Insider Reporter


Insider Report

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

w/e Ocotber 12, 2008 SCRI International, Inc © 1984 - 2008

INDEX

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

TECHNOLOGY NEWS

SMPTE to Develop New Broadband Standards

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers is forming a technology committee to standardize mastering and packaging formats for content distributed over broadband networks. Such a broadband standard could fuel fresh business models by enabling consumers to purchase entertainment from any online destination and play it back on any device.

The committee’s launch highlights SMPTE’s interest in addressing the challenges of delivering professional content (including movies, television programming, online programming and music) no matter the distribution platform. Broadband 23B will meet for the first time on October 27, 2008 in conjunction with the SMPTE 2008: Annual Tech Conference & Expo (http://www.smpte2008.org) in Hollywood, CA.

“The industry needs to adopt standard content and container formats for the entire electronic distribution ecosystem,” said Wendy Aylsworth, engineering vice president, SMPTE. “More media than ever is flowing to consumers outside traditional TV and cinema channels, and currently, it can only be accessed on a limited subset of services and devices because there are no interoperability standards.”

Broadband 23B will create a standard that will not only benefit consumers, but will also allow producers and distributors to easily and rapidly deploy content across all broadband services. In addition, it will work toward enhancing the consumer experience by establishing procedures for uniform captions, subtitles and more. The committee’s activities will include: detailing the requirements for a universal file container; deciding upon its technical specifications; examining essence formats; developing content identification procedures; and defining structural and descriptive metadata.

SMPTE welcomes the involvement of organizations working in broadband content and distribution, and representatives from interested groups should contact the society’s headquarters. Participation in Broadband 23B is open to all entertainment technology professionals, particularly those in the content creation, distribution, consumer electronics, IT and retail sectors. All interested parties are welcome to attend the inaugural meeting; conference registration is not required. However, the meeting’s proceedings will remain private to SMPTE, and membership in the SMPTE Standards Community is necessary for ongoing participation.

Broadband 23B will meet at 5:15 PM, at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Hollywood, CA. Register at www.smpte.org/standards/meeting_schedule/.

IPTV Subs up 64% worldwide

Worldwide subscriptions to IPTV platforms are on track to reach 19.6 million subscribers in 2008, a 64 percent increase, according to analysts at Gartner.

Revenue from worldwide IPTV is forecast to reach $4.5 billion up 93.5 percent from a year earlier, with Western Europe boasting the largest number of IPTV subscribers and North America the largest market for IPTV revenue.

It forecast that 1.1 percent of households worldwide would be using IPTV in 2008, and expects that to rise to 2.8 percent by 2012.

"The biggest change since 2007 is the rapid advent of new entrants making inroads in consumer video consumption and placing greater demands on IPTV operators to innovate," said Gartner research director Elroy Jopling. Gartner cited the new competitors as portals such as YouTube and Joost, social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook and broadcasters launching new offerings such as the BBC's iPlayer catch-up service and Hulu owned by NBC and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp

Mobile TV Spending to hit $2.7bn by 2013

The increasing availability of mobile handsets capable of receiving free-to-air analogue and digital terrestrial TV signals will adversely impact the prospects for dedicated mobile broadcast TV networks, according to a report from Juniper Research.

While the report says that more than 330 million mobile users worldwide will own broadcast TV-enabled handsets by 2013, less than 14 per cent will opt for mobile pay TV services. Although mobile broadcast TV will generate global annual end-user revenues of $2.7 billion by 2013, this level is markedly lower than previously forecast.

According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, "The development of terrestrial TV-capable receivers with comparatively low power consumption, and the availability of these receivers in mass market handsets, throws into question the business case for the deployment of a dedicated network in many markets."

The report notes that operator decisions to offer DVB-T handsets in Germany has effectively closed the door for DVB-H in Germany, and argues that the strong take-up of analogue TV handsets in China indicates that free-to-air services will continue to predominate.

However, the report also notes that this trend in turn has created a further opportunity for streamed TV services. Holden continued: "There will always be a market for some form of premium TV service on the mobile handset, and with broadcast TV in many markets likely to consist simply of the free-to-air terrestrial signals, the gap in the market is likely to be filled by streamed video-on-demand services over the 3G network."

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INDUSTRY NEWS

RealNetworks ordered to pull copying software

RealNetworks has temporarily stopped distributing its DVD copying software, RealDVD, at a federal judge's request in a copyright case brought by Hollywood studios

The site now tells visitors: "Rest assured, we will continue to work diligently to provide you with software that allows you to make a legal copy of your DVDs for your own use."

Six major movie studios jointly sued the company on September 30th, the day the software launched. They claim RealDVD illegally bypasses the copyright protection built into DVDs.

DISH/TiVo case not over yet

While the US Supreme Court's move to deny DISH's appeal of the TiVo patent infringement case was a significant blow for the satellite TV company, the litigation between the companies is far from becoming a done deal.The Supreme Court denied DISH's petition to review a US Court of Appeals Federal Circuit ruling that upheld a lower federal court judgment of willful patent infringement of TiVo's so-called Time Warp patent. With the denial, all eyes are now focused on the Texas federal court handling what's being called the penalty phase of the lengthy legal matter.

In a statement, TiVo said it's looking forward to the receipt of damages awarded by the US District Court handling the case. Those damages would cover a two-year period. Also, TiVo said it remains "confident that the District Court will enforce the injunction and award further damages from EchoStar's continued infringement of our Time Warp patent.

"In its statement, DISH stressed that the Supreme Court's decision does not impact a software design-around that has been placed in DISH DVRs subject to the district court's injunction, and that customers of the small dish service can continue using their DISH DVRs.

"We believe that the design-around does not infringe TiVo's patent and that TiVo's pending motion for contempt should be denied. We look forward to that ruling in the near future," DISH said in a statement.

Nonetheless, because of the Supreme Court decision, DISH said it will pay TiVo approximately $104 million, the amount the jury awarded in 2006 plus interest. The money is in an escrow account and will be released to TiVo in the next few days, DISH said.

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COMPANY NEWS

Anystream, Voxant Announce Merger

Digital media production and workflow innovator Anystream, and Voxant Media, a new media network, have announced plans to merge the two businesses into a unified resource organization for online multimedia publishers seeking licensed content.

The combination created by the merger integrates content, production and distribution and will provide a "single-stop" content source, and is expected to be a driving factor in the adoption of online video advertising, the companies said.

"There are three things that the broadband world requires for the economics of online video to explode," said Fred Singer, Anystream's CEO. "First, there must be licensed content to satisfy the needs of video-hungry publishers. Second, there must be a large syndicated affiliate site network to create meaningful monetization. Third, there must be a system for marketers to insert their message into indexed and categorized content. Only the combination of Anystream and Voxant delivers them all."

Anystream recently supported NBC Universal's on-demand 2008 Beijing Olympics production and works with media companies in 38 countries. The company is billed as "the second largest news and entertainment property based on video streams in the U.S. after MSNBC."

Voxant Media, like Anystream based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., is known for delivery of licensed content, advertising and syndication services to millions of Web sites and works with more than 30,000 publisher affiliates.

Wohler Acquires Europa Australia

Wohler Technologies is acquiring Europa Australia Pty Ltd, a closed captioning and data insertion company led by industry pioneer Elio Deluca.

Upon completion of the deal, Wohler will boast the only platform-based closed captioning system capable of supporting all global standards.

"Europa Australia is known for its ability to provide cost-effective solutions customized to the specific needs of each broadcast client," said Carl Dempsey, Wohler president and CEO. "The purchase of Europa Australia positions Wohler as a premier provider of closed-captioning and data control solutions. Through our new relationship with Elio and the Europa Australia engineering team, we will be equipped to respond to the development of closed-captioning standards in any country. This is a fantastic add-on to our existing talented engineering team. It is our ambition to be an extension of our clients' engineering resources and we can only do this is if we invest in the right talent and technology."

Europa Australia was established in 1996. Its closed-captioning processing technology developed by Europa Australia is compliant with CEA-608/708, the U.S. closed-captioning standard, and with OP:47, the Australian closed-captioning standard.

The Europa Australia technology is also available to other manufacturers who need to incorporate closed-captioning and extended data service solutions into their systems.

Harmonic Announces Q3 2008 Reporting Date & Conference Call

Harmonic Inc. announced that it plans to report its third quarter 2008 results after market close on October 27, 2008. Harmonic will host a conference call to discuss its financial results at 2:00 P.M. Pacific (5:00 P.M. Eastern) on Monday, October 27, 2008. A listen-only broadcast of the conference call can be accessed on the Company’s website at www.harmonicinc.com or by calling +1-706-634-9047 (conference identification code 30815836). The replay will be available after 6:00 P.M. Pacific at the same website address or by calling +1-706-645-9291 (conference identification code 30815836).

Harmonic intends to discuss financial and other statistical information on this conference call. This information will also be available on the Company’s website at www.harmonicinc.com either in the press release related to the above broadcast, by accessing the listen-only broadcast described above or by accessing the replay of the broadcast described above.

Tandberg Q3 Earning Review Webcast

TANDBERG has scheduled a live webcast/conference call October 14, 2008 at 11:45 AM (Eastern Time) or 5:45 PM (Central European Time) to discuss fiscal third quarter 2008 results. A PowerPoint presentation will accompany the webcast/conference call.

To participate via Internet or phone: https://tandbergevents.webex.com +1.800.591.6948 (U.S. callers) 0808.234.7616 (U.K. callers) +1.617.614.4912 (international) Passcode: TANDBERG

Participants are encouraged to download the streaming media software required for the Internet broadcast in advance of the call.

An online video archive of the broadcast will be available immediately following the call at: http://www.tandberg.com/ir/tandberg_q3_2008_earnings_display.jsp

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PRODUCT NEWS

Avid Delivers Support for XDCAM HD 50 Mb/s Format

Avid Technology, Inc. today announced qualification of the Sony XDCAM HD MPEG 2 Long GoP 50 Mb/s format in its Media Composer, NewsCutter and Symphony product lines.

Customers will be able to increase the speed and quality of productions by working with full raster 1920x1080 HD media in a 4:2:2 color space. The functionality is available via a free software upgrade for all Avid® customers running version 3.0 of Media Composer and Symphony and version 7.0 of NewsCutter software.

With this release, Avid Media Composer, NewsCutter and Symphony products now support the Sony PDW-700 and PDW-HD1500 cameras for ingest at all bit rates (50Mbps for both 1080i and 720p) and frame rates of 1080 50i, 59.94i and 720p. Working in the Sony XDCAM HD 50 Mb/s format will enable customers to leverage the benefits of Avid’s existing interoperability – such as support for XDCAM HD proxies, native MXF media support, real-time multi-format editing and variable frame rate support.

NBC goes with GVG's K2 HD Server

Most of NBC Universal's O&Os and its Local Media Group are now using an automated high-definition playout system constructed with Thomson Grass Valley's K2 HD Media Servers.

With the system, HD commercials are centrally managed at the operation's Burbank hub, with content delivered to servers installed at the local stations. Work on the new FTP delivery system was completed in August, in time to be used in support of the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.

"We chose the Thomson Grass Valley K2 servers because of the versatility of the platform design that we needed to create for our stations and the ability of the K2 system to expand as our digital requirements continue to change," said Jason Kornweiss, vice president of TV stations broadcast operations with NBC Universal's media distribution services division. "We were pleased that Thomson was able to meet our very aggressive timeline ahead of the Olympic Games."

The system is referred to as "the Local Media Content Server (LMCS) project" and has been implemented at eight of the network's O&O stations. Each station now has four of the K2 HD Media Servers to support the new content delivery system. Each O&O can download content at their convenience, at a previously scheduled time, or immediately, depending on individual requirements.

Verizon Confirms Quality of 100G Transmission

Verizon's latest trial of 100G optical transmission technology performed with better tolerance for signal distortion than typically found in today's standard wavelength of 10G. This is a significant next step toward the commercialization of 100G transmission, according to the company.

Transporting data over 73 kilometers of field fiber in northeastern Texas at a 92 Gbps (gigabits per second) rate, the recent trial demonstrated twice the tolerance for signal distortion when compared with today's standard 10G signal. The Nortel Optical Multiservice Edge 6500 convergence platform equipped with 40G/100G Adaptive Optical Engine technology integrates advanced signal-processing techniques that maintain sustained signal integrity despite significant polarization mode dispersion (PMD). PMD, a natural impairment of optical fiber transmission, causes a signal to distort as it travels along the optical fiber. This results in imperfections when the signal arrives at the receiver end and limits the amount of data that can be transmitted.

"This latest trial further illustrates Verizon's keen interest in viable 100G technologies," said Mark Wegleitner, Verizon's senior vice president of technology. "Each advance we make moves the Verizon network closer to commercial deployment of reliable higher-bandwidth speeds on the backbone to serve our customers' needs - whether it's voice, video or data."

Philippe Morin, president of Metro Ethernet Networks for Nortel, said, "As Verizon prepares to meet increasing demand for bandwidth-intensive services like multimedia conferencing and HD video, it faces a complex challenge of increasing network capacity while maintaining existing infrastructure. Nortel's 40G/100G Adaptive Optical Engine allows Verizon to deploy higher-capacity transmission systems over any fiber in their existing network without extensive re-engineering. This capability already is commercialized in our 40G technology and will be a key differentiator for our 100G solution."

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PEOPLE IN THE NEWS

Chyron Elects New Chairman

Chyron announced the election of Roger Ogden as Chairman of the Board.

Michael Wellesley-Wesley, Chyron President and CEO, commented, "Roger's election as Chyron's Chairman brings a vast array of industry experience and knowledge to this position, and I look forward to benefiting from the insight and the experience that Roger brings to this important role. Chyron has built a recognized, respected brand in the On Air Broadcast market. We look to leverage that success with our new web-based content creation and Graphics as a Service solution as we work to broaden our reach into new markets. Roger's contribution will prove invaluable as we execute our strategy."

Roger Ogden serves as a consultant for several broadcast-related companies. In a long and successful career in broadcasting Roger has held several positions at Gannett Television, a unit of Gannett Company, Inc., including President and CEO Gannett Broadcasting where he was responsible for 23 television stations owned by Gannett. He was previously President and General Manager of KUSA Television in Denver, Colorado and spent 16 years at NBC/GE in various senior management positions. Mr. Ogden has also recently joined the Board of Directors of E.W. Scripps.

Commenting on his election to Chairman of the Chyron Board, Mr. Ogden said, "It's clear to me that the new Chyron is positioned for significant growth in the evolving digital media environment and I'm delighted to be a part of that opportunity. Chyron's development of web-based content creation services, based on its AXIS platform, opens the door to significant new opportunities in the online and mobile markets. It's going to be a rewarding experience helping to shape the next phase of Chyron's growth."

Roger Ogden succeeds Christopher Kelly as Chyron Chairman. Christopher Kelly remains an active and supportive non-executive Director as well as a major shareholder.

Utah Scientific Appoints ex Chyron Exec. as SVP

Utah Scientific announced the appointment of industry veteran Rich Hajdu as senior vice president. Reporting directly to Utah Scientific President and CEO Tom Harmon, Hajdu is charged with strengthening Utah Scientific's relationships with networks, station groups, and cable and satellite facilities. In addition, he will implement a cohesive dealer and system integrator program and develop communications programs to distinguish clearly Utah Scientific products and services within the marketplace.

In more than 30 years in the broadcast industry, Hajdu has worked for industry leaders including Harris, Chyron, Pro-Bel, and Dynatech Video Group. In both sales and management positions, he has worked with customers in all vertical markets and has been involved with products from every major broadcast technology segment.

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RESEARCH NEWS

SCRI RESEARCH NEWS

  • Broadcast/Pro Video Product Sales Top $10 billion -- read more

  • 2008 - 2009 Broadcast/Pro Video Product Reports
  • 2008-09 Broadcast/Pro Video Macro Industry Overview Report
  • 2008-09 Broadcast/Pro Video Micro Quantitative Product Data Report
  • HDTV / Digital Trends Report
  • IPTV / Mobile TV Report

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