenue Increases 82% year over year
Year over year revenue growth in the Broadband segment for the fourth quarter was driven by an 82% increase in VOD systems revenue, from $6.3 million in the fourth quarter of last year to $11.5 million in the fourth quarter of this year. Consistent with the last several quarters, the Company continued to benefit from strong demand from North American cable customers as well as strength from several European accounts. Remaining VOD revenues for the fourth quarter, comprised principally of software subscription and middleware development revenues, were $4.8 million, an increase of $1.4 million compared to last year’s fourth quarter. Higher year over year software subscription revenue was partially offset by lower middleware development revenue as the Company recorded approximately $1.0 million of fiscal 2007 sales discounts in the fourth quarter in connection with the 18 month extension of a middleware development contract.

Advertising Insertion revenue in the fourth quarter of $3.8 million was $0.8 million lower than the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006 due to a significant amount of revenue recognized in last year’s fourth quarter that had been shipped in prior quarters.

Total Services segment revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 was $18.4 million, which was $2.2 million or 13% higher than related revenue from last year’s fourth quarter due primarily to higher revenues from the Company’s On Demand Group (ODG) subsidiary for VOD-related services for customers in Germany and South America as well as higher VOD-related services revenue tied to the Company’s year over year increase in its installed base of VOD systems.

Software Subscription Traction and Fiscal ’08 Outlook
“We are very pleased with our top-line performance in fiscal 2007 with annual growth of 28% to record revenue of $161 million,” commented Bill Styslinger, president, CEO and founder of SeaChange International. “We not only saw substantial growth in our core VOD server and Axiom software business, but we successfully launched a VOD software subscription program with Comcast as our initial customer in July of 2006. I am happy to report that in addition to the three new customers that purchased software subscription services in the fourth quarter, two additional customers have subsequently purchased these services providing traction to this important initiative. In addition, fiscal 2007 saw an expansion of SeaChange’s presence outside of North America with key customer wins for several of its product lines in high growth markets such as Germany, India, Brazil and Russia.”

Styslinger continued, “Fiscal 2007 also saw an expansion of our investment in engineering and customer service to focus on new product development in VOD server, Axiom software and middleware as well as servicing a wider array of customers. This certainly impacted bottom line results for fiscal 2007 but we believe it provides us the opportunity to fully leverage our projected revenue growth in fiscal 2008. To that end, we reiterate that first half revenue growth in fiscal 2008 should exceed second half revenue growth in fiscal 2007. Furthermore, our initial review of fiscal 2008 second half revenue should allow SeaChange to achieve profitability for the second half of fiscal 2008.”

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PRODUCT NEWS

Avid versus Apple's FCP

The following report is by Kevin McAuliffe at SCRI's online partner, DigitalMediaNet.

The Age old Debate: Avid versus Apple. No, I'm not talking about which came first, the chicken or the egg, or who the greatest hockey player ever was, Mario Lemieux or Wayne Gretzky. I'm talking about who has the better editing program, Apple or Avid. Any time I talk to an editor or producer, I usually hear the same types of comments, and most of them favor Avid, and slam Apple, but as an Avid Editor who made the switch recently to Final Cut Pro, I'm hoping to bring a fresh perspective to an age-old debate. I think the best way to do this is to look at Avid's pros and con's and then look at Apple's pros and con's.

Avid
As I had mentioned before, I was an Avid Editor for 10 years (I still edit on a Media Composer from time to time), and I was a purple-bleeding Avid supporter who thought they could do no wrong. One thing that I love about the Avid, and the Media Composer specifically, is that inside of the Media Composer program, no one makes a better editing application. The software is (more or less) rock solid, with very few bugs or glitches to hinder you from finishing your projects on time, and every possible editing tool you could need or want is at your disposal. For a long time, Avid was the editing standard, and with that, they began to purchase other editing/graphics/compositing companies, such as Softimage, Pinnacle and Digidesign. With that, they began to convert and release newer versions of the applications with the Avid name on them, which all essentially do the same thing. Did you know that Avid offers approximately twelve different editing applications that all more or less do the same thing? Edit. Don't get me wrong, some programs do other things as well (DS - compositing, Symphony - Color Correction), but more or less, they all do the same thing.

Starting at the bottom, you have the Avid Liquid Family - Avid Liquid, Liquid Pro and Liquid Chrome HD, you have Avid Xpress Pro, Xpress Pro with Mojo and XpressPro Studio, then, Avid Media Composer Software Only, Media Composer Software Only with Mojo SDI, Avid Media Composer Adrenaline, Media Composer Adrenaline HD, and finally don't forget about Symphony Nitris and Avid DS Nitris. Wow.... that's a lot of choices, and unless you have a PH D in computer science, or have been freelance editing for 10 years, you will most likely have no idea what all these different programs do, or which one you will need if you are unfamiliar with the post production world. I think they need to keep it simple, and not bog us down with all these different programs.

As I said earlier, no company makes a better editing application than Avid's Media Composer, but unfortunately, what Avid still fails to realize is that in most cases, no editor is just an editor any more. Editors are graphic artists, sound people and compositors as well, and we need our edit programs to be flexible and versatile enough to take this into account. I can't think of the last time that I did a promo where I didn't use Adobe After Effects, and getting my media to and from the Media Composer is always a painful task (unless you are using Automatic Duck's Pro Import AE). Avid says it themselves. . . "Don't settle for less than a complete suite", and I think that Avid is moving in the right direction with Xpress Studio Complete, and I think that they need to expand on this idea to include some kind of motion graphics program (along the lines of After Effects or Motion), because let me tell you that if Avid was to release a half decent motion graphics program that they included with every version of software they released, I can almost guarantee you would see XpressPro and even Media Composer Software editions flying off the shelves.

One last thing that I want to mention about Avid, and this is a strong selling point in their favor, is that when you buy a system from Avid (we'll use an Adrenaline as an example), they supply everything from the breakout box to the drives array and anything else. It's even a good idea to just buy the CPU and monitors from them, as they know better than anyone what CPU's qualify for their different software/hardware configurations.

Avid's Pro's

  • Exceptionally strong editing applications
  • Moving files between Avid Applications and platforms (Media Composer, Protools, Avid DS) is made to be smooth and simple
  • Extensive plug-in packages and AVX effects available Avid's Con's
  • Too many options can make it difficult to make a decision
  • Upgrade paths can be expensive
  • Stringent system requirements

    Apple
    With version 5 of Apple's flagship editing application, Final Cut Pro, Apple has poised themselves to give Avid a real run for their money. Recently making the switch to Final Cut Pro, I have been extremely impressed with what FCP can do at version 5.0. One thing I like about Apple is that as opposed to Avid, you have two choices for editing, Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Express. The main difference between the two packages is one, the price, and two, that you are missing some key programs included in the Studio Bundle (Motion, DVD Studio Pro, Compressor, Cinema Tools), and for the money, I would say to just put down your $1300, grab the bundle and start editing. I have to admit that I was quite surprised when I sat down in front of a FCP for the first time, as I had heard horror stories about how I would have dropped frames all over the place, and the application would be crashing all the time, but if you spend your money wisely, and don't cheap out, you will have a good, strong editing system.

    Another thing that I find is a big plus on the Apple side is that Final Cut Studio is supported on every Intel based machine except the Mac Mini and the MacBook (Final Cut Express is supported on all Intel based machines including the Mac Mini and Macbook). That doesn't mean that it won't run, but it runs really slow, Motion does not support the Graphics card, and Apple won't help you if you run into problems. You won't be editing Uncompressed HD (except on the higher end MacPro Towers), but you will have a great edit system that will be able to edit DV and, depending on the system, HDV.

    Apple Pro's

  • Excellent Toolset for a cheap price
  • You can build the edit system you want for a great price
  • Quicktime based Apple Con's
  • If you're not careful, you can build the edit system you DON'T want
  • Companies developing plug-ins/programs for Mac as an afterthought (Boris Blue, etc.)
  • Not all programs are Universal Binary (After Effects, Photoshop)

    One thing that works as a big plus, but also a big minus for Apple is the fact that I can build the system that I want right from the ground up. I can pick my CPU, my capture card, my storage, my fibre card and essentially configure my system right down to the smallest detail. This is an excellent selling point for the Mac, but can also be its biggest flaw. If you don't know what you are doing, and decide to go with price over power, you could be setting yourself up for big trouble down the road. A perfect example of this is when I was looking at capture cards for an HD edit system, the Kona 2 was available, but the Kona 3 was about a month away. I was told that the Kona 3 was a huge setup from the Kona 2, and so I sat down and did my research by reading quite a lot of material, and calling people who were using the Kona 2, and in the end, I decided to wait a month for the Kona 3, and it was probably the best decision I could have made. Since I have started using the Kona 3, I have had no problems with it what so ever.

    Finally, one thing that I love about Final Cut Pro is that it is Quicktime based. Once my footage is digitized, there's no need to export to different programs to use the files (like on the Avid). All I have to do is minimize FCP, go into my capture scratch, and there are all my QT files ready for Shake, Motion, After Effects, or compressor. Quick and easy, just as editors like it.

    I hope this article sheds a little light on some differences between Avid and Final Cut. People may read this and think I'm Apple biased, but don't get me wrong, Avid make's an excellent edit system. But, Apple makes an excellent edit system as well, and we as the consumers need to start pushing these companies to give us what WE need as editors. If there are not features included that we need, we need to start bombarding these companies with e-mails, or we need to call our local Avid or Apple resellers and tell them what we want, or enhancements that we need to do our jobs.

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    PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

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    RESEARCH NEWS

  • SCRI Data SCRI Data 2007-2008 Broadcast/Pro Video Product Reports

    The 2007 - 2008 US Broadcast/Pro Video Product Reports are currently being published to allow equipment manufacturers time to review the data prior to NAB 2007. Product Reports include a written category overview, analysis and future forecasts, plus quantitative summary tables and charts with annual purchases for 2006, 2007 and 2008 (units and dollars), purchase rates, ASPs ($), brand shares, and other breakouts by product type etc. All data is shown in total as well as by each of the six vertical user markets.

    Product Reports are available for the following product categories: Camcorders; Camera Mounting Systems ; Cameras ; Character / Logo Generators ; Clip/Still Stores ; Composite/Component Encoders/Decoders ; Digital Effects Processors ; Non-Linear Editing Systems ; Graphics & Effects Software ; Graphics & Effects Workstations / Systems ; Master Control Switchers Small ; Production/Post Switchers Small ; RAID Video Storage ; Routing Switchers Small ; Standards / Formats Convertors TBC's / Frame Synchronizers ; Telecine Equipment ; Terminal Equipment ; Up/Down Converters ; Video Compression Encoders: Video Disk Recorders ; Video Monitors \ ; Video Servers \ ; Video Test & Measurement : VTRs

    Global storage market hits 1,030 petabytes

    Demand for networked attached storage (Nas) pushed worldwide disk capacity shipped during the final quarter of 2006 to 1,030 petabytes, new research reports.

    IDC's latest Worldwide Disk Storage Systems Quarterly Tracker said that sales of external disk storage systems for the quarter grew $272m, while the total disk storage systems market grew to $6.9bn, up 4.9 per cent from the prior year's fourth quarter.

    "The adoption of networked storage continues to fuel the market," said Brad Nisbet, programme manager with IDC's Storage Systems Programme.

    "In particular, we saw strong results for Nas which is indicative of ongoing interest in file-related storage.

    "In addition, iSCSI continues to emerge as an alternative connection type for many customers as they look to simplify the environment for less mission-critical applications."

    EMC maintained its lead in the external disk storage systems market in the fourth quarter with 22.1 per cent revenue share, followed by IBM and HP with 18.6 per cent and 13.7 per cent respectively.

    Dell and Hitachi rounded out the top five with 8.1 per cent and 7.3 per cent respectively.

    Among the top five suppliers, IBM and EMC posted the strongest year-over-year revenue growth during 4Q06 at 15.5 per cent and 10.0 per cent growth respectively.

    The total network disk storage market (Nas Combined with Open San) posted 12.7 per cent year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter to more than $3.3bn.

    EMC maintained its leadership in the total network storage market with 28.7 per cent revenue share, followed by IBM and HP with 16.6 per cent and 13.3 per cent respectively.

    In the Open San market, which grew 10.5 per cent year over year, EMC led with 25.3 per cent revenue share, followed by IBM with 18.9 per cent.

    The Nas market grew 21.9 per cent year over year, led by EMC with 41.2 per cent revenue share and followed by Network Appliance with 24.3 per cent.

    The iSCSI San market continued to show strong momentum, posting 78.9 per cent revenue growth compared to the prior year's quarter. Network Appliance led the market with 23 per cent share, followed by EMC with 18.2 per cent.

    "The market for network storage systems priced between $15,000 and $149,999 remained a sweet spot for vendors in 2006," said Natalya Yezhkova, research manager with IDC's Storage Systems Programme.

    "These products grew at a double-digit rate and outsold the higher-priced segment ($150,000 and over) during all four quarters for the first time.

    "Several factors contributed to this dynamic, including the increased adoption of network storage by mid-sized businesses and the growing demand for less expensive, capacity-oriented storage aimed at more non-transactional applications such as digital content, email archives and replicated data."

    How 3G Mobile Networks Will Deliver Enhanced Video Quality

    Research and Markets has announced the addition of "The Fragmented Landscape of Mobile Broadcast Solutions." This report analyses the various mobile TV solutions, including DVB-H, T-DMB, MediaFLO, DAB-IP, MBMS, TDtv and satellite DVB-H.

    Cellular networks are not designed to deliver the same content simultaneously to a large number of mobile users. Basically, every cellular user trying to receive the content on their mobile phone occupies a channel, so the total network capacity that is used grows with the number of simultaneous users. In contrast, a broadcast solution is one of many (multicast), which is a more efficient mechanism for the delivery of mass-market popular content, especially live content. This translates into a better utilisation of network resources and a lower cost of delivery per user.

    Mobile operators don’t have to have a mobile broadcast to offer services like mobile TV or radio – they already provide these services over 3G. With enhanced 3G networks (for example, with HSDPA) they will be able to deliver similar video quality as will be obtained with mobile broadcast solutions. However, they have to consider mobile broadcasting for two reasons: to decrease the cost of delivering these services, which in turn could provide them with the ability to offer more attractive pricing to end users because delivering live multimedia services just through 3G is expected to result in network congestion. In the short term, this will produce point network issues during peak usage. Longer term it could provoke more serious degradation of the overall network performance. One mobile operator told us that it anticipates this type of issue around 2010.

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