Insider Reporter


Insider Report

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

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

INDEX

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

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

ITU Study Group 9 Approves Standards for IPTV and VoIP

The main International Telecommunications Union (ITU) study group for broadband services approved Internet Protocol and advanced HDTV proposals during meetings held Oct. 29 - Nov. 2 at the headquarters of CableLabs®. ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies.

During its Louisville meetings, ITU Study Group 9, entitled Integrated Broadband Cable Networks and Television and Sound Transmission, approved for standardization a major recommendation contributing to the advancement of IPTV, Recommendation J.700 “IPTV Service Requirements and Framework for Secondary Distribution.” Secondary distribution is an ITU term meaning use of a transmission channel for distribution of video/audio programs to users at large, for example, by an over-the-air broadcast channel or by means of a fiber or cable network.

In addition, recommendations relating to second- and third-generation IPCablecom were “consented” or approved for consideration by the full ITU for standardization. These recommendations add to a suite of more than 25 recommendations which have been developed for cable and hybrid networks primarily designed for television and sound program delivery to the home as integrated broadband networks to also carry voice and other time-critical services including video on demand interactive services.

From the beginning of this work on IPCablecom up until now, equipment based upon these recommendations, such as modems, set-top boxes, signaling equipment, interactive television application platform interfaces, digital program insertion, and others have had widespread implementation in networks in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Also, of interest to the movie and theater industries, is Recommendation J.600 “Transport of Large Screen Digital Imagery (LSDI) applications that employ MPEG-2 encoded HDTV signals.” Significant progress was made on a new draft recommendation related to the transport of program signals conforming to the higher levels of the LSDI expanded hierarchy as used for contribution and primary distribution.

The J.600 Recommendation addresses use of a broadband service or channel for transferring audio or video information to a production center where post-production processing may take place before subsequent distribution. Primary distribution is the use of a transmission channel for transferring audio and/or video information from a production center to one or several destination points, for example, to a broadcast transmitting center or the headend of a cable distribution network. Work in this LSDI area has been done with interactions between ITU-T Study Group 9, ITU-R Study Group 6, and other bodies external to the ITU.

The J.202 Recommendation “Harmonization of procedural content formats for interactive TV applications” was updated to reflect the most current version of the ETSI GEM (Globally Executable MHP) standard. GEM forms the common core for similar middleware standards worldwide, including the OpenCable™ Platform in the U.S. and Korea, ARIB in Japan, and the Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) in most of Europe and elsewhere.

The ITU vice chairman for APIs, Charlie Sandbank from the United Kingdom, and the chairman of ITU Study Group 9, Dr. Richard R. Green, President and CEO of CableLabs, from the United States, discussed certain actions being contemplated in the United States by the FCC to require the US cable industry to support an architecture divergent from the J.200 Recommendation supported by the US in the ITU. As a result, the two vice chairmen of ITU Study Group 9 sent a letter last week to the FCC expressing their concerns. The letter is available at http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_ pdf=pdf&id_document=6519809294. (Due to its length, this URL may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.)

More CE devices enter DTV Market

Many established companies such as Google, Amazon, and NBC, as well as newer entrants such as Joost and BiBC, are aggressively pursuing opportunities in delivering content to consumers via the Internet to the PC or via IP to the TV set. IMS Research estimates that in 2007, about 30.7 million IP-enabled consoles will ship worldwide as well as over 6 million devices such as digital media adapters, SlingCatcher, Apple TV, and Media Center PCs.

The IMS Research study ‘Hybrid Set-top Box Developments and the Impact of Other Hybrid Equipment’ explores the services and products that are employing non-traditional methods of delivering video content to the TV set. Anna Hunt, Research Director and author of the study, states, "Integration of digital receiver technology into DVD and blue-laser products and into TV sets, as well as IP-enabling of many CE devices such as game consoles, is becoming much more popular. This trend illustrates that in the future, many CE devices, beyond the STB, will deliver digital video content to the TV set."

IMS Research forecasts that in 2012, over 200 million devices such as these will ship worldwide. Hunt adds, "With services such as Joost and Xbox LIVE Marketplace, as well as content providers‚ initiatives to deliver content directly to consumers, traditional cable and satellite TV operators will continue to face challenges relating to the integration of new concepts and technologies into their service and content strategies in order to remain competitive."

HD Penetration Hits 25% in US

New research from Leichtman Research found that about one-quarter of households in the United States have at least one television set capable of receiving high definition programming– essentially double the penetration of HDTV of two years ago. Yet, consumer confusion related to high definition programming and products remains strong.

LRG’s latest HDTV research found that:

  • While over three-quarters of HDTV owners believe that they are watching HD programming, LRG estimates that about 53% of all HD households are actually watching HD programming from a multi-channel video provider (cable, DBS or a telco), and about 4% are watching HD programming via broadcast-only - leaving about 20% of those with an HDTV erroneously thinking that they are watching HD programming when they are not.
  • Just 41% of HDTV owners say that they were told how to receive HD programming when they purchased their set.
  • About 40% of HDTV owners, and over 20% of all adults, believe that their household currently has a high definition DVD player - a figure that, if accurate, would represent a much greater total than the number of high definition DVD players actually sold to date.

    IPTV Euro growth strong

    Although growth of IPTV subscriptions in Europe are expected to grow five-fold by 2011 - to more than 25 million - a new study from Parks Associates finds that operators are ARPU-challenged and facing strong competition.

    "IPTV in Europe: Digital TV in a Hyper-competitive Market" – A study finds that telcos are facing growing competition from not only cable, satellite and digital terrestrial services, but also other national incumbents and competitive players that are taking advantage of local loop unbundling regulations.

    "Europe is certainly a laboratory in real market time of how competition among service providers is constantly forcing operators to constantly evaluate their entire broadband and bundled services strategies," said Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates' vice president and principal analyst. "Given the need to differentiate their services and add real value back to their companies, the European IPTV landscape is characterized by a careful balance between competitive pricing and value-added features."

    Scherf said that Europe provides an example of what North America may experience given the entry of major telcos into the multichannel video space. He points to such applications as managed home networks, an emphasis on converged communications applications, and a rise in interactive television as three key areas of interest to watch in not only Europe but the rest of the world.

    IPTV Global Forecast: Stronger Market

    Growth for IPTV Subs is projected from 13.5 million in 2007 to 72.6 million in 2011, roughly a 40 per cent compounded annual growth rate. With an emphasis on profitability, improved operations and sustained growth, large European carriers are planning for future converged services still over 18 months away.

    According to Len Feldman, Director of IPTV Analysis for MRG, "We've substantially increased our global subscriber forecast for 2011, from 63.6 million in the April 2007 Forecast to 72.6 million now, in large part because we're considerably more optimistic about the probability for market success in China, India and Korea. We slightly decreased our subscriber forecast for 2007, from 14.3 million to 13.5 million, but paradoxically, our forecast for total system revenues went up, from $2.1 billion to $2.5 billion."

    "Europe will remain the number one IPTV market in terms of subscriber count through 2011, but Asia is catching up quickly and will most likely surpass Europe in 2012-2013,_ said Feldman. “In North America, Verizon and AT&T are growing considerably faster than we previously forecasted, and we expect Verizon to be the world's largest IPTV service provider in 2011."

    Technologically, MPEG-4/AVC is consistently replacing MPEG-2 in new installation, as MPEG-2 ceases to be sold even in cost-sensitive markets like China or Eastern Europe. Although DSL continues as the dominant last-mile technology, FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home) is beginning to show more traction in both new and established neighbourhoods.

    Some increase in systems revenue also occurred in the Content-Protection/ DRM sector, where our revised market model. Since Content-Protection can include multiple components ranging from Conditional Access to more newly developed Watermarking and Fingerprinting, this sector should continue showing upside potential as security applies to multiple home devices and formats

    Back to SCRI News Briefs Index



    INDUSTRY NEWS

    FCC new rules for ‘saturated’ cable market?

    A report by the Federal Communications Commission is claimed to show that cable TV companies have reached a subscriber saturation point that may lead to the agency exerting greater regulatory authority over the industry. The finding is in an annual report that assesses competition in the pay-television market.

    The report will conclude that the agency has reached the "70/70" threshold, a measure contained in a relatively obscure provision of the 1984 cable act. The law says that when cable systems with 36 or more channels are available to 70 percent of households in the U.S. and 70 percent of those households subscribe to them, the commission may "promulgate any additional rules necessary to promote diversity of information sources."

    The last video competition report released by the FCC questioned the way cable subscribership penetration is measured and sought more information on how it is calculated.The cable television industry strongly disagrees that the standard has been reached. "Every independent analysis of the marketplace shows that cable serves less than 70 percent of the nation's households and even the FCC staff concluded last year that cable was well short of this threshold," said Kyle McSlarrow, head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. McSlarrow called the provision "a relic of decades-old regulation" and said "twisting statistics in order to breathe life into this rule" is an attempt to justify regulation in an already competitive market.

    Kevin Martin, the Republican chairman of the media and telecommunications regulator, has long sought the power to force US cable companies such as Comcast and Time Warner, to unbundle their channel offerings and offer independent programmers greater access to the cable television market.

    Cablevision loss widens

    US operator Cablevision reported a wider net loss for the third quarter, but operating income rose 59 per cent as more cable TV customers signed up for high-speed Internet and digital phone services.

    Cablevision also trimmed its forecast for full-year growth in cash flow, from 10 per cent to 9 per cent, and said it expects to add fewer customers for premium services in 2007 than it had forecast three months ago.

    Cablevision, which also owns Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and the New York Knicks, posted a loss of $79.3 million (E54m) versus a loss of $59.2 million in the same period a year ago. Revenues rose 9.4 percent to $1.51 billion.

    Cablevision's shares have fallen in tandem with other cable companies over the last three months, partly over concerns about competitive threats from satellite and IPTV.

    Dolby Labs Q4 Up

    Dolby Laboratories, Inc. announced the Company’s financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 28, 2007.

    For the fourth quarter, Dolby reported total revenue of $129.0 million, compared to $102.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006, an increase of 26 percent. Fourth quarter net income was $44.2 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, compared to $25.2 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006.

    For fiscal year 2007, Dolby reported total revenue of $482.0 million, compared to $391.5 million for fiscal year 2006, an increase of 23 percent. Net income for fiscal year 2007 was $142.8 million, or $1.26 per diluted share, compared to $89.5 million, or $0.80 per diluted share, for fiscal year 2006.

    “I am very pleased with the hard work by the Dolby team in fiscal 2007. We finished the year with increased profitability, a strong position across our core markets, and with progress in our new initiatives, such as mobile, digital cinema, and video,” said Bill Jasper, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dolby Laboratories. “In addition, we continue to position ourselves for the future. Today, we entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Coding Technologies, a privately held provider of audio compression technologies for the mobile, digital broadcast, and Internet markets.”

    Dolby expects fiscal 2008 revenue to be $560 million to $600 million, which includes approximately $20 million in anticipated licensing revenue from Coding Technologies. Net income is expected to be $148 million to $160 million. Earnings per diluted share are expected to be $1.27 to $1.37. While under FAS 123R, stock-based compensation expense may vary based on factors such as stock price or volatility, Dolby expects stock-based compensation expense for the full year to be $18 million to $20 million. In addition, Dolby expects charges related to the amortization of intangibles for fiscal 2008 to be approximately $13 million, compared to $3.3 million in fiscal 2007.

    Echostar Revenue Up

    EchoStar Communications Corporation reported total revenue of $2.79 billion for the quarter ended September 30, a 12.9 percent increase compared with $2.48 billion for the corresponding period in 2006. Net income totaled $200 million for the quarter compared with $140 million in 2006.

    DISH Network added approximately 110,000 net new subscribers during the third quarter of 2007, ending the quarter with approximately 13.695 million subscribers.

    Ad Industry facing biggest upheaval in 50 years

    The advertising industry is facing more upheaval in the next five years than in the previous half century, according to a new report. “The End of Advertising as We Know It" from IBM Global Business Services shows more-empowered consumers, more self-reliant advertisers and evolving technologies are redefining how advertising is sold, created, consumed and tracked.

    Traditional advertising players risk declining revenue as budgets shift to new, interactive formats, which are expected to grow at nearly five times that of traditional advertising. To survive in this new reality, broadcasters must change their mass audience mind-set to cater to niche consumer segments, and distributors need to deliver targeted, interactive advertising for a range of multimedia devices, the report recommends.

    "Digital entertainment is experiencing faster adoption than anyone had previously anticipated. The advertising community needs to dramatically re-orient its business to serve consumers who increasingly access content in non-linear formats," said Bill Battino, Communications Sector managing partner, IBM Global Business Services More than half of ad professionals polled by IBM expect that the next five years will see open advertising exchanges (currently led by companies like Google, Yahoo, AOL) taking 30 percent of current revenues now commanded by traditional broadcasters and media.

    Disney Reports Increased Earnings

    The Walt Disney Company reported earnings for the fiscal year and fourth quarter ended September 29, 2007. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the year increased to $2.25, compared to $1.64 in the prior year. For the quarter, EPS increased to $0.44 compared to $0.36 in the prior-year quarter.

    “We’ve delivered another year of outstanding financial results, powered by across-the-board creative strength,” said Robert A. Iger, president and chief executive officer. “We believe our strong brands, combined with high-quality creative content and our ability to promote and distribute that content across multiple businesses and platforms, gives us a unique ability to continue delivering growth and value to our shareholders.”

    Disney to launch Mobile in Japan

    Disney plans to launch mobile phone services in Japan early next year to become the newest entrant in an ultra-competitive market. Disney, which plans to halt its U.S.-based mobile phone service in December, is now eyeing demand for its online contents in the world's biggest market of third-generation phones. Disney would use local mobile phone carrier Softbank's network and the two would jointly develop mobile phones and content. For Softbank - another new entrant which has been winning users with its low-cost price plans - the agreement could be a key to induce subscribers to use their phones for more downloads and switch to pricier handsets and calling plans

    Back to SCRI News Briefs Index


    COMPANY NEWS

    Avid Drops Out of NAB2008 -- Cost Cutting or Strategy?

    Avid Technology will not exhibit at The NAB Show in 2008, the company announced this week. Avid claims the move is not not to cut costs but rather "a shift in the way it serves professional customers." With Avid announing Q3 delines in revenue and profits, we wonder whether cost cutting did not in fact play an important role in this decision.

    Until now, the editing solutions giant has had a major presence at NAB, with sponsorship of events including the popular post-production conference. The company said Digidesign, its audio division, also will not exhibit, but Avid is evaluating what other presence Digidesign will have at the confab.

    Avid will still be in Vegas in April to meet with customers and will continue to sponsor the Broadcast Education Association conference within the show. It also plans to sponsor the PBS Technology Conference, which takes place prior to NAB.

    Nancy Hawthorne, Avid’s interim CEO, discussed Avid’s customer relations issues at an investors’ event Nov. 5. She said Avid needed to deepen relations with its enterprise customers and she conceded that some products had been rushed to market, resulting in some dissatisfaction among customers. Reaction to the move has been mixed, with some industry pros seeing this as a potential trends to be follwoed by other manufacturers in time to come. A smapling of reactions from the Post HPA list follow:

    John Sprung, CBS Studio Center
    "The problem will come down the road, if this is the start of a trend. If there are less and less major exhibitors at NAB, it will be harder and harder to justify the expense of going".

    Um, why is that a problem? I haven't bothered with NAB since 2000. It happens during pilot season, which is a major pain in the tush. I go to HPA instead (except this year, if the strike runs on and we're laid off).

    HPA plus demos here in town are a better solution than the Vegas ordeal.

    NAB may continue to thrive for all those other folks, whoever they are. It's just not a show for people who make TV shows.

    Ed Fraticelli PMI Digital
    Please, notice that Avid said they would not have a booth on the NAB floor, but that they will BE at the NAB. I am sure there will be plenty of off-floor demos and user-community presence from Avid.

    While, personally, I would have liked to see a purposefully scaled-down booth from Avid, I will not miss fighting through crowds of people who are asking the demonstrator how to make the DS do a dissolve (the local, distributor-based demos are the place for that), so I can see the latest features. I just hope any "off-site" demos are not too exclusive, either!

    The problem will come down the road, if this is the start of a trend. If there are less and less major exhibitors at NAB, it will be harder and harder to justify the expense of going. I would say the largest section of the NAB attendees goes for the exhibits and to see what is the "latest and greatest" in the industry. It's just a great place to see everything in one place, however daunting and maddening the crowds can be.

    Maybe if manufacturers were only permitted to bring NEW, never-before-seen technology... Oh, that's the HPA Tech Retreat!

    Eric Wenocur lab-tech-systems
    I don't doubt that what you say about internal corporate politics is true. But you also mention the "booth competition" with Apple and that's the kind of thing I think is actually bad for everyone. Plus, I am starting to think that big trade shows like NAB are becoming less important--especially for companies with a large web and distributor presence like Avid. Those huge booths are actually quite unfriendly to serious customers, and most of what they need to know can be found online or at a local demo. I generally stay as far away as possible.

    From a customer standpoint, I would much rather see Avid devote more resources to better service and support, and less to histrionic posturing. Avid may also realize that the way to compete with Final Cut is to quietly start providing the kind of service which FCP users cannot get, rather than pursuing "the war of the floor" with a larger company like Apple. I guess that remains to be seen...

    Pete Challinger
    Have to say I disagree with you here Eric. I think it is a cop out. Problem is that large companies end up with a lot of their corporate ego tied up in the size of their booth, and internally have a lot of trouble controlling the number of employees who feel they "must" be there. This prevents them taking the rational action of scaling back the booth and sending a subset of the staff who can actually demo things and usefully answer questions. There are certain to be a significant number of current or future customers who will be unhappy not to be able to see and compare products there, as there were when they pulled out of IBC.

    In Avid's case it is probably worse as for several years they were in a competition with Apple across the aisle as to who had the bigger (or more crowded, or louder etc.) booth.

    Eric Wenocur, Lab Tech Systems
    I love it! As irritated as I often am with Avid, this is a step toward breaking the ridiculous cycle of show expansion, timed introductions and generally marketing-driven (not MARKET-driven) industry nonsense. They obviously see that some triage is needed in their piece of the business and are willing to try something radical. Bravo!

    Focus Enhancements Q3 Revenue Up

    Focus Enhancements announced financial results for its third quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2007. Total revenue was $7.8 million, compared to $11.6 million in the third quarter of 2006. Systems Business revenue was $6.5 million, compared to $5.4 million in the same quarter of 2006.

    Revenue was $23.2 million, compared to $27.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2006. Systems Business revenue was $19.4 million, compared $17.9 million in the first nine months of 2006.

    For the fourth quarter of 2007, the company anticipates revenue in the range of $7.5 million to $8.0 million. Based on these expectations, fourth quarter gross margins as a percentage of revenue are anticipated in the range of 44 percent to 46 percent. Fourth quarter 2007 operating expenses are expected in the range of $8.5 million to $9.0 million, including R&D expenses of approximately $5.8 million. Loss per share for the third quarter of 2007 is expected in the range of $0.07 to $0.08, due to continued UWB investment.

    Dolby Labs Q4 Up

    Dolby Laboratories, Inc. announced the Company’s financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 28, 2007.

    For the fourth quarter, Dolby reported total revenue of $129.0 million, compared to $102.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006, an increase of 26 percent. Fourth quarter net income was $44.2 million, or $0.39 per diluted share, compared to $25.2 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006.

    For fiscal year 2007, Dolby reported total revenue of $482.0 million, compared to $391.5 million for fiscal year 2006, an increase of 23 percent. Net income for fiscal year 2007 was $142.8 million, or $1.26 per diluted share, compared to $89.5 million, or $0.80 per diluted share, for fiscal year 2006.

    “I am very pleased with the hard work by the Dolby team in fiscal 2007. We finished the year with increased profitability, a strong position across our core markets, and with progress in our new initiatives, such as mobile, digital cinema, and video,” said Bill Jasper, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dolby Laboratories. “In addition, we continue to position ourselves for the future. Today, we entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Coding Technologies, a privately held provider of audio compression technologies for the mobile, digital broadcast, and Internet markets.”

    Dolby expects fiscal 2008 revenue to be $560 million to $600 million, which includes approximately $20 million in anticipated licensing revenue from Coding Technologies. Net income is expected to be $148 million to $160 million. Earnings per diluted share are expected to be $1.27 to $1.37. While under FAS 123R, stock-based compensation expense may vary based on factors such as stock price or volatility, Dolby expects stock-based compensation expense for the full year to be $18 million to $20 million. In addition, Dolby expects charges related to the amortization of intangibles for fiscal 2008 to be approximately $13 million, compared to $3.3 million in fiscal 2007.

    HDNet sues DirecTV

    HDNe has filed a lawsuit against DirecTV in an effort to stop the satellite company from moving the company's two HD channels to a special HD-tier. The suit claims DirecTV is trying to destroy HDNet by bumping the network and its sister net HDNet Movies to the satcaster's HD Extra Pack which costs subscribers an extra $4.99 per month.

    The lawsuit alleges DirecTV is violating the carriage deal between it and HDNet by moving the two networks to the other tier. On top of the $9.99 DirecTV subs already pay for HD access, the new tier requires the additional $4.99 to receive all HD channels which don't have a standard feed. (The planned channel lineup for DirecTV 's "HD Extra package" includes HDNet, HDNet Movies, MGM HD, Smithsonian HD and MHD.)

    In response, DirecTV said it was disappointed HDNet ignored the language of their carriage agreement and filed "an unnecessary lawsuit." A company spokesman said HDNet has yet to provide any evidence to support its claims, DirecTV is acting within its agreement and that the satcaster will defend the lawsuit "vigorously."

    Back to SCRI News Briefs Index


    PRODUCT NEWS

    Sony Unvelis Next Generation of HDV™ Products

    Sony Europe announced the latest generation of HDV™ production technologies includes two new camcorders that feature interchangeable lens systems, native progressive recording capabilities, increased sensitivity for low-light conditions, hybrid solid-state recording and an array of other features designed for general TV production, videographers, budget movie-makers and corporate video production professionals.

    The new models include the HVR-Z7E (handheld) and HVR-S270E (shoulder-mount) camcorders. Sony is also introducing the HVR-M35E playback and recording deck. These flagship professional HDV products expand Sony’s line-up of HD production technologies, which includes the recently introduced PMW-EX1 XDCAM EX solid-state memory camera and the soon-to-be-available HVR-HD1000E shoulder-mount HDV camcorder.

    “We have spent a long time gauging customer feedback about our existing professional HDV line-up to create a further enhanced and flexible line up to complement the range.” Said Bill Drummond, European Product Marketing Manger. “These new products will appeal to a wide range of existing customers in many different video production situations, who will relish the improved picture quality and flexible recording options, but these products will also appeal to a whole host of new customers interested in high definition acquisition with flexible lens options and creative shooting styles, such as budget movie productions”

    The new camcorders use Sony’s new 1/3-inch 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor™ system enhanced by the technology of Exmor™. With its 45-degree rotated pixel layout, the 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system offers sufficient pixel surface area while it keeps high resolution. The technology of Exmor features a unique column-parallel analogue-to-digital conversion technique and dual noise cancelling, resulting in high quality digital signals with extremely low noise, similar to the imaging technology used in the PMW-EX1 camera. The integration of the two new technologies allows the new camcorders to perform significantly better in low-light environments with sensitivity of 1.5 lux. *

    This imaging technology is complemented by Sony’s Enhanced Imaging Processor™ (EIP) system to achieve high resolution, high sensitivity, wide dynamic range, and excellent colour reproduction.

    The cameras’ shooting flexibility is further increased through the ability to attach different lenses. Both models are equipped with a universal standard 1/3-inch bayonet mount mechanism to make lens changes faster and easier. Each camcorder comes standard with a 12x high-quality, multi-purpose Carl Zeiss lens for HD video, with a Vario-Sonnar™ T* coating to reduce reflections. A specially designed 8x wide-angle lens is also available as an option, to suit a diverse range of shooting requirements.

    These two newly designed lenses give Sony’s two new professional HDV camcorders the same functionality as popular fixed-lens camcorders like the HVR-Z1E and HVR-V1E, thanks to built-in features such as auto-focus, optical stabilizer, and automatic back-focus adjustment. Natural-touch lens operation is available by the improved design of the focus, zoom and iris rings. The new focus ring offers two types of manual focus, plus an auto focus mode that can be easily switched by sliding the focus ring forward or backward. The zoom ring has gearwheel mechanism and the iris ring now encircles the lens barrel.

    It is also possible to use the alens series designed for Sony Digital SLR stills cameras with a special adaptor.

    The camcorders offer 1080/50i and 25p native progressive recording capabilities. The 3 ClearVid CMOS Sensor system and EIP technology create true 1080p images, which can then be recorded as progressive signals by the HVR-Z7E and HVR-S270E camcorders in the HDV format. The progressive HDV streams can be output from an i.LINK connector and used for progressive editing with compatible NLE software.

    The HVR-Z7E and HVR-S270E can switch between 1080p, 1080i in the HDV format, DVCAM, and DV recording, and both can down-convert material from HD to SD, and output the video signals through its i.LINK interface and other SD output connectors. The HVR-Z7E has an HDMI output. The HVR-S270E is available with HD-SDI or SD-SDI connectivity, and also supports embedded audio and timecode.

    “Whatever your client requires, HDV or DVCAM, these cameras offer ultimate flexibility in recording. Now with enhanced 25P native recording, the camcorders offer the most flexible options possible in terms of shooting,” Drummond said, “customers can use existing SD interlace production workflow’s safe in the knowledge their purchase is fully future-proof for not only HD production, but also film-like progressive shooting when required.”

    The HVR-Z7E and HVR-S270E are equipped with new XtraFine™ LCD and XtraFine EVF which offer high-resolution and high-contrast images with remarkable colour reproduction. The HVR-S270E features a new LCD/EVF configuration called “Dual Finder”. The LCD located on the EVF enables multiple styles of operation.

    The new camcorders offer the option of hybrid recording when using a supplied memory-recording unit, which attaches directly to the back of the HVR-Z7E or the side of the HVR-S270E and eliminates the need for cables. The unit automatically synchronizes with the recording action of the camcorder and a special shoe connector inputs and outputs an HDV/DV stream and supplies power to the unit.

    This unit captures the HDV1080i, DVCAM, or DV stream output from the camcorder and allows users to record HDV/DVCAM/DV files to a standard CompactFlash® solid-state memory card, while users are simultaneously recording to tape. It will be compatible with Sony’s Professional 306x CompactFlash card as well as standard CompactFlash cards (2GB minimum capacity, 133x minimum speed) for secure recording, high-speed access, large data capacity, removable media convenience, and resistance to vibrations. The recording times on an 8 and 16 GB CompactFlash card in HDV, DVCAM and DV format are approximately 36 and 72 minutes, respectively.

    The HVR-Z7E can deliver more than 60 minutes of recording time on miniDV videotapes, and approximate recording times of 63 minutes* with Sony’s DigitalMaster cassettes (PHDVM-63DM). The HVR-S270E also accepts standard-size cassettes to provide more than 4.5 hours of continuous recording, with approximate recording times of 4 hours, 36 minutes** on Sony PHDV-276DM videotapes.

    The HVR-M35E record and playback deck is compatible with HDV native progressive recording modes and supports HD/SD-SDI output with embedded audio and timecode data. The deck’s HD/SD-SDI output capability allows it to interface with other systems requiring HD/SD-SDI compatibility. It has a 50i/60i switchable function, and supports HDV1080i (50i/60i/24p/30p/25p) and DVCAM/DV (50i/60i).

    The deck supports standard- and mini-size cassette, and accepts standard cassettes shot on the HVR-S270E or other shoulder-mount DVCAM camcorders. It can play back four-channel audio data in HDV1080i format recorded by the HVR-S270E, and it can also play back four-channel audio data in the DVCAM format. It also includes a 2.7-inch wide Clear Photo LCD plus™ screen, monaural speaker, edge crop adjust and a Duplicate Plus function for copying video and audio from another VTR.

    The new products are each planned to be available in February. Further information on the HDV range and new accessories can be found at www.sonybiz.net/hdv

    Optibase, Leadcom alliance

    Optibase, provider of advanced digital video solutions and Leadcom Integrated Solutions, an international provider of innovative telecommunication solutions, announce a strategic alliance to roll out integrated TV over IP services. The first project will be delivered to a leading Telco operator in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Leadcom selected Optibase's pre-integrated, advanced IPTV platform in order to enhance its offering by adding high quality, broadcast TV and interactive IPTV services. The joint deployment in Kazakhstan includes Optibase's end-to-end IPTV solution consisting of Video on Demand (VOD), personal video recorder (PVR) services, middleware, set-top-boxes (STB) and the Optibase Media Gateway (MGW) carrier-grade H.264 encoding platform.

    QuStream introduces IP-based router control system

    QuStream Corporation announced the latest addition to its range of routers and signal processors. The PERC2000 is an IP-based system with the ability to control current QuStream routing switchers via 10 or 100 megabit/s Ethernet or serial port. Comprising a circuit board and software, the PERC2000 works with Microsoft Windows.

    "The ability to supervise and control routing configurations regardless of distance enables broadcasters to achieve major improvements in operational efficiency," observes QuStream's Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing, Karlton Burn. "The PERC2000 supports up to 16 levels of control, 64 matrices, 256 tieline interconnects, 256 salvos and up to 2,400 sources and destination names. It provides diagnostics, matrix segmentation, virtual matrix mapping and field-updates via ethernet. The graphic user interface is highly intuitive, allowing every feature in the system to be accessed quickly and easily."

    QuStream's PERC2000 is compatible with all existing QuStream routing switchers as well as with legacy products using the PRC communications channel. It can be deployed to perform real-time router reconfiguration. When used with QuStream's Distributed Routing System (DRS), it provides a wide range of configuration options including control of audio delay on input channels and/or output channels, audio phase inversion, dual channel summing and assignment of audio silence, white noise, 1 kHz tone, and discrete tone sweep.

    The PERC2000 comes with four RS232/RS422 serial ports as well as ethernet for communication interfaces. It is available now.

    Back to SCRI News Briefs Index


    PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

    Dolby Execs Receive SMPTE Honors

    Dolby Laboratories, Inc. announced that Dr. Mark F. Davis, Senior Research and Development Engineer, and Kevin Stec, Director, Image Technology Research, received honors from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) for outstanding contributions to the design and development of new technologies that improve the entertainment experience.

    SMPTE awards the Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal each year for contributions to sound on film. Dr. Davis has been with Dolby since 1985, and played a central role in developing Dolby® Digital (AC-3) 5.1-channel sound—thus making multichannel digital sound on film possible. He received his PhD in psychoacoustics and electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    SMPTE Fellowships are awarded to select individuals for lifetime contributions to the industry based on their achievements. Mr. Stec received the SMPTE Fellowship for his contributions in video. As a leader in Dolby’s Research and Development Group, Mr. Stec oversees the development of image processing technology for digital cinema, broadcast, and consumer entertainment applications. An industry veteran, Mr. Stec has held senior executive positions at Panasonic and DemoGraFX, acquired by Dolby in 2003. He was awarded a Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award in 2000 for advancements in video format conversion, and he holds a number of patents in the area of digital video signal processing.

    SMPTE was founded in 1916 to advance theory and development in the motion imaging field and is the leading technical society for the motion imaging industry. Dr. Mark F. Davis and Kevin Stec received their honors at the 2007 SMPTE Technical Conference & Exhibition held in Brooklyn, New York.

    Back to SCRI News Briefs Index


    RESEARCH NEWS

    SCRI RESEARCH NEWS

  • NEW: 2007-2009 HDTV / Digital Trends Report This extensive 75 page report includes an Executive Summary, followed by an analysis, charts and tables of how the broadcast / professional video marketplace equipment endusers respond to the key HDTV / Digital Video Trends -- click to view table of contents

  • 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.

    Back to SCRI News Briefs Index