Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | UAE | DVB-H planned for Midyear

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has read Middle East reports that in the United Arab Emirates, telco providers "Etisalat" and "du" are eyeing possible co-operative links with satellite TV providers for digital video broadband-handheld technologies.

Currently the telcos are carrying out DVB-H trials. The reports suggest that DVB-H mobile TV services will be launched across the UAE with specially tailored streaming content around the middle of 2007.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News understands that satellite broadcasters with program packages for their subscribers, Orbit Communications and Showtime are reported to be already in talks with the telco operators for the DVB-H services.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | Singapore | Another Omneon HD User

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been informed that MediaCorp HDTV, 3 months into its trial service in Singapore is another user of Omneon Video Networks' Spectrum high definition (HD) server.

The mirrored system supports a total of six channels of broadcast playout, via a terrestrial transmitter network covering the island state.

MediaCorp HDTV is the first broadcaster in Southeast Asia to undertake such a trial.

Systems integrator, Ascent Media Network Services is handling the technical installation for the MediaCorp HDTV trial project, which was launched on September 1.

Yeo Kim Pow, SVP at MediaCorp said the Omeneon server features a highly scalable architecture that will allow MediaCorp HDTV to expand services when the time is right.

High definition programming content for MediaCorp HDTV focuses mainly on documentary and entertainment material, is being ingested from a tape machine via a Snell & Wilcox Memphis HD encoder.

The 50-Mbps of HD MPEG content is stored on the Omneon server system with a QuickTime wrap around.

Harris D-Series automation controls the Omneon server system.

MediaCorp is Singapore's de facto state broadcaster that runs on commercial lines for its complete range of media business activities: TV, radio, entertainment productions, movie productions, newspapers, magazines, electronic media, and other broadcasting services.

MediaCorp says its vision is to become one of Asia’s top media companies by delivering valued content to the world.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News notes that MediaCorp has one of best self-promotion teams in the broadcast industry in Asia Pacific.


Digital Broadcasters | All India Radio | No More Community Stations

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News reports that in the Rajya Sabha, India's Parliament in a written reply to a question, the Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri P. R. Dasmunsi said on December 8 that five community radio stations have been set up by All India Radio (AIR): two in Meghalaya, two in Nagaland and one in Mizoram.

The Minister said that AIR was not inititing further proposals for community radio stations.

The reason being that the Indian Government had liberalized the policy for granting permission to set up "non-profit" community radio stations.

This category includes any organisation in Civil Society that is a Voluntary such as State Agricultural Universities, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Institutions, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Registered Societies and Autonomous Bodies and Public Trusts registered under the Societies Act or any other such act relevant for the purpose in addition to the educational institutions.

For more details on community radio policy in India, Digital Broadcasters Vendor News recommends you visit the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting website, http://www.mib.nic.in

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Digital Vendors | Taiwan | Chunghwa IPTV Expands

SmartCard vendor, Widevine Technologies of Seattle (funded by Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), Charter Ventures TELUS (NYSE: TU) and others)has informed Digital Broadcasters Vendor News that Taiwan’s state-owned Chunghwa Telecom has purchased a further batch of 300,000 Virtual SmartCards for IPTV premium broadcast and video-on-demand delivery for various consumer devices. Some 500,000 of the same cards were purchased in 2005.

The security embedded cards are usable across many devices, an indication, according to IP Media Research Analyst Colin Dixon of The Diffusion Group that Chunghwa having proven it can scale its IPTV service, so it is beginning to look at bringing those services to multiple consumer devices (including set top boxes, PCs and mobile phones) and resorting to a single security solution such as Widevine’s.

Widevine Cypher is used exclusively to protect the entire Chunghwa multimedia footprint across Taiwan.

Yi-Fong Chang, Chunghwa’s Multimedia Department MD said that by using Widevine’s comprehensive content protection solutions Chunghwa was able to license premium content for its fixed-line business and a further step in its its vision to offer multimedia on demand products to its entire subscriber base.

Chunghwa’s interactive TV service, Multimedia on Demand (MOD), is one of the largest IPTV deployments in the world.

[Digital Broadcasters Vendor News says that by utilising a combination of downloadable conditional access and digital rights management techniques, Widevine enables operators to acquire and license premium studio content and, through unique patented technologies, reduce capital and operational expenditures. It should be noted that Widewine is used by a number of Hollywood studios to secure their entertainment and movie content and is an industry leader.]

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | Thailand | Police Radio Cable TV Operators

The Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) sent Digital Broadcasters Vendor News an announcement that it is in full support in the recent action by Bangkok police high-profile raids on three Bangkok-based cable TV operators. found distributing unlicensed movies and other pay-TV content.

A 30-strong Thai anti-piracy Task Force raided Golden Channel Cable TV, Sunshine Entertainment Cable TV and Thai Soon Cable TV. They seized broadcasting equipment, made arrests and shut down the operators for infringement of copyright and others breaches of the law.

CASBAA said the Thai police action reaffirms the determination of the global video content industry to tackle pay-TV signal theft head-on.

CASBAA said the US headquartered, Motion Picture Association helped to coordinate the Bangkok raids.

The impact of pirated PAY TV broadcast signals across the Asia Pacific was a central theme at the recent CASBAA 2006 Annual meet in Hong Kong.

CASBAA and the Standard Chartered Bank authored a report that estimated that signal theft in Thailand will cost content owners and legitimate pay-TV operators an estimated US$160 million in 2006.

A two-day ASEAN workshop coincidentally has just taken place in Bangkok on “intellectual property rights in broadcasting”, attended by officials of ASEAN member countries: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and Thailand.

Digital Broadcasters | India | 3m Visit ICC STAR Website

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been informed that one of the world's busiest web sites recently has been leading Indian Internet portal, indya.com which has registered over 1.1 billion hits and 234 million page views on its http://iccchampionstrophy.indya.com site since it launched on October 8.

Indya.com was set up specifically for the ICC Champions trophy cricket tournament that was held from October 7 to November 5 in four cities across India: Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mohali and Mumbai (Bombay).

Cricket mad supporters represented the fact that three million unique visitors used the site from around the world, but the most from India itself, followed by users from the US, UK, Pakistan and Australia.

Indya.com hosted country specific packages which were available at different price points, allowing Internet subscribers to buy into a ‘match pack’ - an exclusive gateway to live clips, highlight packages, and expert comments of every match in the tournament. The site served over one million video and live-streaming requests.

iccchampionstrophy.indya.com also offered a unique feature rich application called ‘Matchcast’ that allowed users to access live scores, ball-by-ball updates of on-going matches, player and team backgrounds and a host of other information cricket enthusiasts would bowl their arm out for.

Indya.com is the official internet partner of the International Cricket Council. The STAR subsidiary has been designated by the ICC to develop, host and market the official global web destination for the "Champions Trophy" competition.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News notes that sponsors on the site throughout the month long tournament included Lufthansa Airlines and Monster.com . The German flag carrying airline, obviously recognises the significance the impact of cricket in India, where it has joint venture activities in the aviation sector.

Digital Broadcasters | India | Lok Sabha TV Installed Harris Equipment

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been advised that Florida-based, Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) has installed a Harris NEXIO NewsNet newsroom system in India at the country's Parliament.

Lok Sabha TV, operates from facilities in Parliament House in New Delhi.

The 24/7 channel covers a variety of parliamentary proceedings and broadcasts the live footage programmed as a formal television channel that is transmitted across the country.

The NewsNet newsroom system installation includes NEXIO servers in a mirrored configuration; Velocity non-linear editors; an X75 multiple- path converter/synchronizer; an IconMaster SDTV/HDTV - configurable master control system; an IconStation system for on-air branding; a variety of 6800+ and NEO processing modules; and Videotek test and measurement equipment. The hardware is controlled by Harris H-Class, ADC Playout Automation.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News understands that Lok Sabha TV appointed the Prasar Bharati subsidiary, BECIL (Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited) as the project management consultant that selected the technology and supervised the implementation. Systems integrator Ideal Systems Asia Pacific Ltd. was responsible for configuring, supplying, installing and commissioning the facility.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | New Zealand | SKY and TVNZ Joint Broadcast Rights Holders

For New Zealand, SKY Television and Television New Zealand, have jointly informed Digital Broadcasters Vendor News, that they have acquired the broadcast rights for the International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Series for the next five years, 2007-2011, including acting as host broadcaster for the NZI Sevens at Westpac Stadium in February.

Under the five year agreement with NZRU, SKY and TVNZ will provide coverage of the series starting on December 1 and 2 in Dubai, followed by rest of the 2006/7 season tournaments from George in South Africa, Wellington, San Diego, Hong Kong, Adelaide, London and finishing on June 2 and 3 2007 in Edinburgh.

Sky will cover the action live from all tournaments and TVNZ will screen live coverage from the Wellington and Hong Kong rounds, plus extended highlights coverage from all other tournaments.

"We are delighted to be in partnership with Sky in order to provide expansive coverage across both Networks of this prestigious global series", says TVNZ's General Manager of Sport, Murray Needham.

"As New Zealand's public broadcaster for television, we're delighted to be continuing our long term partnership with the IRB Sevens Series, working alongside the NZRU and WRU, which we have done since the IRB Sevens Series started in 1999".

Digital Broadcasters | India | Fresh Community Radio Rules Announced

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been informed that in India the government has laid down the rules for civilian organisations, NGOs, and other non profit organisations to apply for community radio licenses, as announced on November 16.

This means that India is the first country in South Asia to have a separate policy for community radio.

It has taken more than a decade for India's landmark judgment which declared that airwaves a public property by the Supreme Court.

Voices, the grass roots publication, Bangalore says that since then initiatives especially from rural India demonstrated the need for voices of the excluded, to move to the center. November 16th, is not only a historic day for these communities but for all of the country who are committed to media democratisation and the realization of a three tiered media structure- public, private and community; based on principles of equity and inclusiveness.

The icing on the broadcast cake is that advertising will be permitted to finance community radio operations.

The announcement was distributed by the Regional Co-ordination office of AMARC Asia Pacific, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Digital Broadcasters | CASBAA 2006 | Review

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia presents an in-house review of CASBAA Convention 2006

The four-day CASBAA Convention 2006, labeled as “From Bandwidth to Brandwidth”, drew more than 1,500 attendees from over 30 countries. The CASBAA Convention, October 24-27 debated major issues such as the monetisation of newly-available communications bandwidth; the way to attract new investment to communications infrastructure and the provision of video value to customers.

Michael Fries, CEO of Liberty Global was the keynote speaker. He stressed that the future of pay-TV revenues and delivery is ‘”all about capacity” and listed "Seven Basic Truths" for the pay-TV industry:

* 1) The pay-TV market is not moving as fast among consumers as many media professionals believe;

* 2) Technology remains ahead of consumer demand;

* 3) As service providers push network speed as a selling point, applications must catch up;

* 4) Managed services will prevail with a "flight to quality"; 5) Interoperability will become the equivalent of McDonalds’ “secret sauce”;

* 6) The power of bundling remains, allowing customers to navigate in an increasingly complex market; and

* 7) “Consumers need help” and no-one should be left behind in the rush into new technology.

On investments, CASBAA delegates heard from Gabby Lopez, the chairman and CEO of ABS-CBN Broadcasting, the largest broadcaster in the Philippines, Remi Hinduja, the chairman of Indian communications conglomerate Hinduja TMT and John Kwun, MD, Carlyle Group, which recently invested US$1.5 billion in Taiwan cable operator EMC.

John Kwun made a simple point: “We invest in telecoms and media companies because of the steadiness of the cash flow, the defensibility of the market positions that the companies are in and the exciting growth prospects with new technologies and services that are being introduced."

On Mobile TV, numerous experts gave their insights on the delivery of content via mobile TV. Delegates were undecided on the viability of Mobile TV. Casey Harwood, SVP, Digital Media at Turner Europe, was firmly bullish: “There is a demand for small screen TV - people just don't know it yet," he said.

The other dominant technology topic was IPTV, and yet to mature in many markets. A technology panel concluded that technical issues such as the bandwidth required for optimum quality video delivery via the Internet may take another five years to resolve.

Pay-TV piracy in the Asia Pacific co-presented by CASBAA and Standard Chartered Bank confirmed that signal theft remains a huge problem. The joint CASBAA/SCB study estimated that pay-TV piracy cost the industry US$1.13 billion this year, compared to US$1.06 billion in 2005, with illegal connections reaching 5.2 million across the reguion.

Other highlights of the Convention included the CASBAA Technology Showcase 2006, The Sun Mobile Forum, CASBAA China Forum, CASBAA India Forum and Targeting Japan, with additional keynote addresses and “in Conversations” with Louise Sams, President, Turner Broadcasting System International; Kip Meek, Chief Policy Partner of Ofcom & President of the European Regulators Group (2006); Huang Wei, CTO, Hunan TV and Irwin Gotlieb, the Global CEO of GroupM.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia will leave for others to write about the "Awards" at CASBAA 2006, a mutual back slapping affair with no true meaning, except self gratification.

We also believe that not enough "Asian" Executives were asked to present speeches to delegates.

Korea leads in broadband delivery worldwide. Where were they represented in a meaningful way? This is after all Asia. Caucasians always see themselves as the leaders. Until the top heavy Caucasian leadership in CASBAA gives way to a more balanced representation, the organisation will fail at the political obstacles in the region.

Digital Broadcasters | BBC Arabic | Focus On Workers Rights

Competition between international broadcasters in the Arab world is hotting up with the launch of al-Jazeera English TV Worldwide on November 15.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News notes how the BBC Arabic radio service series of debates on major regional issues goes from strength to strength.

The the second series is focusing on Kuwait (broadcasts November 15), Jordan (November 29) and Sudan (December 4,6 and 9). In Kuwait and Jordan the issue is workers' rights. In Sudan, firmly center stage are: the education of women, migration from the countryside to the city, and development and unemployment

The series is a joint initiative of the BBC Trust and BBC Arabic,and supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). BBC Arabic is utilising its radio and TV resources and output, an online presence and the proceedings will also be relayed by state broadcasters in Kuwait and Jordan.

The BBC Arabic service will use phone ins and a studio audience in each of the locales visited.

Interestingly, Sudan which is generally a protagonist voice against the West shows solid respect for BBC broadcasts. It is in Sudan where BBC Arabic takes to the road featuring fthree main topics; the education of women, migration from the countryside to the city and development and unemployment.

The debates take place in Khartoum on December 4, Wad Medani (Dec 6) and Port Sudan (Dec 9).

The debates follow BBC Arabic’s successful five-week "Your future… who decides it?" interactive road show which met 270,000 young people in Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, West Bank and Syria earlier this year.

Digital Vendors | Australia | Mobile Device Security at Airports

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News wonders how Australians take care of their computers and mobile devices when travelling.

A survey into “Mobile Device Security at Airports” by Pointsec Mobile Technologies earlier this summer shows Brits are lackadaisical – when it comes to losing mobile devices compared to many of their counterparts around the globe! Between 40-50% of people can’t be bothered trekking to the lost property office of a hectic airport to reclaim their mobile phone, laptop or PDA - they’d prefer to claim from their insurance company or let their company provide them with a new upgraded version and enjoy their trip instead. However, there is a security risk attached to not claiming a mobile device. After 3 months they are auctioned by the airport and with 1 in 4 having no security on them (according to the lost property office) – they could become a potential security risk to the owner or their company!

Heathrow airport alone has around 5 laptops and 10 mobile phones handed in everyday with just 60% being reclaimed the rest go to local auction houses after 3 months. This means that Heathrow airport auction around 730 lost laptops every year and 1460 mobile phones! So if you want a cheap mobile phone or laptop you know where to go to pick one up at a knock-down second hand price!

Peter Larsson, CEO for Pointsec, said “Often people do not realise how valuable their information can be to others such as hackers, competitors or thieves. Most people keep personal and customer details on their mobile devices and in our experience it’s when these contact details go missing that people and their companies really begin to worry."

Larsson added that mobile devices are cheap these days, so people can’t be bothered to reclaim them, as they know their company will probably give them a new, more fancy upgrade. Therefore it’s far more important for the company to protect the information and make it a mandatory procedure to have encryption on all mobile devices and individuals too should always use passwords and try and encrypt the data if it’s sensitive.

Meanwhile, other Europeans were all keen to collect their laptops. However, they were in many cases also pretty carefree when it came to trying to trace their mobile phones. Not surprisingly in the Finland, the land of the mobile phone, just over half of people bothered to reclaim their mobile phone but 91% reclaimed their laptops.

Now, as for the Australians they are also pretty keen to reclaim their laptops with an almost 100% monthly reclaim rate in the Melbourne (20 Laptops), Adelaide (1), Perth (1) and Brisbane (4) airports which were surveyed. But bizarrely in Brisbane, of the mobile phones that are handed in every week, absolutely none were reclaimed. Conversely, Melbourne mobiles handed in were 35. All were claimed.

Larsson of Pointsec Mobile Technologies adds a final note of caution: “With ID theft at an all time high with an estimated 100,000 people a year affected costing in the region of £1.7 billion in the UK alone - those people who do lose a mobile device at an airport should think twice about whether they should take the time to reclaim it, otherwise it will be auctioned with the contents freely available to whoever buys it at a public auction 3 months later!”

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been advised by Pointsec Mobile Technologies to be vigilant when travelling!

* Be prepared that PC's will get lost, statistics show they probably will, so why not write pop up messages on the screen with contact details which offers a reward if it is found.

* Ensure you have a working back up policy.

Note: When Pointsec’s researcher phoned the lost property office at London’s Heathrow airport they said that there had been a dramatic increase in the number of lost laptops since BAA had stepped up security. People now have to take their laptop out of their bags and turn them on to ensure they are not a security risk. It is then that people seem to leave their laptop behind in the security area of the departure lounge.

Digital Broadcasters | Asia | ABU Advocates Tsunami Broadcast System

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been informed that Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) has made a direct call to vendors of analog broadcast equipment to incorporate an Emergency Warning Broadcast System (EWBS) in ABU member countries to minimise the damage and impact of disasters.

The call is the result of an ABU General Assembly in Beijing on November 9 that adopted a declaration to implement an EWBS. ABU members are set to urge their national regulators to enact provisions to implement such a system.

Incorporating EWBS feature in digital radio and digital TV equipment and software, was based on a recommendation by the ABU Technical Committee which has studied the feasibility of implementing such a system.

The ABU Technical Committee recommended that the EWBS control signals to be used for analog broadcasting in the ABU countries should be those developed by ITU-R (International Telecommunication Union – Radiocommunication Sector, an agency of the United Nations).

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News suggests that it is a natural progression for vendors to incorporate EWBS automatically, not just for analog devices.

In order to minimise the damage and impact of disasters, ABU members would support the development of EWBS systems for the Asia-Pacific region in close coordination with national or international organisations identified for issuing disaster forecasts. ABU members would also urge their national regulators to enact provisions to implement EWBS systems in the Asia-Pacific region and encourage manufacturers to produce receivers with the EWBS feature.

“Conveying timely warning to the public before the occurrence of disasters must be a high priority. ABU members will coordinate closely with international organisations to enable the flow of time- critical information through the most appropriate and effective channels,” said David Astley, ABU Secretary-General.

“Even though it is nearly two years after the disasters of the Asian tsunami, we still have a situation where most countries in the region do not have a system whereby they can receive early warnings of potential tsunamis and other natural occurrences which may cause disasters.

“It is therefore timely that we take some action to try and rectify this situation and will actively help countries that do not have these alert systems set up yet,” said Mr Astley.

Digital Broadcasters | Iran | ABU AGM 2007 Meet in Tehran

A Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Diary Note - At the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) 2006 General Assembly gathering in Beijing this month it was decided that the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) will host the next 2007 General Assembly in Tehran on 3-5 November 2007.

IRIB has been a key player within the ABU for many years, and is well respected.

In Beijing also, RTM-Malaysia Director-General, Abdul Rahman Hamid, has replaced as Vice-President of the union until the end of 2008 Zainal Abidin Iberahim also from RTM, who retired from the Malaysian public broadcaster in June.

Islamic Republic Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) First Vice-President, Mohammad Honardoost, was re-elected as Vice-President to serve a second term beginning from January 2007. The other ABU Vice-President is Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) Director of Broadcasting, Chu Pui Hing.

The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) is the regional non-profit, non-government, professional association of broadcasting organisations, formed in 1964 to facilitate the development of broadcasting. It currently has over 160 members in 56 countries and regions, with its broadcaster members reaching a potential audience of about 3 billion people.


Digital Broadcasters | TV Archiving Bad Worldwide

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has learned that that Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) 2006 General Assembly in Beijing heard how bad is the state of terrestrial TV broadcast archiving across the world.

It seems that the rapid advances in storing and transmission formats of TV programming has left valuable archive materials stranded.

The range of programs includes culturally important content with a historical perspective, and recordings of national events that are priceless in that they are the sole record of many such occasions.

Many TV program hours are untransferable to a more permanent digital format in their current locations because the original analog equipment has worn out or been replaced.

The findings were based on a survey undertaken by the World Broadcasting Unions on the state of the world’s audiovisual archives.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | Shanghai | Media Group Slashes Mobile TV Subscriber Rates

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been notified that from November 1 the Shanghai Media Group's (SMG) subsidiary, Shanghai Dragon Mobile Media (DMTV) and China Mobile have lowered their fees for Mobile TV service.

Subscribers to DMTV's 'Oriental Dream World' mobile TV service paid more than RMB 300 (USD 37.5) per month for a full package including live sports and movies. Now they pay just RMB 10 (USD 1.25) per month and can have access to all the programs.

Industry watchers say the joint move is intended to be a permanent one and to encourage user subscription and give the mobile TV content more exposure to consumers.

DMTV, said that prior to November 1 it had 200,000 paying subscribers and 300,000 subscribers for its free content. It now predicts its paid subscription base will grow to one million plus across the whole of the country. DMTGV noted the changes were competitive with cable TV charges which average RMB 12 (USD 1.5) monthly across the PRC.

User profiles are more easily understood from records associated with Mobile TV as are consumption patterns which can help sell advertising segments.

Also, Digital broadcasters Vendor News Asia understands that DMTV recognised early on - in 2005 - that content/program segments had to be of 3-5 minutes in length to meet the consumer-on-the-move usage of Mobile TV services.

Digital Broadcasters | Mobile TV | Nokia Predicts 5 sec Ad Spots the Norm


A Nokia commissioned report from the London School of Economics gives valuable insights into the impact of "mobility on television". (This applies to Asian broadcasters Mobile TV services as anywhere else! - Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia)

Personalisation and interactivity will be the key drivers of mobile TV according to a new report commissioned by Nokia and conducted by Dr Shani Orgad from the London School of Economics. The report, titled ‘This Box Was Made For Walking’, examines the future impact of mobile TV on the broadcasting and advertising industries.

The report predicts that the introduction and adoption of mobile TV will ultimately give way to a more personal and private TV experience than that of traditional broadcast TV, with big implications for users, content providers and advertisers. Users will be able to receive content anytime, anywhere, choose what is most relevant to them, and even create and upload their own television content, while content providers and advertisers will be able to tailor their offerings more specifically to the user.

“For mobile TV to become more than just television on the move, it will have to build on existing channels, programmes, and ways of watching television and using the Internet.” said Dr Shani Orgad. “Mobile TV will become a multimedia experience with an emphasis on personalisation, interactivity and user-generated content.”

“We are currently entering a new era in television, that of personal TV and video consumption,” said Harri Männistö, Director, Multimedia, Nokia. “This LSE report highlights the opportunities for both broadcasters and advertisers in this new mobile television era.”

According to the report, the current trend of user generated content, as seen by the phenomenal growth of YouTube, will be a key feature of mobile TV. As consumers increasingly use their mobile devices to create video content, new broadcast platforms will emerge to distribute this content to other mobile users. The United States television channel, Current TV, is a good indicator of the future with 30% of its programming consisting of user-generated content.

Introducing the five second ad spot

Dr Orgad examined the impact of mobile TV on the advertising industry and predicts new opportunities for the industry as it is able to better target and interact with key audiences. On mobile TV, advertisers will be able to pinpoint their messages to users according to very specific levels not possible with traditional TV and at success rates higher than those of the Internet.

The report also reveals that advertisers are currently experimenting with five and seven second-long ad spots to be better suited to the ‘snacking culture’ of mobile TV viewing.

What will people watch?

The report predicts that mobile TV programming will be a combination of original content from broadcast television and new content made specifically for mobile.

It is expected that the most popular genres and programmes on mobile TV will be news, entertainment (soaps, reality shows, comedy, animation), sport, music and children’s programmes. Moreover, the content will be tailored with the mobile viewer in mind: *Much shorter and more concise news bulletins *User interactivity in the plots of reality TV shows and game shows *Growing importance of user-generated content *New distribution formats: in China, for instance, the movie Kung Fu Hustle was made into ten segments for mobile TV

New TV content

The mobile TV viewing experience is also likely to see new program formats emerging. These include:

*Talking heads and close ups – due to the small screen size, broadcasters will need to focus on talking heads, where viewers will be able to watch close-ups and see the details, rather than capturing a wide screen.

*‘Snackable content’ – mobile TV content will need to be suitable for ‘snacking’.

*Mobisodes – mobisodes are fragmented and small made-for-mobile episodes that cater to bite-sized portions of content on the go. Visual spectacle – programmes will need to emphasise visual spectacle over conventional narrative and be image-orientated.

*Local content – content should be relevant for the here-and-now of viewers.

New prime times

Broadcasters are likely to see a new midday prime time with mobile TV according to the report. This is backed up by consumer trials of mobile TV in Europe which revealed heavy usage of mobile TV during the day as well as during the more traditional early morning and late evening prime times.

This Box Was Made For Walking was written by Dr Shani Orgad, from the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics, based on a review of existing literature, analysis of mobile TV consumer trials, interviews with experts in the fields of television, mobile media, advertising and other media, and attendance at industry events.

About Dr Shani Orgad

Dr Shani Orgad is a Lecturer in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom. She currently directs the MSc programme New Media, Information and Society. She holds a BA in Media and Communications, Sociology and Anthropology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and an MSc in Media and Communications and a Ph.D. in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics.

She has lectured on Internet, Communication and Globalisation, Media, Culture and Society, Media and Globalisation, and Media and Gender to undergraduates and postgraduates in both Cambridge University and the London School of Economics. Orgad is on the editorial board for New Media and Society and the Review board of the Association of Internet Researchers. She has participated as a chair, organiser, reviewer and speaker in number of international conferences, for example, Association of Internet Researchers’ annual conferences (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004), Computer-Mediated Communication, the Internet, and Social Aspects thereof (2002), The Value of Information in Networked Contexts (2004), and Global Media Matter (2002).

By the way, the London School of Economics and Political Science is unique in the United Kingdom in its concentration on research and teaching across the full range of the social, political and economic sciences. In the most recent available UK Government Research Assessment Exercise, the School's research was ranked overall second among more than 200 universities and colleges, surpassing that of Oxford and only second to Cambridge. The LSE is Europe’s leading social sciences university and has been home to 13 Nobel Prize winners and 28 past and present heads of state.

The LSE faculty, like its postgraduate and doctoral students, are unusually international in composition, giving the School a unique insight into research and studies in an international and comparative context. More than 700 academic and research staff work in 19 Departments, 27 Research Centres and 5 Interdisciplinary Institutes, making LSE’s strength in depth second to none in its respective fields.

LSE staff have extensive academic links with premier universities and research institutions around the world. Internationally, LSE staff are involved in research projects on all six continents, addressing real world problems in a context of rapid global change.


This report has been brought to you by Digital Broadcasters Vendor News - an independent voice on digital broadcasting in Asia-Pacific, Australia/New Zealand and the Middle East.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Digital Vendor | Singapore | HDTV Countdown has Started

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News notes that local Singapore digital vendor, Skycom Satellite Systems and its DRACO Model: HDTV 3900 set top box have been selected for the HDTV six months trial by MediaCorp.

The trial is the countdown to the start of HDTV in Singapore next summer.

In 1999 Skycom Satellite Systems was awarded the task by NSTB (Singapore's National Science & Technology Board) for its Research and Development initiative in the development of a Singapore origin, satellite digital STB.

Since then, Skycom Satellite Systems has manufactured different models of Satellite and Terrestrial Set Top Boxes being sold directly to End Users, TV Operators as well as OEM manufacturing for various established brands.

Skycom STB's are currently sold to many countries across Europe and in Australia and Asia.

In the Singapore HDTV STB project, which is considered the first in the world, Skycom Satellite Systems is the main development center. It is incorporating technologies from Singapore, India and HK/China - indicative of true, international collaboration.

Skycom says that its mission is time critical - with less than 6 months from start to adoption of HDTV, from concept development, to product and software development, comprehensive testing in the laboratory and with Mediacorp and Singapore Telecom engineers, plus the digital HDTV boxes to be manufactured and delivered by June- in time for the official launch date of the Singapore HDTV service.

Digital Vendors | Japan | Eyeheight at Inter BEE 2006

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News reminds you that Inter BEE 2006, takes place at the Makuhari Messe, Tokyo, Wednesday November 15 through Friday 17.

We have received a number of product updates.

This one is from digital vendor, Eyeheight, based in Watford in the U.K.

The latest additions to Eyeheight's range of modular HD, SD and multi- definition broadcast equipment will be exhibited at InterBEE 2006 including Infinity Design;as well as a safe area generator, colour corrector, keyer and legaliser, plus a new SD multichannel source identifier.

One of Eyeheight's highlights will be a powerful enhancement to its colour correctors. An integral Ethernet control interface enables all facilities and control menus to be operated from a PC via one-to- one connection, local network or remote internet access. The Ethernet control feature is available as an option for canalettoSDi (standard- definition), canalettoHDi (high-definition) or canalettoMDi (multi- definition).

Eyeheight also offers new configuration software for the established playout master control switcher.

New from Eyeheight is a safeEyesMDi multiDef safe area generator that enables program-makers, editors and telecine transfer facilities to ensure that the essential elements of their source material remain within the safe areas of a 16:9 television display. User-selected guide markers can be superimposed on a video display without being visible on the main programme feed.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News says that Eyeheight is known as a world-leading innovator in the design of multiformat broadcast equipment and is a reliable vendor.


Digital Vendors | USA | Broadcast Archiving Specialist Joins Media Matters

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has learned that Ian Gilmour, well known in broadcast archiving in Australia and formally the Manager of Engineering, Research and Conservation at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, has joined the staff of the media preservation consultancy, Media Matters LLC in the USA.

Gilmour will act as the Chief Media Preservation Consultant and lead company research projects. He will also act as a consultant to the Media Matters subsidiary product company, SAMMA Systems.

Gilmour, a preservation expert and consultant and known for managing technical facilities, operations, engineering and research programs, databases and media asset management systems, has worked for the National Film and Sound Archive in Australia, Library of Congress, National Library of Australia, National Archives of Australia, and Radio New Zealand.

He is a member of the Technical Committee of IASA, and former chair the Preservation Committee of AMIA. He has participated in the UNESCO Memory of the World Project for Safeguarding the Audiovisual Heritage, and has written and presented papers on preservation, restoration and the delivery of audio, video and magnetic media for IASA, AustralAsian Sound Recording Association, IEEE, AES, AMIA, FIAT and IBC.

Media Matters, LLC is a technical consultancy specializing in archival audio and video material. Media Matters provides advice, analysis, and products to media archives, plus integration of digital technologies with traditional archival practice.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | Australia | AFL Rights to ABC Radio

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News praises ABC Radio in Australia for retaining national free to listen to coverage of the Australian Football League rights for 2007, 2008 and 2009 through its 60 local station network that serves 95 per cent of the country.

The deal signed in mid-October ensures ABC Radio to remain a major player in AFL Radio and sports coverage.

The main features of the new agreement with the AFL are:

* ABC Local Radio will broadcast a minimum of 5 matches every weekend into Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and Northern Territory. * ABC Local Radio may also broadcast all Finals matches and matches on Public Holidays and other days outside the regular weekend match timeslots. * In Melbourne and Victoria, the Friday night match, a Saturday afternoon game, a Saturday evening game, the early Sunday match and the twilight Sunday match will be broadcast. * In Western Australia and South Australia, all matches involving the local teams will be broadcast. * Coverage of AFL into NSW, Queensland and the ACT through ABC Local Radio and ABC NewsRadio will continue. * ABC Radio coverage will be heard internationally on Radio Australia.

ABC Local Radio's comprehensive sports website providing information on news and results is at http://abc.net.au/grandstand/

Australian Rules Football - unique to Australia, a cross between rugby and soccer is a national institution and avidly followed.

Digital Broadcasters | Japan | YouTube Infringes Broadcasters Copyrights

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia applauds the move by the Japanese broadcasters against YouTube in Japan for copyright infringements covering 29,549 online video files. Those files were mostly entertainment and music TV programs.

The Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers (JASRAC), which collects royalty payments for musicians, acted on behalf of and was backed by all of Japan's major TV networks, public broadcaster Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), some regional and cable TV broadcasters, and other organizations including the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) and Yahoo Japan.

Perhaps the reason that YouTube in Japan is targeted is that YouTube ideally serves the cult following among Japanese Pop Culture with its simple placement and storage of music clips that are easily accessed.

Figures shown to Digital Broadcasters Vendor News show that YouTube Japan grew massively from December 2005 with 201,000 users to 2.1million just three months later.

Google is buying YouTube.

Digital Broadcasters | New Zealand | BetaCarts Out Omneon Server In at TVNZ

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia has heard from Omneon Video Networks that Television New Zealand (TVNZ), that the country's state TV terrestrial broadcaster, now in its transition to a full digital installation has replaced its analog Sony Betacart tape-based studio production playout systems with a digital non-linear multichannel Omneon Spectrum media server system with a capacity of 4 TB of shared storage.

The move takes TVNZ (operating TV One and TV2 networks) from 20 years of relying on analogue into an era where the new Omneon Spectrum server has the ability to accept digital content that improves quality, speeds up production time, minimizes error, and eliminates the issue of lost tapes.

To implement the new digital project, TVNZ designed a completely new ingest, production, and playout workflows system to replace the original playout functionality of the Betacarts, at its main production and playout center in Auckland.

In the re-configuration, the Omneon installation allows TVNZ to replicate its earlier playout functionality while implementing file transfers of content from the facility’s edit suites.

Significantly, TVNZ staff continue to work in familiar playout operations while working with digital content ingested via an Omneon MediaController interface. The MediaController panel and software provide robust ingest functionality, giving users single-button control in driving a VTR and an input port on the Omneon server system to execute frame-accurate dubs from VTR systems, crash records from tape or live feeds, or scheduled records from satellite.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News also understands that in the near future, digital content prepared by TVNZ production teams will be transferred from Avid edit systems onto the Omneon server system for playout.

Two Hi Tech active CartBox controllers, which mimic the operation of the familiar Betacart operator’s control panel, allow the studio team to cue and roll clips from the server, playing those clips out on specific channels or assigning clips to programmed shots.

Digital Broadcasters | India | WorldSpace has Added Sarabhi Radio

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News believes it is commendable that WorldSpace - the all digital radio satellite broadcaster has added a new "niche" Indian radio channel - Surabhi.

Surabhi captures the cultural ethos of the legendary Maratha tradition and the interests of Maharashtrians in their poetry, literature and theater.

The channel covers the whole range of Marathi music in its programming output. It promises to transmit Bhaavgeet songs (with 'bhaav' - emotions), Abhangas (devotional songs), Powadas (patriotic songs), Natyasangeet (songs used in plays), Lavani and Lokgeet (folk songs)and other specialised genres.

The "Surabhi" radio channel joins a growing portfolio of Indian regional language radio channels on the WORLDSPACE Satellite Radio Network beamed as part of the AsiaStar satellite foot print coverage area. These include Tamil (KL Radio), Malayalam (RM Radio), Telugu(Spandana), Kannada (Sparsha), Bengali (Tara), Punjabi (Tunak Punjabi), and Urdu (Falak).

While WORLDSPACE says it is dedicated to enhancing subscribers' personal listening experience through the continuous addition of unique, new content that helps connect people away from home with the music and tradition of their people, Digital Broadcasters Vendor News reminds you these are pay radio services that have to be subscribed to using special WorldSpace satellite tuners.

Digital Broadcasters | CASBAA | Mobile TV Group To Lead Or Be Lead

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia views the formation of a CASBAA Mobile TV Group to focus on the deployment of Mobile TV across Asia Pacific as admirable.

What is so surprising then is that the CASBAA Mobile TV Group appears to be formed late in the day, showing a reactionary stance not one of industry leadership. This still reflects the tardiness of the core CASBAA group the "broadcasters" to face new technologies head on.

I say this in the knowledge that Mobile TV has been the hot topic along with IPTV applications since mid-2005 and throughout 2006.

Mobile TV represents one of the biggest potential revenue streams for the traditional broadcasters (as program/content providers).

So why wasn't the CASBAA Mobile Group started earlier? The group by the way, comprises Turner Broadcasting, ESPN Star Sports, CNBC Asia, BBC World, STAR Group, Walt Disney Television International and Sony Pictures TV International, as well as platform operator PCCW, handset manufacturer Nokia and chipset supplier Sun Microsystems.

Following its Group's formation, it met with the DVB-H Asia Pacific Alliance (DAPA), which comprises DVB-H dedicated broadcast platform operators such as Bridge Networks of Australia, MiTV of Malaysia and MECA from Indonesia, as well as Nokia at the CASBAA 2006 get together late last month.

It seems CASBAA had to learn from a meeting earlier in the year first, from the Asia Mobile Initiative (AMI), where video-to-mobile streaming information was exchanged with roaming platforms M1- Vodafone (Singapore), Celcom (Malaysia), DTAC (Thailand) and SMART (Philippines) before taking the project forward.

It is getting on for six months since the "Change or Die" speech on June 20 by Jeffrey Soong, of Hong Kong-based, Broadband Network Systems at the CommunicAsia 2006 conference. Soong 's reality check was to change the established industry mind set to handle today's Entertainment World which puts the proposition that the consumers want 24/7 access whenever and wherever they want. Entertainment comes to them and not the other way around.

Digital Broadcasters vendor news suggests that Mobile TV is a key part of that mix.

Six months could represent a lot of lost revenue.

Digital Vendors | India | Bharti Adds New Nokia Contract

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News notes that Bharti Airtel Limited one of India's larger telecoms providers, has awarded Nokia a 3-year, USD 400 million contract to expand its managed GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks and deploy a pan-Indian WAP solution across its networks. Basically the deal expands Bharti Airtel's multi-media applications over its networks.

Nokia will provide managed services and expand Airtel networks in all of Mumbai, Maharashtra & Goa, Gujarat, Bihar (including Jharkhand), Orissa, Kolkata, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh (including Chattisgarh). The network monitoring operations will be carried out from Nokia's state-of-the-art Global Network Services Center in Chennai.

Bharti Airtel Limited is one of India's leading private sector providers of telecommunications services with an aggregate of 25.89 million customers as of end of July'06, consisting of 24.34 million mobile customers. Bharti Airtel has been being ranked among the top 10 best performing companies in the world in the BusinessWeek IT 100 list. Digital Broadcasters Vendor News says that Bharti Airtel was the first private operator to provide mobile phone services in all the telecoms regions in India.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Digital Vendors | PRC | RadioScape Mobile TV Scores Big in China

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia (DBVNA) Q & A with Phil Smith, RadioScape's Senior VP Sales and Operations following its opening earlier this year of an office in Hong Kong (its first outside of the UK) as a regional base.

(DBVNA) - Why choose Hong Kong as your Asia Pacific regional base, say in comparison to Singapore, or Sydney?

(Phil Smith) - Hong Kong is the logical choice for a number of reasons. · It is close to the companies who make the modules for us in China · It is close to our customers who build the modules into DAB radios · Hong Kong has a ready supply of high qualified, highly motivated engineers · Hong Kong has a very pro-business environment

(DBVNA) - If PRC is a target market, why not set up in China proper?

(Phil Smith) - Hong Kong is only an hour by train from our customers and suppliers. Hong Kong is well established as a gateway to China.

(DBVNA) - Currently Mobile TV is a hot topic as are the DVB-H and T- DMB segments with trials taking place across the region. How do you see the industry take up of these choices and why?

(Phil Smith) - Lack of frequencies will delay the take up of DVB-H is some countries but it has some major companies supporting it. T-DMB uses readily available DAB frequencies and so provides a solution now. We believe that in a few years receivers will be able to receive both DVB-H and T-DMB so that the user can freely roam from country to country. To this end, we using our well established software defined design skills to create such as solution.

(DBVNA) - Tell us more about the priority in R&D you are undertaking.

(Phil Smith) - Our priority is to develop software defined Mobile TV solutions that will be able to receive both DVB-H, DAB-IP and T-DMB. This is the focus of our new Development Centre in Hong Kong.

(DBVNA) - You refer to local "sourcing" what is the significance of that. You are not unique in this regard?

(Phil Smith) - Because our modules have the ability to be easily customised to suit the specific requirements of customers, it is vital that we keep our fingers closely on the pulse of the sources and production operations.

(DBVNA) - Where do you see your main market competition coming from?

(Phil Smith) - We are unique in that we provide solutions for both digital radio and Mobile TV broadcasting as well as receiver technology. This gives us unparalleled systems knowledge in house that our competitors in either segment cannot match.

(DBVNA) - Which Asia-Pacific markets do you consider will move ahead quickest bearing in mind that Korea and Japan seem to have a head start.

(Phil Smith) - China is a rapidly growing market for Mobile TV – the 12th installation was launched in September by Beijing Radio Stations and its affiliated company, Beijing Jolon Media Broadcasting Co., Ltd. with full digital multi-media broadcasting services powered by RadioScape’s Professional Broadcast System. This provides digital audio and video programs for mobile devices such as cellular phones, PDAs, and MP4s (advanced video players). The station has been offering DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast) from April 2006 and now adds multimedia information on government affairs, daily life, the city and real-time traffic news and weather.

(DBVNA) - Of all of your product sales what percentage comes from Asia-Pacific.

(Phil Smith) - As virtually all the manufacturers of digital radios are in the Asia Pacific region, the percentage is naturally very high. When it comes to broadcasting systems, we sell these around the world.

(DBVNA) - How does a company like yours cut across the choices of system (i.e. recommendations to clients) as you work in both DVB and DMB? In fact is there a lot of confusion in the current marketplace on choice of which system best suited to be a new source of income generation for your clients.

(Phil Smith) - By working on offering our customers a software- defined solution that enables them to provide customers with receivers that can be used with all the different systems.

(DVBNA) - Thank you Mr Smith.

(DBVNA) - As a post script, RadioScape says that the China broadcasters want to have systems in place and working for the 2008 Olympic Games and the company has been working closely with them for the past three years to achieve this. To date, RadioScape says it has thirteen installations up and running in China covering all the major conurbations.

Radioscape says that the success of Mobile TV in China is, in part, due to the adoption of Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) as a delivery technology. This uses the well-proven, Eureka 147 Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) standard with additional forward error correction to ensure robust video reception in both fixed and mobile environments. One of key advantages of DMB is that the required spectrum is already available in many countries unlike other systems that have spectrum allocation issues that may take several years to resolve. This technology enables both digital audio and Mobile TV to be received on the same mobile device, which has proved a very popular feature according to users in trials.

Note about RadioScape

London-based, RadioScape Plc is the world’s only developer of end-to- end digital audio broadcasting solutions giving RadioScape unmatched systems knowledge and enabling it to ensure that customers receive the highest levels of quality, robustness and reception at all stages.

Its Digital Radio Broadcast Suite is used extensively throughout the world including the largest DAB installation to date -- the UK’s commercial DAB network. This is also being used to roll out Mobile TV services using Digital Multimedia Broadcasting in many countries, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, particularly China.

RadioScape’s innovative Software Defined Digital Radio approach has made it a leader in DAB and DMB technology with its DAB receiver modules being extensively used by many of the world’s leading consumer electronics manufacturers. The company has recently begun shipping its first generation of DRM/DAB modules, enabling multi- standard consumer receivers to reach retail this year.

The company is privately held.


Digital Broadcasters | PRC | IPTV and Beijing Olympics 2008 at 43rd ABU Meet

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News reminds you that this week the

43rd ABU general assembly is being hosted by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) of the People’s Republic of China at the Sheraton Great Wall Hotel in Beijing.

The usual before hand Technical, Program and Sports group meetings have been taking place and concluded on Sunday November 5.

At the technical Symposium it was announced that this years's recipient of the ABU Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award is Ansu Sekhar Guin, Engineer-in-Chief of All India Radio, in recognition of his contributions of an outstanding nature in broadcasting engineering and related disciplines at All India Radio and Doordarshan.

Mr Guin is the technical head of All India Radio (AIR), responsible for the management and operational aspects of AIR’s network. He has been responsible in the implementation of many new services such as digital radio studio automation, digital video archives, digitalisation of the satellite based networking system and digital audio broadcasting.

He holds also the position of President of the Broadcast Engineering Society of India.

Meanwhile, the ABU Engineering Industry Excellence Award has been conferred on Dr Osamu Yamada for being the most outstanding engineering contributor to the broadcasting industry in the Asia- Pacific region.

Dr Yamada was Director-General of NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories in his previous posting and is now Senior Managing Director of Pioneer Corporation.

Dr Yamada played a pioneering role in the setting up of error correction codes in developing a new decoding algorithm for different applications for various broadcasting systems.

Dr Yamada also developed digital transmission systems. He engaged in the development and standardisation of new broadcasting systems such as teletext, FM multiplex broadcasting system (DARC), digital satellite and terrestrial broadcasting systems (ISDB). He also contributed to the work of the ITU-R Study Groups from 1992 to 1997.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia will bring this year's other ABU Award winners in another posting.

The key issue in this year's gathering is the role of IPTV on the morning of November 8. Speakers include Li Ruigang, the President of the Shanghai Media Group, the first broadcaster to launch commercial IPTV services in China, and David Ahn, Director of Content Strategy and Business Development for Munhwa Broadcasting, South Korea.

On November 8, the PM session includes an update briefing on the Beijing Olympics, led by Sun Weija, Director of Media Operations for the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee, and Ma Guoli, CEO of Beijing Olympic Broadcasting.

I am glad to see that content creation for mobile broadcasting, also on November 8 is in focus. Speakers include Erik Bettermann, Director- General of Deutsche Welle, and Yu Yuning, Vice-President of Liaoning Television.

The ever expanding annual ABU gatherings, this year tops 500 registered broadcast delegates visiting Beijing.

Digital Broadcasters | India | Tata Sky Chooses Harris

Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) has told Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia that in India, Tata Sky Ltd., has chosen Harris' end to end satellite delivery system to distribute program content across the country. Tata Sky is the satellite television service for the TATA Group and STAR Network in India.

Pristine picture quality and sound is the core reason that Vikram Kaushik, CEO, Tata Sky Ltd. chose the Harris line up of equipment.

With a potential 120 channels to be distributed, Tata Sky’s facility in Mumbai houses Harris NEXIO servers, for use in their test center; the Integrator router for station routing; a Panacea router for clean switching; 6800+ and NEO modular interface products for video processing; the NEO MTG-3901 master timing generator system; the IconLogo modular branding solution; an IconStation master control graphics and channel presentation system; Videotek test and measurement products; the NEO SuiteView multi-source display processor; and the CCS Navigator software application and a NUCLEUS user-configurable network control panel for control and monitoring.


Digital Broadcasters | Hong Kong | Granada TV Sets Up Hong Kong Office

Coincidentally with the CASBAA Convention 2006, Granada (TV) International told Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia that it had set up a Hong Kong business office.

For the very reason Granada International is one of the largest and most successful commercial television distributors in the world, I regard the Granada announcement as 20 years late.

Why on earth did it take the powers that be in Sydney and Manchester so long to come this conclusion.

Anyway, Digital Broadcasters Vendor News congratulates Granada on its decision. The Asian 'Hong Kong' office is headed by James Ross, and joins London, Los Angeles, Sydney and Rio de Janeiro in Granada's worldwide distribution centres.

The British are notoriously slow at seeing the advantages and economies of establishing local offices when they pay out +/- 35 per cent in sales agent commissions.

Granada, as the largest commercial TV production company in Britain, is now a key shareholder in ITV, which includes the UK’s leading commercial broadcaster ITV1.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | PRC | 43rd ABU Meet

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News reminds you that for the next three days the 43rd ABU general assembly is being hosted by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) of the People’s Republic of China at the Sheraton Great Wall Hotel in Beijing.

The usual before hand Technical, Program and Sports group meetings have been taking place and concluded on Sunday November 5.

At the technical Symposium it was announced that this years's recipient of the ABU Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award is Ansu Sekhar Guin, Engineer-in-Chief of All India Radio, in recognition of his contributions of an outstanding nature in broadcasting engineering and related disciplines at All India Radio and Doordarshan.

Mr Guin is the technical head of All India Radio (AIR), responsible for the management and operational aspects of AIR’s network. He has been responsible in the implementation of many new services such as digital radio studio automation, digital video archives, digitalisation of the satellite based networking system and digital audio broadcasting.

He holds also the position of President of the Broadcast Engineering Society of India.

Meanwhile, the ABU Engineering Industry Excellence Award has been conferred on Dr Osamu Yamada for being the most outstanding engineering contributor to the broadcasting industry in the Asia- Pacific region.

Dr Yamada was Director-General of NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories in his previous posting and is now Senior Managing Director of Pioneer Corporation.

Dr Yamada played a pioneering role in the setting up of error correction codes in developing a new decoding algorithm for different applications for various broadcasting systems.

Dr Yamada also developed digital transmission systems. He engaged in the development and standardisation of new broadcasting systems such as teletext, FM multiplex broadcasting system (DARC), digital satellite and terrestrial broadcasting systems (ISDB). He also contributed to the work of the ITU-R Study Groups from 1992 to 1997.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia will bring this year's other ABU Award winners in another posting.

The key issue in this year's gathering is the role of IPTV on the morning of November 8. Speakers include Li Ruigang, the President of the Shanghai Media Group, the first broadcaster to launch commercial IPTV services in China, and David Ahn, Director of Content Strategy and Business Development for Munhwa Broadcasting, South Korea.

On November 8, the PM session includes an update briefing on the Beijing Olympics, led by Sun Weija, Director of Media Operations for the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee, and Ma Guoli, CEO of Beijing Olympic Broadcasting.

I am glad to see that content creation for mobile broadcasting, also on November 8 is in focus. Speakers include Erik Bettermann, Director- General of Deutsche Welle, and Yu Yuning, Vice-President of Liaoning Television.

The ever expanding annual ABU gatherings, this year tops 500 registered broadcast delegates visiting Beijing.

Digital Broadcasters | UNICEF | Kansai Telecasting Wins UNICEF Child Rights Award 2006

At this year's Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union's gathering in Beijing, the Kansai Telecasting Corporation of Japan has the ABU CASBAA UNICEF Child Rights Award 2006 for its documentary entitled "Conquering the Darkness - The Fight Against Memories of Abuse."

At the Award ceremony, Shinichi Sugimoto, the producer of the documentary, was praised for the film’s powerful, engaging and sensitive treatment of an issue often hidden from the public eye. The documentary follows Aya, a 33-year-old mother, who suffered abuse as a child and subsequently abused her own children. It is the tale of a parent’s personal struggle to end the cycle of child abuse in the family.

The Child Rights Award, established in 2001, is given each year in recognition of the best television programming on a child rights issue produced in the Asia-Pacific region. It recognizes the efforts of broadcasters in pursuing both the production of top quality children’s programs and better news coverage of children’s issues. This year, the Child Rights Award received a total of 40 entries from countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Japan, Mongolia, Philippines, Republic of Korea and Singapore.

The judging panel was comprised of: Amar Keshar Simha, an independent producer from Pakistan; Wang Yan, a producer with China Central Television (CCTV); Ariunjargal Luvsantseren, Director of Children's Programmes for Mongolian Radio and Television; Francis Smith, Executive Producer of Infocus Asia; Ian Carroll, CEO of Australia Network; and James Gibbons, VP Programming, Discovery Networks Asia.

The Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) and the UNICEF Regional Communication Office for East Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok support the awards.

The top ten finalists in 2006 are:

WINNER Conquering the Darkness - The Fight Against Memories of Abuse (Japan) Producer: Shinichi Sugimoto Production Company: Kansai Telecasting Corporation In Japan, every three days a child dies from abuse. It is estimated that up to 80% of parents who abuse their children were themselves abused in childhood. These parents have been psychologically damaged by the trauma they have experienced. The documentary takes a close look at Aya, a 33-year-old mother who was abused as a child and who subsequently abused her own children. This documentary is the result of a year-long reportage on the struggle by Aya and her three sons to overcome the cycle of child abuse.

FINALISTS Dark Street Kids (Malaysia) Producer: Nawar Hani Kamaruddin Production Company: Radio Television Malaysia This documentary tells the story of children who are born and live in dark alleys or brothels of Malaysia. It chronicles the hardship, as well as the stigma and discrimination, they face being the children of commercial sex workers.

Korean Children - I am All Alone (Korea) Producer: Kim Kyung Eun Production company: Production Purume Minho is an 11-year-old boy neglected by his parents. His only friend is a TV set. He lives on frozen yoghurt. He is also addicted to computer games. A stark portrayal of how a child is deeply affected by the problems and negligence of his parents.

Tuesday Report: Pocket Money (Hong Kong) Producer: Wong Yuk Kuen Production company: Television Broadcasts Limited Although Hong Kong is regarded as rich city, nearly 30% of children live below the poverty line. This programme documents the life of three children who live in cramped flats and have to sell scrap paper and scrap metal for their pocket money.

Young People on Wheels (Bhutan) Producer: Dechen Roder Production company: Bhutan Broadcasting Services Corp (BBSC) The documentary follows a group of unemployed youths who are creating awareness of a campaign on HIV and AIDS in Bhutan.

The Orphans, Childless & Predators (Singapore) Producer: Ong Hee Yah Production company: MediaCorp News Ptd Ltd On a single day in December 2004, tens of thousands of children lost their parents when the Indian Ocean tsunami struck. The documentary looks at on how orphaned children coped with the devastating experience. It also features a child trafficker who agreed to tell his side of story and tries to justify his actions.

Get Real Child Sex Tourism - Sold for Sex (Singapore) Producer: Sharon Hun Production company: MediaCorp News Pte Ltd The programme investigates the plight of child sex workers on the Indonesian Island of Batam. It explores how it is driven by demand from predominantly Singaporeans men, who head for the island every weekend.

Emergency - Junior Boxer (Philippines) Producer: Sherilyn Bruan Production company: GMA Network Inc. Residents of General Santos City (Philippines) are very fond of boxing. Even children, some as young as three years old, undergo intensive training to become professional boxers. As part of their training, the frail bodies of these children are exposed to regular beatings and many sustain grave injuries that sometimes even result in death.

We Shall Overcome (Bangladesh) Producer: Kazi Roksana Parvin Ruma Production company: Boishakhi Media Limited This documentary chronicles the life of an eight-year-old girl who is deaf and mute. It tells the story of how with tremendous courage she confronts many problems and continues to believe she can succeed in her dream to become a fine arts teacher.

School of the Highlands (Philippines) Producer: ACPC Sikat Production company: Asian Council for People’s Culture (ACPC) and Schools of Indigenous Knowledge and Traditions (SIKAT) The importance placed on education by indigenous communities in the Philippines is recounted in this documentary which looks at the challenges families face in schooling their children and promoting their rights.

Digital Broadcasters | ABU | Under Scrutiny

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia asks a simple question: How seriously should we take the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union when it cannot even issue official announcements correctly in English?

The latest gaffs (yes, there have been a number before) should be embarrassing to the ABU Secretariat.

Why is it so difficult to write the names of ABU members correctly.

In its announcement dated Beijing, November 7 under "Press release - Japan's Kansai Telecasting Corporation wins 2006 ABU CASBAA UNICEF Child" the release referred to Finalists Tuesday Report: Pocket Money (Hong Kong) Producer: Wong Yuk Kuen Production company: Television Broadcasting Limited (should be Television Broadcasts Limited) and The Orphans, Childless & Predators (Singapore) Producer: Ong Hee Yah Production company: MediaCorp News Ptd Ltd (should be MediaCorp News Pte Ltd).

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News believes we should speak up. Everyone else seems too polite or diplomatically impotent to draw attention to such inadequacies.

We suggest that the ABU uses outside professional help to ensure correct announcements are made.

In the opinion of Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia and e- broadcastnewsasia, the ABU needs to be re-energized to reflect today's technology advances and changes in consumer relationship with technology. The ABU gives the impression of being a lumbering giant out of step with today's reality. Having a Caucasian at the helm does not sit comfortably with us when the majority are Asian peoples. The gentlemanly club that seems to surround the ABU has to be changed.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | USA | DVB-H Adopted

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News can't help taking yet another dig at ATSC with the announcement, and one of the most fascinating developments in recent weeks - that the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) in the United States has adopted DVB-H (Handheld) as an official standard for Mobile Digital TV in America.

The publication of TIA-1105, “Terrestrial Mobile Multimedia Multicast Based On Digital Video Broadcasting For Handheld Devices System”, is a further boost to the growing acceptance of the non-proprietary, open standard by broadcast and telecommunications companies engaged in implementing Mobile TV services in the US.

The TIA is the leading trade association for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry in the U.S., representing the communications sector of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA).


In 2004, DVB-H was formally adopted by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) as a standard (EN 302 304). The unparalleled support of network operators, broadcasters, content owners, and silicon and equipment manufacturers for the non- proprietary, open standard, has hastened the commercial launch of DVB- H Mobile TV services around the world and now in the United States.

Commercial DVB-H services are already on-air in Italy, and services have been announced for the US, Finland, Vietnam, France, Germany, Spain, Russia and South Africa before the end of 2007.

DVB-H is defined as a system where the information is transmitted as IP datagrams. Time-slicing technology is employed to reduce power consumption for small handheld terminals. IP datagrams are transmitted as data bursts in small time slots. The front end of the receiver switches on only for the time interval when the data burst of a selected service is on air. Within this short period of time a high data rate is received which can be stored in a buffer. This buffer can either store the downloaded applications or playout live streams. The achievable power saving depends on the relation of the on/off-time. If there are approximately ten or more bursted services in a DVB-H stream the rate of the power saving for the front end could be around 90 percent. Information on DVB-H can be found at: http://www.dvb-h.org

DVB-H is part of the Geneva-based, Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB, an industry-led consortium of over 250 broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software developers, regulatory bodies and others in over 35 countries committed to designing global standards for the delivery of digital television and data services. The DVB standards cover all aspects of digital television from transmission through interfacing, conditional access and interactivity for digital video, audio and data. The consortium came together in 1993 to create unity in the march towards global standardisation, interoperability and future proofing.

To date, there are numerous broadcast services using DVB standards. There are hundreds of manufacturers offering DVB compliant equipment, which is already in use around the world. DVB dominates the digital broadcasting world. A host of other services is also on-air with DVB- T, DVB-S and DVB-C including data on the move and high-bandwidth Internet over the air.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Digital Broadcasters | Qatar | al-Jazeera TV at 10 Has Made the Arab World a Better Place

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia pays its tribute to satellite broadcaster, al-Jazeera TV on its 10th Anniversary of pan-Arab news and political coverage. Al Jazeera has made the Arab world a better place for its outspokeness.

Launched on November 1, 1996 by the Emirate of Qatar, Arabic language, satellite TV channel, al-Jazeera has steered a controversial path in the Arab world by its unabashed news coverage.

By giving on-air exposure to minority interests across the Middle East and their non-censored comments has brought al-Jazeera TV into confrontational journalistic practices with governments of all persuasions.

This has not deterred the TV network, nor, it would appear, has ruffled the ruling establishment of Qatar.

For al-Jazeera it has been onward and upward in viewership in its 10 years of TV operations. Today the TV station estimates 50 million regular viewers and its website is one of the 50 most visited in the world.

Now the English language TV channel is awaited with baited breath. Delayed by some political and technical wranglings the station is late to get to air.

Of al-Jazeera television, Reporters Without Borders says: "This satellite channel, beamed into the majority of Arab homes, took an immediate stand in opposition to traditional news broadcast by authorised media. On one hand its programmes regularly enrage Arab leaders for giving a voice to their opponents and to viewers themselves and because it raises political and social issues considered taboo in many countries in the Arab world.

"On the other hand, the US government frequently accused it of fomenting anti-American sentiment in the region and inciting violence against the US-British forces in Iraq," said the organisation.

"Numerous governments have tried to censor al-Jazeera, using financial and advertising boycotts, closing down its offices, banning it from covering major events, expulsions, arrests and deaths of its journalists, bombings of its premises and putting diplomatic pressure on Qatar. But while its outspokenness created a genuine precedent in the Arab broadcast landscape, it still rarely raises Qatar's internal issues," it added.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia believes that most governments across the Arab world now handle media better for the work of al- Jazeera. There is still a long way to go where the average man on the street has his views heard in a more routine way but it is coming. As soon as world attention is moved away from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the presence of Western military occupations in the Middle East, is reduced the future will be brighter for radio and television broadcasting across the Middle East, Mahgreb, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Digital Radio | Australia | DRM Canberra Broadcast Good For Asian Radio

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia has been asked to publish the following report on the Digital Radio Mondiale trials in Canberra, ACT, Australia.

A comprehensive AM-band field trial of the digital radio technology platform, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) was completed between March and October 2006 by broadcast transmission provider, Broadcast Australia at its existing Gungahlin broadcast facility in Canberra.

The seven-month program incorporated a series of 'world-first' field tests, expanding the global knowledge-base for this important, emerging digital radio broadcasting platform.

The trial was carried out in partnership with Australia's multicultural and multilingual public broadcaster, Special Broadcast Services (SBS), which was also the trial license holder.

Technical experts from Broadcast Australia explored a range of services, obtained field performance measurements through extensive drive tests, and evaluated a range of transmission equipment and receivers.

Peter Kepreotes, Broadcast Australia Business Development Manager for Digital Broadcast Systems was responsible for management of the DRM trial program, and applauded the trial and its findings: "With our in- house capability and expertise, the seven-month trial has allowed us to complete significant DRM testing, some of which has not been conducted to-date outside of a laboratory," he said. "It has provided Broadcast Australia with a great deal of knowledge and experience with DRM, and arms us well in supporting our existing customers and Asian broadcasters as they explore this important new digital radio platform."

DRM is an open-standard digital radio system best suited for application in the short-wave and medium-wave (AM) bands. Originally conceived as an analogue short-wave replacement technology, DRM is particularly suited for regional and remote radio services. It can be used for a range of audio content, including multilingual speech programs and music. These can be complemented by text or additional data services, depending on the receiver functionality.

The findings, Kepreotes said, bode well for Asian broadcasters seeking digital alternatives for existing short-wave and AM-band analog radio services. "We believe DRM is a particularly suitable technology for regional and remote radio services across the Asian region. Most importantly, it overcomes the tuning and interference issues that challenge existing short-wave transmissions and provides enhanced levels of functionality, clarity and quality. All this achieved while retaining the long-distance reach of the original short-wave services," he said.

Kepreotes pointed out that DRM can readily be applied to many existing short or medium-wave transmission facilities within existing channel allocations.

"This is an important feature of DRM--in many cases there is no need for additional frequency planning. Apart from a complete high quality DRM replacement option, it also offers a simulcast capability. This means a radio broadcaster can potentially support both the existing analogue service and a new Digital Radio Mondiale service within the same channel allocation, for a suitable simulcast period. This allows broadcasters to introduce the higher quality DRM service to their listeners without immediately switching off the existing analogue service and facilitates a smoother transition from analogue to digital services. DRM also offers some multi-channel capability, which could support broadcasting in more than one language," concluded Kepreotes.

The the scope and trial results are expected to provide a positive foundation for radio broadcasters in both Australia and New Zealand, and across Asia, as they explore transitions to digital broadcast modes.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia notes that the detailed findings and outcomes of Broadcast Australia's DRM trial are expected to be made public by the group in the future, via the technology's industry body, the DRM Consortium.


Digital Broadcasters | Australia | TVSN Sydney Buys ETERE Automation

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been advised by ETERE, the Italian television equipment vendor that it has made its premier sale in Australia of its broadcast playout and management software system.

Television Shopping network - TVSN, Australia’s only home shopping channel is the named customer.

Digitally equipped, TVSN from its studio complex and headquarters in Sydney broadcasts 24/7 with a distribution reach of some 2 million television households nation-wide, via Pay-TV networks: FOXTEL, AUSTAR and Optus.

Each month, Television Shopping Network produces around 220 hours of live programming output.

ETERE’s software system at TVSN has been designed in a 4 playout channel configuration driven by an Omneon Video Server.

The TVSN project is being handled by ETERE’s Australian distributor, Techtel, currently a recognised leader in the supply of radio and television broadcast equipment in both hardware and software products in Australia and South East Asia.

The Italian TV manufacturer, ETERE is well known in the broadcasting industry worldwide. The company offers full operational systems solutions to television stations from automation, to scheduling, traffic and media management.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News (e-broadcastnewsasia and previously, as Broadcast Asia Journal) has known of ETERE for nearly 16 years, just after they started.

Digital Broadcasters | India | Radio One Loses Frequency Dispute

You may recall reading recently in Digital Broadcasters Vendor News the case in India of FM Radio Station, Radio One fighting the Broadcast tribunal, TDSAT over being moved from its established radio frequency 92.5 FM in Mumbai.

Radio One lost its case. A Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal Bench in New Delhi ruled that the Mid Day Group station had not had its brand image hurt by a forced move to 94.3FM in a re- alignment for broadcast groups to operate on the same frequency in each city they operate.

The government’s decision to allot 94.3 Mhz frequency to Radio One in five other cities — Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata, was not challenged, just Mumbai an established operation of four years.

The government had, in June 2006, asked radio One to vacate the 92.5 frequency as part of the second phase of Policy on Expansion of FM Radio Broadcasting Services through Private Agency.

Radio One’s contention was also opposed by rival Adlabs, which runs Radio Big on 92.7 Mhz on the grounds that under the new policy of FM expansion the frequency of 92.5 Mhz was not available and the Mid Day Group channel would anyway have to shift frequency.

Now, there are 36 broadcasters for 87 cities in the second phase in 2005 and frequencies had to be adjusted, the bench observed and said the frequency change was part of changes in the system.

Radio One was criticised for its approach to the Tribunal as too late in the day.

Digital Broadcasters | Middle East | Broadcaster Awards Set for March 21

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has been asked to publicize the Middle East Broadcasters (MEB) Association Awards of Excellence to take place on March 21, 2007 in Bahrein.

The awards cover 33 categories for the period from November 1 last year to October 31 this year.

One hundred and six jury members, including Fawziya Zaynal, the director of programs at Bahrain TV, will select five nominees from each category before nearly 2,000 broadcasters from all over the Arab world vote for the winners.

"All production houses, broadcast television and radio stations have been invited to participate in the event," said awards associate co- ordinator Sarah Abdel Sater.

Ms Abdel Sater said the MEB specifically focuses on promoting professional growth and development of broadcasters in the 22 pan- Arab countries.

Digital Broadcasters | New Zealand | RNZ AM Frequency Changes

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News thanks radioheritage.net for news of changes in AM broadcasting in New Zealand.

The changes are part of expansion of the Radio New Zealand AM Network.

Changes are as follows:

576 Hamilton: NZ's Rhema to move here ex 855. 657 Tauranga New, expected on air shortly. Will carry AM. Network and Southern Star Network // Wellington 657. 855 Hamilton ex NZ's Rhema, new arrangements TBA. 1026 Invercargill NZ's Rhema to move here ex 1404. 1314 Invercargill New, expected on air shortly. Will carry AM Network and Southern Star Network ex 1026. 1368 Tauranga 1XT Village Radio expands hours to M-F 2100-0300 UTC, Sat-Sun 2000-0400 UTC. Power remains 1kW. No DX tests outside these hours permitted because two currently silent stations are allocated 1368 as well. Strange decision? 1404 Invercargill ex NZ's Rhema, new arrangements TBA. 1494 Hamilton New, expected on air shortly. Will carry AM Network and Southern Star Network ex 576.

This should leave 855 Hamilton and 1404 Invercargill silent, but these frequencies may be leased to other stations.

Check www.radioheritage.net for updates