Entertainment technology companies from North America, Europe and Asia will introduce new products and demonstrate recent solutions on SMPTE 2008: Annual Tech Conference & Expo’s sold-out show floor. Product launches include high-definition (HD) video servers and distribution solutions, 3-D Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) compression technologies, picture quality control solutions, professional displays, and film production and restoration tools.
Produced by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, SMPTE 2008 is a conference and tradeshow focused on new and emerging entertainment technologies used in content creation, management, distribution and display. It takes place October 28 – 30, 2008 at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, CA and is preceded by a pre-conference symposium, Filmmaking and Live Event Broadcast, on October 27 at the same location
“We designed SMPTE 2008 as a nuts and bolts resource to the entertainment technology community and selling out the show floor is a great indication of our success,” said Kimberly Maki, executive director SMPTE and SMPTE 2008. “Companies in the media technology marketplace are excited about the show as a place to reach working professionals across the entire content supply chain.”
In addition to the trade show floor, SMPTE 2008 will feature panel discussions, white papers and tutorials about a broad range of topics, from tools to evaluate digital camera image quality, to equipping broadcast stations for HD, to IPTV and Internet video.
On Tuesday, October 28 at 9 AM, the “father of MP3,” Karlheinz Brandenburg, will present a keynote about immersive entertainment. He will be followed by “Rebel Alliance – Geeks Lead Hollywood into a New Era,” a panel discussion about transmedia—cross platform storytelling and branding—with the showrunners from “Lost,” “Alias,” and “Heroes,” the director of Monsters vs. Aliens and the creator of the “Bourne Conspiracy” video game. In addition, Monday’s pre-conference symposium includes a new session: “Performance Capture: Imaging Digitally, Directing Virtually, Film making for the 21st Century,” which showcases the companies behind the performance capture, virtual directing and synthespian solutions used in “Avatar,” “Benjamin Button” and PBS’s “Sid the Science Kid.”
The entry of a broad range of new mobile devices able to display video will have a profound effect on the mobile video market, reports In-Stat. The reach of new device choices will provide more markets for mobile operators, mobile broadcasters, advertisers and other content owners, the high-tech market research firm says.
“Even though cellphones and smartphones will remain the predominant method of viewing mobile video, over 160 million other devices that provide mobile video over networks now in exclusive use by cellphones will be sold in the next five years,” says David Chamberlain, In-Stat analyst.
More than a half-billion devices capable of viewing Internet video over 3G networks will be sold in 2013. Cumulative sales will approach 2 billion units.
Global DVR boom
The DVR/PVR sales boom is finally happening. Equipment prices have fallen rapidly – so much so that many platforms feel comfortable about offering subsidized or even free boxes. Operators want their subscribers to take DVRs as they register very highly in consumer satisfaction indexes and thus help to ensure loyalty.
DVR competition between operators is intensifying, according to a new report from Informa. Who can offer the largest capacity, with HD compatibility and push VOD services too? By end-2008 the company forecasts 56.1 million installed DVRs around the world. The Global DVR Forecasts report states that this represents 5 per cent of TV households and 18 per cent of digital TV homes. The forecasts claim 20 million added DVR homes in 2008, and 25 million more in 2009. The report predicts 208 million DVR households by 2013. The top five countries will account for two-thirds of this total.
North America will contribute three-quarters of the 2008 total, down from 81 per cent in 2007. Its share will continue to fall – reaching 48 per cent by 2013. However, its 99.4 million DVR homes by 2013 will be more than double the 2008 figure.
Western Europe will record impressive growth, up from 8.6 million at end-2008 to 48.2 million in 2013. The UK will remain the top nation in the region, with 13.2 million DVR homes by 2013. It will be followed by France (7.9 million), Italy (6.8 million) and Germany (6.3 million).
Growth in the Asia Pacific region will be even more impressive than Western Europe, rising from 3.1 million at end-2008 to 45.1 million in 2013. It is likely to overtake Western Europe in 2014.
By 2013, Japan will have 13.8 million DVR homes – ranking it second in the world. Other major Asian contributors include China (11.9 million), Korea (6.5 million) and India (4.3 million).
Global broadband growth
Broadband services continue to be in high demand, attracting millions of new subscribers worldwide each month, reports In-Stat. Over the past 12 months, approximately 80 million new broadband subscribers signed up for high-speed access to the Internet, the research firm says. In terms of broadband access technologies, digital subscriber line (DSL) technologies continue to serve the greatest number of broadband subscribers worldwide, accounting for 55 per cent of total broadband connections.
"The increasing popularity of online applications such as downloading music files, watching TV programming, and playing online video games, are driving demand for 'fatter pipes' that provide ever-increasing amounts of bandwidth," says Mike Paxton, analyst.
By 2012, In-Stat forecasts that worldwide broadband subscribers will reach 876 million, almost twice the size of the current subscriber base.
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Mediaset to sue YouTube
The president of Mediaset has confirmed that Italy’s leading private broadcaster is ''obliged'' to sue video-sharing site YouTube and its owner Google for copyright infringement.
''If an administrator believes his company has suffered damages he must take legal action because one day any shareholder could ask why no claim for damages was made,'' said Fedele Confalonieri, adding that the action was justified by both civil law and laws regarding intellectual property.
Mediaset announced in July it was suing YouTube/Google for E500 million for the unauthorized posting of 4,643 clips which it said was equal to 325 hours of copyrighted material, costing the broadcaster 315,672 viewing days. The E500 million does not include the group's losses from lost advertising revenues. At the time YouTube/Google issued a statement saying that it ''respects copyright holders and takes copyright very seriously. There is no reason for legal action and all the associated costs''.
Last month, Mediaset said it was ready to negotiate an agreement with YouTube to resolve their dispute and that the figure requested was designed to make a point on copyright laws and video sharing. Google/YouTube is also being sued by Mediaset's Spanish subsidiary Telecinco.
Media General September Revenue down
Media General, Inc.
released its monthly revenues report for September 2008.
Total company revenues of $59.7 million compared with $69.3 million in
September 2007. The year-over-year decrease of 13.9 percent was primarily
attributable to lower Publishing Division revenues, reflecting continued
weak newspaper advertising. Strong Political advertising in the Broadcast
Division partially offset lower Local and National time sales. In the
Interactive Media Division, revenues grew 8.1 percent, due to higher Local
advertising and revenues from DealTaker.com.
Broadcast gross time sales decreased $2.2 million, or 8 percent, as a
result of lower Local and National time sales, partially offset by higher-
than-expected Political advertising revenues of $4 million. Broadcast
transactional advertising continues to be weaker than previously expected,
particularly from the depressed economy in Tampa.
Political revenues increased by $3.2 million and were driven by
presidential campaign and issue spending in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina,
Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia, and U.S. Congressional races in Ohio,
Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina.
Local time sales decreased $2 million, or 11.8 percent, primarily due
to lower automotive, furniture, and department store advertising, partially
offset by higher spending in the medical category. National time sales
declined $3.5 million, or 33.3 percent, predominantly reflecting lower
automotive and telecommunications advertising.
Liberty Media On the prowl lagain
John Malone is eyeing the huge yields offered by the debt of other media and communications companies, echoing the tactics through which his Liberty Media built his cable empire in the US and Europe.Some of the most attractive opportunities thrown up by the global financial crisis were in debt, Greg Maffei, chief executive of Liberty Media, told FT.com.
"When you look at how these junk bond yields have spiked ... I think this will be looked back on historically as a pretty attractive time to be in high yield," he said. The group’s Liberty Capital offshoot "will be investing in a lot of debt," he added.
Maffei cooled speculation about its chances of exchanging a 103m-shares stake in Time Warner for ownership of the dial-up access business of AOL, Time Warner’s online brand.
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Disney sues Lehman
Walt Disney has become the latest company to call for an investigation into the dealings of investment bank Lehman Brothers before its collapse. Disney says it is owed $92 million and wants to know how money was moved between Lehman Brothers Commercial and its parent company before bankruptcy. US court papers filed by Disney called for an examiner to be appointed to investigate the transactions.
"When creditors lose money, they deserve to know why and how," said Martin Bienenstock, Disney's lawyer. Disney's request for an examiner will be heard on 5 November.
NASDAQ Extends Min. Market for Image Entertainment
Image Entertainment, Inc. announced that it had received notification that NASDAQ has suspended, for a three month period, the enforcement of the rule requiring a minimum market value of publicly held shares. The Company will now have until February 6, 2009 to achieve compliance with the rule.
On August 4, 2008, the Company received a letter from the Listing Qualifications Department of The NASDAQ Stock Market indicating that for the last 30 consecutive trading days, the Company’s publicly held shares had not maintained a minimum market value of $15 million as required under NASDAQ Marketplace Rule 4450(b)(3).
On October 16, 2008, NASDAQ implemented a temporary suspension of enforcement of Marketplace Rule 4450(b)(3) until Friday, January 16, 2009, due to the volatility of current market conditions. As a result of the temporary suspension, NASDAQ informed the Company that its deadline for compliance with Marketplace Rule 4450(b)(3) has been extended from November 3, 2008 to February 6, 2009.
During this interim period, the Company’s common stock is expected to continue to trade on The NASDAQ Global Market. If compliance with Marketplace Rule 4450(b)(3) cannot be demonstrated by February 6, 2009, the staff of The NASDAQ Stock Market Listing Qualifications department (the “Staff”) will deliver a written notification to the Company that its securities will be delisted from The NASDAQ Global Market. If the Company receives a delisting notice, the Company may appeal the Staff’s determination to a Listing Qualifications Panel. Alternatively, the Company may apply to transfer its securities to The NASDAQ Capital Market.
Optelecom-NKF & Foxstream in Video Content Alliance
Optelecom-NKF, Inc., a leading global supplier of advanced video surveillance
solutions, strengthened its Alliance Program by announcing a new
partnership with Foxstream, a leading provider of advanced intelligent
video content analysis software.
Optelecom-NKF and Foxstream have worked closely together since early
2008 to make the FoxVigi Video Content Analysis (VCA) Software Suite fully
interoperable with all Optelecom-NKF Siqura(R) surveillance solutions.
Joint customers can now bring compressed video content from Siqura(R)
C-series and S-series video codecs (MPEG-4, MPEG-2, and Motion JPEG) to a
central location where FoxVigi embedded video analytics functions, such as
motion detection, anti-intrusion detection, people counting, object
detection, and classification are deployed to strengthen video surveillance
security for critical infrastructures.
LIN TV & FOX Interactive Media in Strategic Alliance
LIN TV Corp. and Fox Interactive Media announced a new strategic relationship and the launch of LIN TV’s new television station web sites. LIN TV is FIM’s first third-party digital publishing partner and will use FIM’s digital platform technology to provide users with a superior local online experience.
LIN TV has launched www.wpri.com and www.fox10tv.com onto FIM’s digital platform and the Company’s other web sites are set to launch over the next few weeks. FIM is delivering both back-end and front-end publishing services to LIN TV’s growing suite of web properties, including content management, video, contextual search and social networking. LIN TV customized the interactive features on its local web sites and unveiled key web site features, including a new video player that is user-friendly and engaging, new weather features, “Map This” programming, new social networking tools, a centralized content management system for seamless content flow and sharing between markets, customized news delivery and user engagement tools.
Pixelworks, Inc. will release its third quarter 2008 financial results on Thursday, October 23, 2008, after market close. Bruce Walicek, President and CEO, and Steven Moore, Vice President and CFO, will host a conference call at 2 p.m. Pacific Time to discuss the Company’s financial results.
The conference call will be open to all interested investors through telephone and live audio Web broadcast. The conference call can be accessed by calling 617-213-8893 and using passcode 96153749.
The Web broadcast can be accessed by visiting the Company’s investor page at www.pixelworks.com. For those unable to listen to the live Web broadcast, it will be archived for thirty days. A replay of the conference call will also be available through midnight on October 28, 2008, and can be accessed by calling 617-801-6888 using passcode 58117784.
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Panasonic tru2way-enabled HDTVs
Panasonic and Comcast have announced the arrival of the tru2way VIERA HDTVs and officially declared the tru2way platform active in Chicago and Denver.
The new Panasonic VIERA HDTVs are built with tru2way technology inside enabling consumers to access two-way digital cable programming, like video on demand, without a cable operator-supplied set-top box. Panasonic and Comcast have worked together to lead the development and deployment of tru2way technology and related products which are based upon specifications developed by CableLabs, the industry’s research and development arm.
Harris helps Google TV ads
Harris Corporation announced that its media inventory service will be integrated with Google TV Ads to create a new sales channel for broadcasters, cable networks and cable system operators. The Harris media inventory service provides an automated way for media companies using Harris Paradigm, OSi-Traffic, BMS and Novar traffic systems to supplement existing revenue by making inventory available to new advertisers through Google TV Ads. The service is currently available for use by cable networks using Paradigm traffic and can be easily adapted to other Harris and third-party systems.
"The media inventory service provides our customers with a new sales channel for their inventory, attracting new advertisers to television that were previously hard to reach," said Harris Morris, vice president, Media and Workflow, Harris Broadcast Communications. "We are excited to enable this new outlet for our clients to enhance their inventory value through Google TV Ads’ sales channels."
Qik Launches First Live Mobile Video Streaming on Mass Market Phones
Qik, Inc. announced that it is the first live
mobile video product to launch on mass market mobile phones. Available
in alpha, Qik's service is now ready for use on more than a dozen
Nokia and Sony Ericsson mass market mobile handsets. With Qik's free
service, users can stream video live to the Internet in just two clicks
from their mobile phone. Those watching the videos on the web can engage in
live interactive chat with the person broadcasting.
"It's a real milestone for mobile technology that an advanced utility
like Qik is now available on mass market cell phones," said Ramu Sunkara,
co-founder and CEO of Qik. "We have been astounded by the use of Qik by
smartphone owners, and are excited to see what mass market cell phone users
will stream live to the Web."
Mass market cell phones include non-PDA and non-smartphone handsets
which are more accessible to a much broader market of customers. These
devices usually carry a lower price point than more advanced phones and
have deep penetration in the global mobile market. Qik's software for these
handsets is based on the Java Platform, Micro Edition, (commonly referred
to as J2ME), the most ubiquitous application platform for mobile devices.
"Nokia is pleased that Qik's innovative live video service is now
available for owners of Nokia feature phones as well as Nokia smartphones,"
said Tom Libretto, Vice President, Forum Nokia. "Qik's release for these
phones adds an exciting new way for people to use an even wider variety of
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