Sunday, April 30, 2006

Silver Ridge in MiTV/TIME dotcom negotiations

KUALA LUMPUR -- Bernama News Agency reports that Silver Ridge Holdings Bhd is holding talks with digital broadcasters, MiTV Corp Sdn Bhd and TIME dotCom Bhd to supply technical know-how to develop their third-generation (3G) mobile phone network roll outs.

The story quoted Silver Ridge CEO, Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah.

Established in 1997, Silver Ridge has so far provided technical expertise to develop Telekom Malaysia's 3G network, as well as testing and commissioning the original cellular networks of Maxis and Motorola, especially using microwave mini link technology.

[Interesting to note the timely publicity of Silver Ridge. The company is due to issue an IPO to list on the Malaysian Stock Exchange, Bursa Malaysia in May/June - Editor, Gerald Brown]

PRC's Second IPTV License

On April 28, China Central Television (CCTV) said it has received licenses to develop IPTV, mobile TV and Internet TV services from State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT).

Previously, Shanghai Media Group was the only business in China allowed to conduct IPTV.

Recently, there were rumors that SARFT contacted China Telecom and China Netcom asking them not to give network support to Shanda's IPTV EZ platform (Nasdaq: SNDA) because Shanda does not have a license to broadcast using that technology.

SARFT Strict Over DVB-M Start Ups

According to a statement posted on the Website of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), the authorities have banned the unlicensed operation of digital Mobile broadcasting programs run by domestic firms before the introduction of a 'national standard'. That standard (DVB-M) is expected "soon" along with DVB-T.

We have heard this statement for sometime as trials for DBV-T - digital terrestrial television have been conducted in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai since 2003.

Of course the decision is expected that China will a adopt their own hybrid version of DVB. Already the European DVB standard has been adopted for satellite (DVB-S) in the country.

Earlier media reports have cited June 30, 2006 as the date for an announcement.

That would give two years to implement a nationwide DVB-T (China version) in time for the Beijing 2006 Summer Olympics.

By the end of 2005, some 40 DMB operators were allowed to make mobile digital programs in mainland China. However, other unlicensed firms also broadcast similar programs, which easily disrupt the radio- frequency band and interferes with the signal transmission of authorized ones.

On March 27, the regulator ordered DMB operators to stop the program in transport modes such as in taxis and buses by June 15 if they failed to submit their formal application for approval.

Arabasat/NileSat latest - Al Resalah TV to bring the True Voice of Islam

Jeddah -- Al Resalah (The Message) TV is the latest satellite broadcaster to take up transponder time on the Arabsat and Nilesat satellites serving primarily the Middle East, as well as North Africa and Europe.

The 24/7 religious channel is dedicated to Islam but importantly has been established, personally by Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company. The Prince intends for the channel to counter misconceptions about Islam.

As a non-profitable channel, Al Resalah is to telecast open-minded viewpoints and what Prince Al Waleed terms 'the true message of Islam and its teachings'.

The Prince said that Al Resalah was non-governmental and served no sectarian agenda.

The channel’s Supreme Advisory Committee comprises some of the renowned Islamic scholars, Shoura Council members and heads of Islamic organisations.

The programming schedule is comprised of education, drama, songs, and game shows purely in the Islamic context.

“Islam is being hijacked and defamed by a group of deviants, who operate in the name of religion in several parts of the world,” Prince Al Waleed said. “Al Resalah targets the new knowledgeable young generation and open-minded Arab audience to counteract the negative image of Islam, being portrayed in other societies of the world,” he added.

Prince Al Waleed said that Islam is a religion of tolerance and that people of other faiths lived in harmony and peace side by side during the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

[Saudi Arabia is recognised as the true guardian of Islam and Prince Al Waleed is a member of the ruling Royal family. It is also fact that Osama bin Laden origins are in Saudi Arabia. With Islam being high-jacked by extremists and activists it is commendable that Al Resalah TV has commenced transmissions from its Kuwait base. Editor Gerald Brown]

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Amman Telco Conference Advisory

[Diary Alert] The 3rd annual Media and Telecoms Convergence Conference is to be held in Amman, at the Four Seasons Hotel on June 6 & 7, 2006.

The convergence of media, telecom and information technology pushes the hitherto disconnected players in the three sectors towards operating in an increasingly merged segment. This convergence carries threats to existing revenue and business models, but also bears new opportunities for new models.

The event is organized by the Arab Advisors Group.

CEOs and Executives from over 110 regional and global companies are expected to attend. These organizations include (in alphabetical order) Abbassi Law Office, Al Bawaba Middle East, Al Ghad Newspaper, AlliedSoft, AME Info, Amman Stock Exchange, Arab Bank, Arab Jordan Investment Bank, ARABSAT, Batelco Jordan, Belgacom ICS, Bidaya corporate Communications, Booz Allen Hamilton, Communication & Information Technology Commission (CITC), Comium Group, EJADA, Connexus Consulting, e-dimension, Emerging Markets Microsoft, ESKADENIA Software Solutions, ETISALAT, E-Vision, Farradj & Co, FastLink, Foursan Group, General Computers & Electronics, Georgetown University, Globitel, Hadidi & Co.Attorney's and Counsellor's at Law, Harris Corporation, IDEAL Systems, Info2Cell, Information Technology Association of Jordan, Integrated Business Solutions, ITP CommsMEA, Jordan Business Magazine, Jordan National Bank, Jordan Telecom, Jordan TV Cable & Internet Services Co., Jordan Univ of Science and Technology, Kalaam Telecom, Lightspeed Communications, Inc., MBC, McCarthy Tetrault, McKinsey & Company – Dubai, MediaScope, MENAFN , Middle East French Economic Mission, Mirsal, MobileCom, MobiNil, Motorola, Nitle, Noorsat Global Satellite Communications, Oger Telecom Management Service, Oman Mobile Telecommunications Company (LLC), Oracle Middle East & Africa, Palestine Cellular Comm. (JAWWAL), Oger Telecom Management Service, PTC ( Xpress Saudi Arabia ), Qtel, Qualcomm Europe & MENA, RAZORView Advisors, Reuters, Satcoms Insider/Digital Television Times, , Specialized Technical Services, Spot On PR, SRPC, Syriatel, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh & Co., Tanweer Enlightment, TE Data – Egypt, Telecom Itlia Sparkle, TRA Bahrain, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC), UMNIAH MOBILE COMPANY, United Business Machines, Wanadoo, Verizon , Xpress, and Xpress International.

ASTRO Indonesia in Legal Bind

Dow Jones has reported from Jakarta that the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia will meet May 3-4 in Jakarta to resolve the issues surrounding the operations of Malaysia's Astro All Asia Networks in Indonesia.

It appears that PT Direct Vision, which is 51%-owned by pay- television company Astro, suspended operations in Jakarta following a government letter ordering it to do so until it obtains landing rights, or approval, for the satellite it uses to beam TV programs to customers in Indonesia.

[The Indonesian Government has recently introduced new legislation with Parliamentary approval to tighten broadcasting laws. These place greater restrictions on foreign owned companies wishing to broadcast in Indonesia. It could well be that through some technicality, PT Direct Vision has fallen foul of the new law. - Ed]

New Bangladesh TV Stations

Bangladesh's Daily Star newspaper has reported that political figures of the Ruling alliance are starting two more private TV terrestrial TV stations before the handover of power in October this year.

The two upcoming TV channels -- Satellite National Television (SNTV) and Islami Television (I TV) -- have already received government approval.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Diary: CASBAA Sat Meet

Monday June 19, 2006 is the date set by the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA)for the annual Forum that traditionally acts as a curtain-raiser for the CommunicAsia trade show in Singapore.

Issues to be addressed at the conference include the impact on satellite markets of mobile TV, IPTV services and the roll-out of HDTV while navigating a complex regulatory environment. As always, there is a strong focus on Asia and this year DTH operators from some of the fastest growing markets in the world – India, Indonesia, Korea and Malaysia - will share their insights.

Confirmed speakers include CEOs and decision-making executives from Asia, North America and Europe including ISRO, Intelsat, Discovery Networks, PT Direct Vision (Indonesia), Tata Sky (India), DREAM (Philippines), AsiaSat, Intelsat, NHK, Panamsat, Rainbow Media, SES IP Prime, and law firm, Freshfields.

ShinSat Broadband targets PRC

Bangkok-based, Shin Satellite, owned by Shin Corporation (now controlled by Singapore Government investment vehicle, Temasek Holdings) this week starts broadband service to Vietnam.

In another major move, ShinSat is to provide broadband Internet services to China through the company's iPSTAR satellite.

In readiness, ShinSat has already built a satellite gateway in Beijing that will begin providing Internet services to clients in May.

Two more gateways are planned in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

A Shin spokesman is quoted in the media as saying that the Chinese government had set a target of one million satellite users in the next few years, which is also the Shin Satellite target to achieve within the 16-year-contract of the life of its licence in the PRC.

The ShinSat service will cost about US$1,000 a year in China, and would bring in revenues of US$1 billion a year if the company meets its target.

The new service will target clients in remote areas of China which are not covered by other high-speed Internet services.

Shin Satellite is already providing broadband satellite services in Southeast Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Conax, Central to India's DISHTV Rollout

Oslo-- An update from Conax on the launch of Essel Group's Dish TV, India's first and fastest growing DTH satellite television service.

Any public comments by Conax, as the conditional access system supplier to Essel will contain an element of bias. None the less, the Conax says that in a short span of time, Dish TV has established itself as the leading content provider in India, bringing to viewers a new era of premium digital quality TV viewing experience.

The DISH TV's satellite footprint stretches across the Indian subcontinent and SAARC countries.

Points highlighted by Conax:

- Dish TV currently has a total subscriber base of 1 million, which is expected to grow to 5 million in the next 3 years.

- The penetration of digital STBs in the Indian market is estimated to grow to 12 million in the next five years.

- The current channel line up includes: 10 channels of Hindi movies, 5 of Hollywood movies, 15 news channels, 6 sports channels, 5 children channels, and other general entertainment channels totalling 100 + channels. Cricket channels are wildly popular, and the customers value the high quality digital transmission for all their favorite programs.

- The distribution of content is available as a DTH service over KU Band and as DTO (Direct to Operator) service over C Band.

- Monthly paper based billing goes to homes. Words, cards and arcade games will be added shortly.

- There are currently more than 10000 Dish TV dealers.

The future direction of Conax in India:

With CAS expected to be implemented soon in India, Conax conditional access is ready for the digital roll out on the cable services.

Siticable, an Essel group company, plans to roll out the concept of Headend in the Sky (HITS). In this concept, the smaller operators who cannot invest in expensive digital systems will be able to receive channels and distribute to their cable customers while content and revenues are protected.

GlobeVISION adds Korean Content to IPTV

GlobeVISION,the specialist satellite broadcaster is using its IPTV "PIE" service for Asian-Americans and Asian-Canadians to carry content from CGN TV, Korea's largest originator of Christian programming. The deal means that CGN will be carried from July 1, the launch date of GlobeVISION's PIE Service.

Los Angeles-based, GlobeVISION says that Korean terrestrial TV broadcasters, Munhwa and SBS6 and largest cable media group (CJ Media and CJ Entertainment) to use its PIER service to provide Korean content in North America.

"We are pleased to be able to add these values-based programming options to GlobeVISION's already announced lineup of news, culture, sports and entertainment," said Edward Bach, Founder and CEO/ President of GlobeVISION. "GlobeVISION recognizes how important family and faith-based programming is, especially considering what a hot topic it has been in the U.S. lately."

The deal also forms a strategic marketing and promotion partnership to boost awareness of CGN TV's subscription satellite service. CGN TV's 24 hour satellite service currently beams Christian-themed programming, including culture, worship and educational programs into 123 countries.

PanAmSat World Cup Germany, 15,000hrs Satellite time booked

PanAmSat (NYSE: PA) as of April 25 says it has booked more than 15,000 hours of satellite video transmission time in SDTV and HDTV for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Soccer in Germany between June 9-July 9 serving some 15 major international broadcasters.

Catherine A. Palaia, VP, PASport Broadcast Services, PanAmSat says that PASport has the most extensive and advanced satellite and fiber optic network anywhere. Global distribution needs are addressed in a cost- efficient, reliable and secure manner.

PanAmSat's PASport network offers customers the benefits of a completely integrated and managed network that can be accessed from virtually every corner of the globe, making it the ideal platform for the coverage and distribution of live and breaking events.

For the 2006 World Cup, the PASport team will use nine satellites: PAS-1R, PAS-2, PAS-3R, PAS-4, PAS-8, PAS-9, PAS-12, Galaxy 3C and Galaxy 4R to deliver 34 standard-definition TV channels and five high- definition TV channels.

Kantana Bangkok Decides New Color Correction

Bangkok -- Post production at Kantana Group PCL in Thailand has recently added Sony's new high-resolution 4K SRX-R105 projectors to enhance the digital intermediate workflow for colour correction to deliver what they describe as "perfect viewing".

Surachedh Kaewthanakan, a vice president of Kantana said that as a one-stop centre for television and video post-production within Thailand and internationally, Kantana is at the cutting-edge of technology and be a leader the industry.

Kanatana is Asia’s first post-production house to utilise Sony 4K projectors for intermediate digital transfers.

Kantana, headquartered in Bangkok, currently employs 1,500 people in Thailand and internationally. With 55 years’ experience in the entertainment industry, the company is one of the region’s leading full-service production companies for the television, feature film, and broadcast industries.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Malaysia TV9 re-launches with 3-hr kids slot

Kuala Lumpur -- Media Prima Bhd relaunched TV9 network on April 22. The terrestrial television broadcasts are aimed at the ethnic Malay youth market and include an agreement to carry Nickelodeon programming from MTV Asia.

Branded "Nick di 9", the block airs daily 1500-1800hrs. This is the first time that a Malaysia TV channel is offering a fixed 7 days a week, three-hour slot dedicated to children in the national language.

TV9 COO Bukhari Che Muda says, “Responding to the Government’s call to put Bahasa Melayu as the first spoken language in Malaysia, TV9 has taken the initiative to dub all Nick’s cartoons into Bahasa Melayu. This cartoon line up is the best way of educating kids to speak in their first language. Now TV9 kids can truly enjoy their favorite cartoon characters, singing and laughing along with them in the same language”. According to Bukhari has invested some RMB 20 million in programming and transmission network for TV9 operations to reach the potential 7 million Malay viewers. Ch-9 Media Sdn Bhd, the actual subsidiary group company running TV9 has contracted Senheng Electric (KL) Sdn Bhd in Petaling Jaya to provide nationwide frequency-tuning and antenna-fixing services.

Media Prima Bhd's other channels are TV3, ntv-7 and TV8.

Animax Launches on SkyLife Korea

Seoul: Animation channel, Animax will be launched in Korea on April 29 on the direct-to-home SkyLife platform which has a subscriber base of nearly 2 million homes.

The project is a joint venture between Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) and Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting (KDB) and arranged by SPTI international networks president Andy Kaplan and SkyLife CEO Dong-Koo Surh.

Animax departs from the usual animation programming aimed at younger viewers but instead appeals to teenagers and young adults. The output includes comedies, science fiction, action dramas and thrillers.

Animax is the second SPTI channel to launch on SkyLife. The first was AXN, last year.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Mobile TV, 3G to disappoint in 2006 says Deloitte

Hong Kong.  

Deloitte's Technology, Media & Telecoms (TMT) industry group predicts that, in 2006, Internet search will displace email as the most used digital application, girls will hit the video games, and subscription radio will soar.  At the same time, mobile television will disappoint, 3G adoption will be slower than expected, and the digital divide will grow.


  "While the technology, telecom and media/ entertainment industries are certainly converging," said Hong Kong-based, Charles Yen, Leader of Deloitte China's TMT Group, "we have identified the key trends in each sector that we expect for 2006.

There will be some big winners and some big losers -- and some, like always, that gain acceptance at a slower rate than their initial hype forecast."

Malaysia to improve RTM's fringe area Radio and TV coverage

Sarawak's Chief Minister, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud  is an unhappy fellow. He wants Radio Television Malaysia to expand and improve radio and TV coverage across his state to help tourism.

Hopefully that means a few more contracts for transmitter vendors.

Malaysia's Federal Information Minister, Datuk Zainuddin Maidin, said his Ministry had already faced criticism in Parliament and would rectify the situation, particularly in Sarawak.

CCTV and Autodesk Products Readying for Beijing Summer Olympics 2008

I did not know it, but Autodesk, Inc. is a Fortune 1000 company!

Anyhow, the point of this new blog page is to explain how CCTV (China Central Television), China's largest national television network recently expanded its post-production capabilities by adding Autodesk solutions to its broadcast workflow.

Relying on Autodesk's Discreet Flint and Discreet Flame visual effects systems for over a decade, CCTV has added an additional Discreet Flame system and a Discreet Smoke system running Linux, along with Autodesk 3ds Max software and several seats of Autodesk Combustion software.

Autodesk's broadcast pipeline helps CCTV centralize its in-house broadcast graphics, offer HD programming to its viewing audience and prepare for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

2006 Children’s Broadcasting Award, UNICEF Calls for Entries

UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is calling for entries from broadcasters for the 2006 International Children’s Day of Broadcasting Award. 

The ICDB Award will go to the broadcaster with the best programming that reflects the 2005 International Children’s Day of Broadcasting theme: Sport for Development and Peace. 

For the second year, the ICDB Award judging will take place in 8 regions with broadcasters eligible for prizes. 

Entries are due to UNICEF’s regional offices by June 2, 2006. The top-scoring program in each region will compete for the ICDB Award, to be presented at the International Emmy Awards Gala, November 20, 2006 in New York.

Information about regional judging and entry forms are now available at

Last year, the Award went to Egyptian TV, selected from a list of eight regional ICDB prize winners that included TVE Brazil, ATN Bangla Bangladesh, CCTV China, Denmark’s Radio Denmark, ETV Ethiopia, NTA Nigeria and Yangi Avlod Uzbekistan.


Stratos Mobile Media System

Stratos the global communications provider and distributor of Inmarsat satellite services unveils at the NAB show in Las Vegas its BGAN Mobile Media System, and enters a lower cost environment for remote satellite newsgathering and delivery system for broadcasters worldwide. 

The system combines a low-cost, lightweight BGAN satellite terminal/antenna, handheld video camera, voice handset, power adapters, batteries, cables and compact PC - everything needed to stage and rapidly deploy news teams to breaking events.

Stratos Global Corporation ( is a publicly traded company (TSX: SGB)

Hyderabad's latest FM station

Publicly-listed, Entertainment Network (India) Ltd launched its 10th radio station, Radio Mirchi 95 FM Hyderabad on April 19.

Microsoft, Apple join IABM

Microsoft and Apple have joined the UK-based, International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM)taking membership to 200 companies in its 30th Anniversary year.

Roger Crumpton, CEO, says the joining of Microsoft and Apple is an interesting development for IABM: "Companies of all shapes and sizes in the North American, European and Asia Pacific regions are across all segments of the supply side of the broadcast industry.”

Friday, April 21, 2006

Venezuela and PRC become Broadcast Cozy

A brief announcement datelined Caracas April 18 that Venezuela and China had signed an agreement on program exchange and training of each others'television and radio broadcasters is more than meets the Western eye.

In both countries broadcasting within their own borders and beyond is already a mature industry. I wonder what the "training" is in, therefore?

For its part, the deal obliges Venezuela to broadcast two channels of Central China Television and to have access to China Radio International's various language programs.

It is a deal that could give China a substantial leg up in getting its socialist propaganda messages across both in Venezuela and via Venezuela's satellite news channel beamed to South America.

Both countries are left leaning and have squabbles with the United States over political and human rights, and, as a Chinese official said while in Caracas: "radio, TV and cinema are the easy way to get across messages".

Finally, China is actively wooing Venezuela which has possibly the largest reserves of oil to be exploited.

New Zealand WorldDAB/BCL Trials from September

Auckland -- WorldDAB and BCL (Broadcast Communications Ltd), New Zealand’s New Zealand's backbone transmission network are to trial digital audio broadcasting (DAB) for 12 months from September this year.

The trial will focus on a large geographic area centred on Auckland.

BCL will work closely with New Zealand’s regulatory body to develop a spectrum plan, a scheme for encouraging broadcasters to adopt digital radio and a policy for roll out of both commercial and public broadcasting services.

The WorldDAB Forum, an international non-governmental organisation whose role is to promote the awareness, adoption and implementation of DAB worldwide, will support BCL by allowing it to benefit from other countries’ successful regulatory systems for DAB.

Public broadcaster Radio New Zealand, and commercial broadcasters RadioWorks and Local Media Group, have agreed to take part in the trial.

In terms of the receiver manufacturing sector, already committed are: Sony, Morphy Richards, PURE Digital, Intempo Digital, Telechips and I- Tech, as well as network infrastructure vendors Radioscape and transmission equipment supplier Telequipment Pacific, who are providing Harris DAB transmission equipment.

WorldDAB and BCL say that commercial digital broadcasters services 'are expected' to launch in New Zealand within 18 to 24 months from the start of the trials.

ACCA Tokyo Trials Alcatel WiMAX solution

Tokyo -- From June, ACCA Networks one of Japan's largest DSL and Optical Fiber Access service providers is to launch a WiMAX trial in the Tokyo area using Alcatel's iMAX radio solution for commercial network deployment.

This will be Alcatel's first WiMAX reference in Japan based on the 802.16e-2005, the IEEE's universal WiMAX standard for broadband wireless access.

ACCA will, in particular, validate the integration of WiMAX services in its existing DSL portfolio, with a first set of applications including video streaming, high- speed Internet access and Voice-over-IP. The trial is a first step towards offering commercial service and satisfying growing demand for access to advanced broadband Internet applications from any location.

Respective executives handling the project - Yoshio Sakata, president of ACCA and Head of WiMAX Business Development and Marc Rouanne, president of Alcatel's mobile communications activities.

Radio Mirchi's Jaipur105FM+Bangalore93.3FM now operational

On April 18, the Entertainment Network (India) Limited has extended the Radio Mirchi network with launch of transmissions in Jaipur (105FM) and Bangalore (93.3FM).

These are the first radio stations to start operations under the Phase II of the Indian Government's radio privatisation policy.

The company already have nine stations on air.

"ENIL had established a landmark by launching radio stations barely two months after the completion of the bidding process," MD and CEO, ENIL A P Parigi said.

The company, which is already present in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai, had won 25 licenses in Phase II bidding process where over 250 frequencies across 90 cities were auctioned.

[Under the Phase II rules, radio stations are permitted to commence broadcasting by way of interim transmission facilities in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur.]

Metro Broadcast

Hong Kong's Metro Broadcast Corporation and the Shanghai Media Group on the Mainland have established a program and marketing partnership.

Bianca Ma Kin San, Metro Broadcast MD is the driving force behind the deal, expected to commence by the end of June 2006 and to open up opportunities for the station in the Shanghai marketplace.

While details have not been disclosed it is likely to follow the tried and tested "dual hosting" live format used with Radio Guangdong. Ms Ma believes this is the best way of entering the mainland market, as China's tight media regulatory framework does not allow foreign broadcasters to have nationwide coverage.

Since August 2004, Metro Broadcast has been jointly hosting live programs with Radio Guangdong in Guangzhou.

Ms Ma was quoted in the Hong Kong media as saying that six programs jointly hosted with Radio Guangdong, including two live daily broadcasts on the Metro Finance channel and two lifestyle programs for the Metro Showbiz channel reach an audience of 35 million in Guangdong province.

“We don't expect to have full channel broadcasting in China in the near future, but about 10 percent of our Internet radio users come from China,” Ms Ma said in the South China Morning Post newspaper.

[It is worthwhile remembering that while Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 by the British, it, along with Macau has special status as a Special Administrative Region, under the 'One Country, Two Systems' formula to allow for the Communist (Mainland) and Capitalist (Hong Kong and Macau) systems to operate side by side. When it comes to broadcasting, the Communist Party of China uses Radio and TV stations as propaganda outlets and maintains a tight grip on management control, content and censorship. This is an untenable option in Hong Kong. Indeed the current debate over the role of Radio Television Hong Kong in society in the SAR, highlights the difference in the two political systems. The "dual live hosting" approach is however a novel way to conform to standards and requirements. Subjects handled are 'tame' and the program hosts 'trusted' by their respective managements. - Ed]

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Munhwa Combines SD/HD using Snell & Wilcox production switcher

Seoul -- Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, Korea’s multimedia public service and digital broadcaster, has invested in four Kahuna switchers, the breakthrough multiformat SD/HD production switcher from UK's Snell & Wilcox.

MBC is believed to be the first broadcaster in Korea to embrace this new level of technology.

Snell & Wilcox say the sale is a result of MBC having asked them to provide an extensive IQ Modular system to support its multistation expansion into digital and HD broadcasting that has now grown to include facilities in 18 cities.

The Kahuna switchers will be delivered and installed by Seokwang Tech, a leading broadcast solutions distributor. Jonathan Mortimer, sales director, Asia Pacific, Snell & Wilcox Asia Pacific Limited handled the contract.

Snell & Wilcox claims that the Kahuna is the first switcher ever to offer simultaneous SD and HD operations in the same mainframe with the same control panel, and the first to enable the integration of SD sources into HD production without the need for upconversion.

From da Vinci to ScheduALL

[Attention Asia-Pacific digital broadcasters, film and production companies]

Industry veteran, Tony Fox moves from da Vinci to become director of worldwide sales at SchedALL the specialist company in broadcast production and operations management software in Hollywood, Florida.

Fox joins ScheduALL with more than 30 years of experience in video and film management. He most recently served as director of product marketing for da Vinci Systems where he also held senior sales management positions.

Prior to da Vinci he held a sales management role at Avid Technology. Fox began his broadcast career as an editor, director, and producer of programming at PBS and NBC affiliate stations in Evansville, Ind. He holds a degree in communications from the University of Evansville.

HKTVB sues China Telecom subsidiary

It appears that some 100 Internet sites across Mainland China are illegally re-broadcasting, the widely popular TVB Hong Kong produced soap opera, "War and Beauty".

TVB has had enough. They say they have spent a huge amount on the production and promoting the drama and decided to act.

TVB, Hong Kong's leading terrestrial broadcaster, is suing Jiangsu Telecom Company in Nanjing for copyright infringement for broadcasting a TV series on the internet without permission, for profit or income, seeking 100,000 yuan in compensation.

Jiangsu Telecom is a subsidiary of publicly-listed China Telecom (New York and Hong Kong).

This is thought to be a test case to build a catalogue of evidence to pursue future actions.

The series has been removed from the Jiangsu Telecom website, http://

Press reports in Hong Kong say TVB is also in a Hangzhou, Zhejiang court with another similar action.

Measat-1's latest user

Pacific Century Matrix (HK) Ltd of Hong Kong (PCM) has signed up the World Fashion Channel (WFC) as one of its first customers on its transponder capacity recently contracted on Malaysia's MEASAT-1 satellite.

PCM will provide encryption, multiplex and uplink facilities on PCM's new broadcast platform on MEASAT-1.

The agreement with the World Fashion Channel is for PCM to manage WFC's brand in Asia-Pacific. This includes distribution and affiliate sales business and providing representation and business management.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

MaoriTV News expands with Zandar

Dublin-based, Zandar Technologies reports that Maori Television in Auckland have just commissioned a second news studio using in part Zandar Multiviewer systems.

Celebrating its second anniversary this month, MaoriTV utilized the services of systems integrator, Gencom Technology to install the new news studio for daily production output.

Māori Television was launched in March 2004 with a mandate to promote and revitalise the Māori language and culture to a wider audience. Proving to be popular television for its New Zealand audience, a second studio for daily news production was commissioned in early April 2006 further adding to its indigenous broadcasting capabilities.

Used in the new control room the Multiviewer systems utilize images from 40 inputs, including cameras, mixer outputs and remote feeds for the high-resolution and large-screen display across two Clarity Baycat 46- inch LCD panels.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


DAB, DMB and DAB-IP services planned for 2006 Beijing, 18th April 2006 -

Update of DAB, DMB, DAB-IP developments in the People's Republic of China (PRC):

- China is a key market for the DAB, DMB and DAB-IP family of standards. Not only is it the powerhouse of the global supply chain for products, with the largest population in the world, but the adoption of DAB in China will also have a huge effect on the worldwide development of DAB.

- DAB, DMB and DAB-IP trials are currently underway in several parts of the country, and three broadcast licences have been issued covering Guangdong Province, Beijing and Shanghai. Commercial DMB services from several companies will launch during the first half of 2006 in Guangdong and Beijing. Manufacturer Samsung Electronics has agreed to supply 500,000 DMB phones to two major Chinese DMB operators.

- Guangdong Province: The Guangdong Yuguang company was the first to adopt DAB in China and has been trialling audio services since 1997. The potential mobile broadcast phone users are 6 million in Guangdong. A second company, Guangdong Mobile Television Media plans to launch commercial DMB services in May, 2006 to cover the Pearl River Delta Area.

- Beijing: In January 2005 leading Chinese radio broadcaster, Beijing Radio teamed up with Sunshine Asset Group to establish Beijing Jolon Digital Media Broadcasting Co. DMB trials began in late 2005 and in May 2006 Jolon plans to launch eight commercial services with coverage reaching a potential 15 million people. Jolon has also been working with manufacturers Blaupunkt, Lenvo and JVC to develop DAB/DMB receivers

- Shanghai: Trials of DMB services for mobile TV and radio in L-Band, broadcasting six video and 12 audio services to the Shanghai area, have been underway since 2005 from OPG, a subsidiary of the Shanghai Media and Entertainment Group. Population coverage in this area is expected to top 15 million people.

- Elsewhere in China: trials using DAB continue in Tianjing and Langfang, and in Hong Kong SAR - Sha tin, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

Details supplied by WorldDAB, London, the international DAB forum.

The organization plays host to the international DAB conference in Beijing April 20-21 at the Kerry Centre in Beijing. The event is jointly organised by WorldDAB, Radio Beijing Corporation and Beijing Jolon; it is co-hosted by Linfair Engineering Group. Sponsors include: Irdeto, Frontier Silicon, Futurewaves, Telechips, Blaupunkt, BT Movio, Factum Electronics and Radioscape, with Broadcast & Production Magazine as the event media partner.

Tim now Harris Broadcast Head

The April 17 announcement from Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS - News) that Tim Thorsteinson has been named president of the company's Broadcast Communications Division could also be interpreted that Mr. Thorsteinson's predecessor, Jeremy C. Wensinger has been kicked upstairs in a senior leadership position within the Harris Government Communications Systems Division to make way for Tim.

That is my take, reading between the lines of the release: "Tim is well known and highly respected within the broadcast industry," said Howard L. Lance, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harris. "His appointment comes at an exciting time for Harris and the industry as the transition to digital technologies continues to accelerate. He has a proven track record of operational success within the industry and a vision that will keep Harris at the cutting edge of product innovation and customer responsiveness. He inherits a broadcast organization that has achieved excellent forward momentum over the past two years under the leadership of Jeremy Wensinger."

PAS-8 shifts Ku Beam

SYDNEY -- PanAmSat (NYSE: PA - News) says it has re-jigged a PAS-8 Pacific Ocean satellite Ku beam to effectively reach every corner of New Zealand, New Caledonia and Fiji.

This followed the recent decision by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission redirect the PAS-8 Southeast Asia beam to cover the southwest Pacific instead.

David Ball, vice president, Asia Pacific said PanAmSat was responding to customer needs citing the many multi-cultural transmissions on the PanGlobal TV DTH platform already serving Australia.

PAS-8 is home to some of the best-known broadcasting and cable television networks including: TVB, ABS-CBN, Turner Broadcasting, ESPN, CCTV, CNBC Asia, Discovery Networks Asia and NHK. In addition, the spacecraft is the delivery platform for PanGlobal TV, which provides programmers immediate access to an established and growing Australian DTH neighborhood. PanGlobal TV is a joint marketing alliance between PanAmSat and GlobeCast Australia.

PAS-8 provides video, telecommunications and Internet access throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including a high-power C-band beam that stretches from Bangladesh to the western United States. The satellite also contains high-power Ku-band spot beams that cover Australian, Northeast Asia and now the Southwest Pacific, C-band and Ku-band customers are both able to use the PanAmSat teleport in Napa, Calif. to send signals directly to Asia or to receive PAS-8 signals in the United States for onward transmission over other PanAmSat satellites worldwide.

IPTV ASPAC SUBS 29m by 2010

The number of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, is projected to grow from 1.2 million subscribers in 2005 to 29.7 million in 2010, said research firm IDC.

Taiwan News quoted Claudio Checchia, Research Manager at IDC Asia- Pacific Consumer Research as saying IPTV has not only added value to the broadband take up but also enabled service providers to reduce churn rate of basic broadband access, while adding additional revenue streams.

To year end 2005, IDC cites Hong Kong as the continuing single largest ASPAC IPTV market with a 55.8 percent share in the Asia- Pacific region, excluding Japan.

IDC forecasts IPTV: "can represent a golden opportunity for telecommunication carriers looking to tap into new revenue streams beyond data and voice services.”

Prasar Bharati adds DTH Channels

Prasar Bharati to increase DTH channels

The Hindu newspaper on April 13 quoted that Prasar Bharati CEO, K S Sarma as saying direct-to-home (DTH) channels will be increased to 51 in 2006-07 from the current 33 with a special prompotional effort to increase viewership to the channels at the grass root level.

Other points reported:

- 10 million DTH boxes had been sold up to February 2006.

- K V Rainbow FM channel will start in two months time

- Doordarshan (DD) has linked with ACL Wireless Limited to launch both SMS and IVR-based interactive service over the same short code 676733. The SMS-based news service was in addition to the various other programmes like opinion polls, feedback that have already been enabled via ACL's India6767 platform.

ACL, a leading developer and provider of cutting-edge wireless solutions for consumers and enterprises, won the contract for a period of three years under which it will design, instal and manage the services which will available to more than 423 million DD viewers across the country who tune into DD News, DD National, DD Bharati and DD Sports channels.

CanWest's Turkey Venture

Winnepeg-based, CanWest Global Communications Corp says its subsidiary, CGS NZ TV Shareholdings (Netherlands) B.V. has completed the acquisition of Turkish radio stations Super FM, Metro FM, Joy FM and Joy Turk FM from The Turkish Savings and Deposit Insurance Fund for an aggregate cash consideration of US $61 million.

CanWest has been negotiating for months and the deal is a complex one.

Tom Strike, President of CanWest MediaWorks International ays that Turkey continues to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a rapidly expanding advertising market. He intends to leverage the radio expertise from CanWest's New Zealand and Canadian operations in the development of the Turkish stations -two of which are national and two local in Istanbul.

In brief, the stations are:

- Super FM is a top-40, popular national music station, which also broadcasts local news coverage to reach 45% of Turkey's 70 million people, including listeners in the major cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. It appeals to the youth market. - Metro FM is Turkey's most popular national music station broadcasting in English that appeals to the urban affluent youth market. - Joy FM broadcasts a combination of English-language pop, rhythm and blues, soft rock, jazz and Latin music, and appeals to young, upwardly mobile urban dwellers in Istanbul. - Joy Turk FM broadcasts a mix of traditional Turkish music along with music that appeals to urban and rural listeners in the Istanbul region.

The stations were part of a successful broadcast group that fell foul of Turkish politics and put up for sale.

Chunghwa Telecom cuts growth outlook

The Taipei Times carried a story on April 13 in which John Hsueh, a vice president of Chunghwa Telecom was quoted as saying that Chunghwa (Taiwan's top telecoms company) was trimming its subscriber growth forecast this year from 500,000 to 300,000 for its IPTV subscribers. At end of 2005 the company had 100,000 subscribers.

Chunghwa Telecom has spent more than NT$2 billion (US$61.48 million) on purchases of set-top boxes for its subscribers since last year. The outlay made up about 80 percent of the company's total investment in the new IPTV business, Hsueh said.

Subscribers to Chunghwa Telecom's IPTV service have a selection of only 30 channels, compared with the more than 100 channels offered by cable TV operators.

Chunghwa had a troubled launch facing competition from the powerful cable TV lobby that has filed a complaint (still pending) over Chunghwa Telecoms entry into the TV market.

DLF Cricket on Zee TV Middle East

Zee TV Middle East won the exclusive cricket telecast rights for the DLF Cup in Abu Dhabi April 18 and 19 between India and Pakistan.

All proceeds from the two days of pulsating cricket will be in aid of victims of the devastating earthquakes that hit the Indian subcontinent in October last year.

The deal is part of the master contract won by Zee Sports, India for the Global Media Rights for all cricket matches played by India on neutral ground i.e. non ICC member countries for a price of US$8.77 million per match, for five years starting on April 1, 2006.

The total contract will cost Zee Sports US$219 million for the television, radio and internet rights worldwide for a total of 25 matches. Pakistan, Australia and England will be the competing teams.

Monday, April 17, 2006

David Hoad APTV's New Tech Head

David Hoad assumes responsibility for all aspects of television technology infrastructure, development and support in the international television news division of the Associated Press (AP) in his new capacity as Director of Technology for AP Television News. Hoad was previously Head of Technology and Strategic Projects.

Hoad joined APTV in November 1994, Hoad has played a key role in all the major technology and engineering projects that have been implemented at AP Television News over the last 11 years. Following an intense period of activity as part of the successful APTV/WTN integration team, he was appointed Head of Engineering and oversaw the planning and implementation of ENPS, AP’s newsroom software, and then led the design and implementation of the new digital newsroom and automated production environment, which moved AP from an inefficient analog world to a flexible digital one.

Another US TV Channel heads East

As if we in Asia-Pacific do not have enough choices in US TV programming made available to us, starting towards the end of 2006 comes "The America Channel" an independently owned new cable programming network.

The America Channel's advance hype says its programming will "explore and celebrate America, its communities, real heroes, and ordinary people who accomplish the extraordinary".

"There is a global fascination with all things American," stated Doron Gorshein, CEO of The America Channel. "We believe The America Channel - a network dedicated to exploring and celebrating our diverse communities, local heroes and ordinary people who accomplish the extraordinary -- will find a substantial international audience."

The channel launches first in Europe and Middle East on Hotbird satellites at 13 degrees East and Eutelsat at 28 degrees East in agreement with BT.

Digital Broadcasters Vendor News heard on the grapevine that The America channel hopes to expand further into Asia as soon as it ties up satellite transponder slots.

If you must..check it out

Canada exempts MobileTV from Broadcast Controls

Canada's broadcast watchdog authority, the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) handed down an interesting decision on April 12 that puts mobile TV services which offer television programming accessible through a wireless handset, such as a cellphone, to be exempt from regulation.

The Commission determined that the services provided by Bell Mobility Inc., Rogers Wireless Inc. and TELUS Mobility, in conjunction with MobiTV Inc., fall within the Commission's New Media Exemption Order, which applies to services that are delivered and accessed over the Internet.

Further, the Commission also determined that mobile TV services, whether or not they are delivered and accessed over the Internet, should also be exempt from regulation, and issued a public notice asking for the input of Canadians on a proposed exemption order to that effect.

Importantly, "The Commission considers that exempting mobile TV services promotes innovation in delivering television to Canadians," said CRTC chairman, Charles Dalfen, "without adversely impacting the ability of licensed broadcasters to fulfill their obligations under the Broadcasting Act."

Japan's Superbird-7 1Q 2008

Tokyo -- Mitsubishi Electric has chosen Arianespace to launch the SUPERBIRD-7 satellite for Japanese operator Space Communications Corporation (SCC) in the first quarter of 2008 from the Guiana Space Center, Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

The satellite will be built by Mitsubishi Electric, Japan's first satellite maker to enter the commercial market, at its Kamakura Works, using a DS2000 platform, within the scope of a turnkey contract with Japanese operator Space Communications Corporation (SCC). Weighing about 5,000 kg at launch, it will be positioned at 144 degrees East.

The SUPERBIRD-7 satellite will be fitted with 28 Ku-band transponders. From geostationary orbit, it will provide various communications services, including video and audio broadcast to home, CATV and mobile terminals, for the Asia-Pacific region with fixed and steerable spot beams.

Half APAC mobiles have camera

Digital Content statistics Asia-Pacific

- 252.3 million mobile phones shipped in the Asia-Pacific region in 2005. Some 53.4% had camera functions. Plunging prices of such models in emerging markets has greatly promoted their adoption.

- By 2009, 67% of mobiles sold in Asia Pacific will have camera functionality. Digital cameras, including both digital still camera and video camera, will remain the most popular function of cutting- edge phones.

- Phones with music-playing capabilities accounted for 23% of phones sold; that figure is above the global average of 13.6%.

- Mobile digital broadcasting TV phones, and cellular phones with alternative wireless broadband connectivity, were introduced to early adopters in South Korea and Japan in 2005.

- By 2009, the functionality and quality of music playing on mobile phones will be greatly enhanced, with music phones likely to be in direct competition with stand-alone music players.

Source: Research and Markets ( reports/c35416).

Ellis Back as CEO TVNZ

From mid-May Rick Ellis returns to Television New Zealand as CEO. He is acclaimed as having led TVNZ in the four years to 2002 with "vision and purpose".

Since that time he has remained actively involved in the industry – in particular through his current appointments as Chairman of the Television Local Content Group and as a member of the Board of Governors of Radio New Zealand.

CanWest+TVNZ in DTV Talks

Auckland-- New Zealand press outlets have reported talks are under way between CanWest and TVNZ on a free-to-air digital TV platform.

Direct-to-Home and digital terrestrial television transmission modes are being discussed to be developed and marketed under a "Freeview" banner.

Freeview would include the current free-to-air channels: TVNZ and CanWest's - TV1, TV2, TV3 and C4 - in digital format, plus others such as Maori TV and any new channels to come along or be developed.

Industry sources say the alternative format, digital terrestrial television, which involves delivering digital signals through nationwide transmitters owned by state-owned enterprise BCL, is less likely to be adopted.

Digital terrestrial television involves also a rollover of existing spectrum allocations beyond 2015 during simulcasting of the present analog and future digital signals. Complicated at the best of times, going terrestrial would likely need the assistance of government funding to defray increased transmission costs.

TurkSat 3A confirmed Early 2008 Service

Ankara -- Recent reports in the Turkish media state that the Turksat 3A satellite, to be launched in early 2008, will provide coverage across Turkey, Central Asia and Europe where current footprints have problems due to geographic reasons or technical problems.

Turksat and Alcatel have already signed a turnkey contract for the construction and the in-orbit delivery of a new powerful telecommunication satellite which will be fitted with 24 Ku-band transponders and will offer beginning of life power of about 8kW.

Turksat 3A will replace Turksat 1C whose operational life is nearing its end.

Korea: DMB U1 Media signs Kamera's WOW

Korea: Mobile TV provider Kamera has signed a content deal with South Korean Wireless broadcaster U1 Media, which sees Kamera delivering its entertainment news service WOW! TV to the newly-launched channel.

Terrestrial DMB commenced in Korea in December 2005 and U1 Media is one of the six DMB service providers which launched a channel. Out of their 24 daily hours of programming, more than 50 per cent will focus on entertainment.

“U1 Media is the most active player among the 6 T-DMB broadcasters in Korea now. Since young and educated, early-adopters and trend leaders are among our major target audiences, Kamera’s content is very attractive to our viewers. Such content not only adds more colour and flavour to our program line-ups, but also creates an ubiquitous environment for our viewers”, explained Soon-Yong Cho, president and CEO of U1 Media.

Over the last 12 months, Kamera has signed 20 mobile distribution deals for its dedicated entertainment service, which has proved a major hit amongst users. WOW! TV is now available in a host of territories including Sweden, Denmark, The Baltics, Austria, South Africa, Brazil and Singapore.

Full story:

Express AM-1 meet New Delhi

New Delhi -- The Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC), a global satellite communications operator, the Intersputnik International Organization of Space Communications (Intersputnik) and Eutelsat, one of the world's leading satellite operators jointly held a seminar in India late March to discuss the perspectives of satellite communications development, digital TV and radio broadcasting and the ways to further develop telecommunications infrastructure. They came together to establish satellite bridges between India and Europe and to set up satellite private networks in the territory of India using Express AM-1 satellite.

RSCC's experts discussed their perspective of the satellite communications development including telephony, data transmission, Internet access, VSAT multi-application networks, telemedicine, distance learning, digital TV and radio broadcasting via new Express- AM series satellites in India and neighbouring countries.

The main objective of the seminar was to present the new Russian Express AM1 satellite capabilities for proving the front-line digital multimedia services as well as to share the practical experience of the satellite operators in the field of providing turn-key satellite solutions.

RSCC lets satellite segment capacities and information flows on the spacecraft of Gorizont Express-A, Express-AM, Ekran-M series and the direct broadcasting satellites Bonum-1 and W4 as well as engineering facilities of the terrestrial stations and the ground high-speed fiber optic network to broadcast federal and commercial TV and radio programs, to deploy satellite telephone channels, to transmit data, to access Internet, to organize videoconferences, telemedicine and e- learning.

Investment Adviser Aiello, Now Prez of StARTV

Paul Aiello has joined STARTV as President. Aiello will report to Michelle Guthrie, STAR CEO. Aiello will be responsible for developing strategic and business directions for the company while overseeing corporate functions including business development, strategy and implementation, STAR ventures, government affairs and corporate communications.

In the meantime, Steve Askew continues to oversee STAR day-to-day operations across the region.

STAR India's 1st "Webisode"

Mumbai -- STAR India launched the country's first ever "webisode" on, offering a sneak preview of Pyaar Ke Do Naam…Ek Raadha, Ek Shyaam before the program premiered on STAR PLUS cable channel this month.

Since the webisode launch on March 10, some 150,000 registered video downloads have taken place.

The site is at:

Hong Kong HDTV Countdown to 2007

Hong Kong is part of China. As such the Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing are dictating a lot of coordination decisions between the Hong Kong SAR and the capital.

Hong Kong is also hosting the Equestrian Olympic Events. So the question of Hong Kong's switch over from analog to digital TV takes on an added significance as Beijing has stated that the country will convert to digital and high definition by time the Games start.

Hong Kong it seems will be ready in 2007.

On March 29, its Commerce, Industry & Technology Bureau set up working groups with local terrestrial TV broadcasters, Asia Television Limited (ATV) and Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB)-- "to ensure the timely and smooth launch of digital services next year".

Led by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, the groups will work with the television stations to solve technical issues related to the transmission and reception of digital terrestrial television and facilitate inter-departmental coordination to ensure successful migration from analogue to digital TV at different stages.

The Broadcasting Authority has already approved ATV and TVB's investment plans for their digital TV rollout. ATV has committed more than HK$400 million(US$51.28 million) up to 2009 to provide a hybrid HDTV digital service and multi-channel broadcasting, while TVB has committed the same for an HDTV channel with 14 hrs of HDTV programming daily.

In July 2004, the bureau announced the implementation framework for digital TV in Hong Kong. According to the blueprint, ATV and TVB will start broadcasting their existing services in both analogue and digital format (simulcasting) and launch a new digital service on the respective additional frequency channel assigned to them by 2007.

ATV and TVB will extend the coverage of their digital networks to at least 75 percent of Hong Kong by 2008. A main transmission location will be in Tze Wan Shan.

If the mainland has not decided upon a national transmission standard by the end of 2006, ATV and TVB will adopt DVB-T.

Analog in Hong Kong will likely end five years after the start of DTV.

RTM to trial iTV in September

Kuala Lumpur -- Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) celebrates its 60th anniversary this month. A timely announcement by Information Minister, Datuk Zainuddin Maidin will see RTM launch 6 months of figital television trials fir six months from Septmber.

Both RTM-1 and RTM2 will be used from 7pm to midnight daily as well as a third special channel being set up for the trial.

Some 1-2,000 set top boxes will be distributed to selected homes in and around the Klang Valley area of the capital.

The minister said that throughout the trial period, various tests and studies would be carried out on the digital broadcast and program content, and include several interactive packages, data and other services to gauge the effectiveness of the services.

A trial report would be submitted to the Government's Economic Planning Unit (EPU) for evaluation.

[Which equipment manufacturers are involved in the project?]

Guangzhou TV English station

Can anyone tell us at [Digital Broadcasters Vendor News] which frequency/channel is being used by Guangzhou Television new English TV station that now airs 18 hours a day having started March 28?

BroadcastAsiaSingapore June 23-26

Diary Reminder: BroadcastAsia2006, the 11th International Digital Multimedia & Entertainment Technology & Conference, is well on track for another successful run at the Singapore Expo from June 19-23, 2006.

Digital Radio Oz 2009 Jan 1

Canberra: January 1 2009 is the start date for digital radio in 12 capital cities and regional centres in Australia. Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan today announced that the Government would put in place legislation and regulatory arrangements to allow the introduction of digital radio by 1 January 2009.

"Barring any unforeseen hurdles with spectrum planning, we consider it a feasible timeframe,” said Joan Warner, CEO of broadcast industry body, Commercial Radio Australia.

Ms Warner said the industry had commenced business planning for a national rollout beginning in 12 capital cities and major regional areas, and would be making a significant investment in building a digital transmission network.

“Our research shows Australians are extremely interested in digital radio, and we are working towards delivering a lot of exciting new features and content that will allow radio to compete more effectively against new technologies,” Ms Warner said.

Research by Colmar Brunton Media Solutions showed 75 per cent of people surveyed and 84 per cent of 18-24-year-olds saying they would be very or quite interested in purchasing a digital radio priced within their budget (up from 68% and 80% respectively in a similar survey undertaken in 2004).

The research, undertaken Australia-wide, showed that a significant majority - 67 per cent - of people surveyed said commercial radio was their primary source of hearing new music and 79 per cent said they listen to commercial radio every week.

“The uptake of mp3 players doesn’t seem to have dampened consumer enthusiasm for the concept of digital radio at all,” Ms Warner said.

UBC Cable targets "Up country" punters with new low cable package

Bangkok. On April 2, UBC Cable TV unveiled its lowest price offer of 340Baht a month (less than US$10) with the hope to grow its subscriber base by 35 per cent by end of 2006 mainly from "up country" consumers.

In the "up country" provinces piracy has been a problem. CASBAA estimates that more than 1.1 million subscribers in the country watch unlicensed cable television, compared with only 480,000 legitimate users, all UBC subscribers, whose fees are used, in part, to pay content producers and distributors such as HBO, CNN and others.

Last year, UBC tried to combat cable piracy by offering low-cost, bulk transmissions to provincial cable operators in an effort to allow them to offer cheap, but legal, programing to their consumers.

After only a few months, UBC canceled the endeavor, citing lower-than- expected cooperation from provincial cable operators.

The company had originally estimated that it would be able to convert hundreds of thousands of new users from the dark side, but, at the end of the program, less than 10,000 had crossed over.

Full story:

PRC DTH August Launch

Recent official PRC news sources quote China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT)as saying that the first DTH broadcasts would take place in August 2006 with heavy supporting promotion to energise the population into digital TV take up.

Conflicting signals are coming out of China over the reasons why DTH is being promoted as it could pose a threat to the massive investments in cable TV across the country.

Exit HBO Asia's Marturano

Singapore-based, Jim Marturano, the Executive VP, HBO Asia and MD, HBO South Asia leaves this month (April)to return to the US. Successor is Suarina Chua, senior VP of sales and marketing, who joined the company in 1994 just two years after Maturano helped set up the Singapore regional headquarters for HBO. The pay-off for Marturano is that he will remain a consultant to HBO Asia.

Digital Radio Thailand, DG Capitel to distribute for Harris Corp

Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS) has contracted DG Capitel International Co Ltd., a leading Thai reseller of telecommunications equipment, to distribute Harris TRuepoint microwave digital radios throughout Thailand. The highly scalable platform, TRuepoint provides an backhaul solutions for the rapid growth in demand for cellular mobile and data services in the Asia-Pacific region.

Handling the deal: Scott Crosbie, MD, DG Capitel International and Roberto Angeles, Asia-Pacific regional sales director for the Harris Microwave Communications Division.

India 30: USA 6 TV News Channels

Interesting facts:

India has two new TV News Channels: Kolkata TV backed by technology company, Xenitis, and Chobeesh Ghanta, is a Zee group offering. Both are in the East Indian Bengali dialect.

India has more than 30 cable news channels mainly in English or Hindi languages. The United States has only six TV dedicated cable news TV channels.

New anti-Spam code, Australia

On 16 July 2006, Australia introduces world leading anti-spam action - the first of its kind legislative code of practice for internet and email service providers.

The new code applies to all of the 689 active internet service providers in Australia, as well as those global email service providers such as Hotmail and Yahoo providing services in the country.

It also requires ISPs and email service providers to give end-users information about how to deal with spam and to have in place a process for handling complaints from subscribers. The ISPs will have to provide spam filtering options to their subscribers.

The code sets out how the operators will address also the sources of spam within their own networks, including actual spammers, misconfigured customer email servers and the virus-infected computers used to spread spam (known as ‘zombies’).

Many Australia ISPs already voluntarily offer a spam filtering product to their customers as either a free or charged service.

Industry codes represent one element of Australia’s multilayered strategy against spam, which includes legislation, technical counter- measures, education and awareness initiatives and international cooperation.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority registered the code of practice in support of the Spam Act 2003 by the Internet Industry Association in conjunction with the internet associations from Western Australia and South Australia.

A copy of the code is available at

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Digital Camera Market to Double by 2012

A Frost & Sullivan report says that the World Digital Broadcast and Cinematography Camera Market of US$300 million mark in 2005, is set to double in size by 2012.

The research firm says that technological advances made in the digital broadcast and cinematography cameras may hold exciting market potential, but prohibitive prices do not encourage frequent sales. Buyers of both HD and low-end (SD) cameras are averse to making rapid upgrades, lengthening the sales cycle to four years.

Most successful market vendors have a global strategy and a product line that caters to customers with varied buying power. Many vendors, however, seek to cater only to the higher margin HD market.

Global vendors can deal with the downturn in sales by periodically shifting their regional focus, since the broadcast camera market is extremely cyclical geographically. Vendors can also achieve economies of scale by addressing the Pro AV and digital news gathering (DNG) markets with inexpensive and portable digital cameras.

With U.S. digital broadcasts by 2008, the cost-conservative market has generated huge demand for better solutions with greater applications.

“Vendors need to emphasize that moving from a physical archive to a digital one coupled with real time collaboration capabilities helps drive the bottom line down,” says Frost & Sullivan Industry Manager for Digital Media, Mukul Krishna. “The tremendous bit rate savings that can be potentially had by emerging formats as well as better fault tolerance can be a very lucrative proposition for a price- conscious market.”

The report notes that content owners are skeptical about adopting the technology due to glaring inadequacies in security.

Advances in intrusion detection systems and intrusion prevention systems (IDS/IPS) on the perimeter as well as behavioral anomaly detection internally will go a long way in alleviating security issues.

“Security technology is constantly keeping pace with requirements of the industry through better intelligence and constant refinements,” notes Krishna. “Digital rights management solutions add a further layer of copy protection to prevent piracy, aiding rapid uptake of digital broadcast and cinematography cameras.”

World Digital Broadcast and Cinematography Camera Market is part of the Digital Media Subscription. The study examines the world digital broadcast and cinematography camera market, segmenting it into HD production, SD production, DNG, and digital cinematography.

[Having read brief excerpts, I found that the Frost & Sullivan report somewhat hackneyed in writing style reflecting the unfamiliarity with the broadcast market by the authors. - Gerald Brown]

Manila told Clean Up Pay-TV by CASBAA

Pay-TV policy changes to help Philippines leapfrog other markets

A March 28 released report from Manila by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA)the regional industry body of 110 pay-TV companies said the Philippines' restrictive regulatory guidelines and rampant piracy inhibit domestic and foreign investment in the Philippine pay-TV industry.

The report, “Regulating for Growth: Effective Regulation of the Pay- TV Industry in the Asia-Pacific,” was undertaken by CASBAA in association with research firm Media Partners Asia. The results are based on an assessment of regulatory regimes in 11 Asian markets along with two international benchmarks (the United States and the United Kingdom). Effective regulation was measured by evaluating 10 key aspects of the pay-TV regulatory framework: national regulatory body, copyright protection, level playing fields for convergence and competition, program distribution, rate regulation, program packaging, advertising, content, program supply, and non-domestic investment.

In brief, the report outlined the fact that in the Philippines, to penalize copyright violators with license suspension or revocation has not been effectively applied by industry watchdog, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“It (the NTC) issues cable operating licenses without examining whether programming is misappropriated and resold,” the report indicated.

I would say to CASBAA they are hitting their heads against the proverbial brick wall where the Philippines is concerned. Publicize the weaknesses and shortcomings of the market by all means but unless CASBAA members boycott and blacklist the Philippines in a show of force, their actions to date are only full of hot air.

Among the 11 Asian economies evaluated in the report, the Philippines ranked 9th in terms of pay-TV investment estimated at just US$28.44 million. The reason is clear: programmers are discouraged by the flagrant copyright infringement. Investment in infrastructure and technology is just US$49.25 million.

CASBAA said the report demonstrates a direct relationship between effective regulation and increased investment and sector value using Malaysia which strongly enforces copyright in broadcasting, resulting in high levels of investment in both content $108 million and infrastructure at $167 million.

But amazingly, CASBAA fails to explain that the Malaysian government only permitted a handful of companies in the pro-government camp to have a license. Something the Philippines would find hard to emulate from its postulated freer press and media compared to Malaysia's more controlled environment.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Broadband Connected

[If you like what you read, tell your friends. They can sign up to have 24/7 updates on their desktop by simply clicking on the RSS/Atom links found to the right of this page.] This is a follow up to my comments about installing DSL broadband in Greece. After three days of extra cable installation and a highly personalized service by local engineers, OTE installed broadband at my holiday residence. My only comment beyond a sincere thank you is to say, if it was not for the dedicated attention I received, there was no way I could have possible followed the self set up instructions. To some extent the earlier comments contributed to this blog were correct. But the bottom line is: when a Greek gives their word a task will be completed it is. That is what the engineers personally told me. They honoured their word. Now, if only the OTE marketing department can simplify the whole process of installation and they will have a winning product on their hands.

ESPN STAR Sports Goes Harris Platinum

It is that time of year again for digital broadcast publications to receive a slew of new product press releases timed for exposure at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention April 24-27 in Las Vegas.

In its latest missive, Harris Corp in an April 13 announcement said digital broadcaster ESPN STAR Sports (Singapore?) was one of a group of leading broadcasters worldwide to have purchased the new Platinum line of routing switchers. Signal routing is up to 256x256 in 15RU and 512x512 in 28RU configurations. The routers also support a mix of any signal - video and audio, from analog to HD - all in the same frame.

The release said that ESPN STAR Sports chose Platinum to replace its existing production router (un-named). Platinum will provide interconnectivity between all ESPN STAR Sports technical facilities including studios, incoming feeds, edit, voice over, and transmission routers.

Respective company executives for the deal: Andy Rylance, director of engineering for ESPN STAR Sports and Tim Thorsteinson, president of the Leitch Business Unit at Harris.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Win $1000 - New ABU Logo Competition

Participants of the new ABU logo competition are reminded that the deadline for entry submission is on 21 April 2006. All entries should be sent to

Eligibility- The competition is open to any artist or designer, and not restricted to employees of ABU members.

The ABU wants to modernise its image with an equally contemporary logo design that reflects Asia and the modern world. The organisation cautions that while it wants change it should be an updated version of the existing logo and must not be a radical departure of it.

Prize: A cash prize of US$1,000 will be awarded to the designer of the winning logo, who will also receive a return economy air ticket and accommodation to attend the 2007 ABU General Assembly in Tehran, Iran, to receive a Commemorative Certificate.

Check out the ABU site for more information on the ABU new logo competition

[Digital Broadcasters Vendor News as a service to the Asia digital radio and TV industry issues this reminder on the New ABU logo competition]

Podcasting airborne delivery?

[I caught this digital video broadcasting snippet on the web!]

It appears that Apple has the been the focus recently of companies in the In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) business who are looking into how to incorporate media-based, e-commerce in offerings to passengers.

Why Apple? The answer lies in IFE's looking to incorporate iPod podcasting and iTunes technology that could feature iPod docks with USB and charging ports set into the backs of aircraft seats. The idea is to permit passengers to charge for song and video purchases/downloads while earning frequent-flyer miles.

Cut and paste the whole URL in your browser window to read the full story, or by clicking here to the site's home page: inflight-ipod-downloads/

Broadcast Asia 2006, Singapore - Diary Reminder

[Digital Broadcasters Vendor News service to the digital radio and digital TV industry in Asia]

Along with the trade show, and various conference activities, add the AIB's 2006 International Broadcasting Awards to Broadcast Asia, Singapore in June.

The AIB says the 2006 Awards have new categories, defined to ensure that the best talent and the best programming in international television and radio broadcasting is rewarded.

The 2006 Awards build on the success of the inaugural AIB International Broadcasting Awards that were launched in 2005.

Full details of the Awards

MM TV News Takes Delivery of

In a March 28 release, Harris Corporation of Cincinnati, Ohio (NYSE:HRS) named the soon-to-launch, Asian digital television broadcaster, MM TV news channel(Malayala Manorama) in India as being one of the first buyers worldwide of its new IconMaster system for master control with embedded multi-layer branding.

Based on the industry-leading Leitch NEO modular platform, the IconMaster product combines critical master control functions with multi-layer integrated branding.

TVNZ HY Results down on last year

Auckland -- On March 30, Television New Zealand reported its Interim (Half Year) earnings to December 2005 that showed a net surplus after tax of NZ$23.3 million compared to NZ$30.7 million in the same period the year before.

TVNZ Chairman, Craig Boyce, described the result as satisfactory in the context of a slowing economic environment. He also cited a reduction in revenue resulting from the closure of TVNZ's satellite services business and a decline in advertising revenue.

Programming highlights for the half year included TV ONE's extensive election coverage, the extraordinary ratings and audience share achieved for Desperate Housewives on TV2, and Frontier of Dreams - the first comprehensive television history of New Zealand.

During the period TVNZ broadcast all but two of the top 50 programmes watched by New Zealanders of all ages.

Continuing the pattern established last year, the Interim Report also includes a reconciliation of Charter funding for all programmes broadcast during the six month period.

The Full Interim Report can be downloaded at: http://

ND SatCom Russia venture

ND SatCom, the Friedrichshafen-based, and a leading global supplier of satellite-based broadband VSAT, broadcast and defence communication network solutions said on March 28 that it has formed a Moscow subsidiary - ND SatCom Russia to strengthen its activities in Russia and the CIS states.

While Russia is usually perceived as being a European country, geographically it is two thirds in Asia with the main city in the East being Vladivostock. Russia's main digital terrestrial radio and TV networks stretch across the whole nation.

ND SatCom says its main marketing efforts are directed to broadcast & media, as well as the corporate and government sectors.

The Moscow team consists of local sales and engineering personnel who already have a long-term experience with the ND SatCom product portfolio. Through this organisation, challenging demands of the Russian and CIS states’ markets can be fulfilled in a timely manner.

In the near future, ND SatCom intends to expand its activities even further by opening a technical center which will be assigned with network design and testing and maintenance of ND SatCom equipment. The technical center will also be tasked with adapting ND SatCom’s technologies to the specific emerging market requirements and the developments in new satellite communication technologies.

ND SatCom is owned 74,9 per cent by AUGUSTA Technologie AG and a 25,1 per cent by SES Global.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hong Kong IPTV in Focus is currently carrying a terrific story on how Hong Kong’s PCCW continues to trail-blaze in the pay-TV market, and it may soon be the first telco in the world whose IPTV subscriber total eclipses the customer base of competing cable providers.

The web site reports that PCCW ended 2005 with close to 550,000 IPTV subscribers – up more than 50 percent in a year – and it is rapidly closing in on Hong Kong’s market leader: cable operator i-Cable Communications.

At the end of 2004, PCCW only had about 360,000 customers for its IPTV service, called “now TV.” Its impressive 52-percent subscriber growth compares to only a 5-percent growth rate in 2005 for i-Cable, which ended the year with 738,000 pay-TV subscribers. At the end of 2004, i-Cable served more than 700,000 subscribers, so PCCW is catching up fast.

If the current growth rates continue, it’s possible that, at some point toward the end of the year, PCCW will become the market-share leader in terms of providing pay-TV services in Hong Kong, which would represent a remarkable feat for the telco.

The story also says that PCCW emphasises content deals. It signed new exclusive content agreements with HBO Asia Pacific, the STAR group and Mei Ah Entertainment. In another key deal, announced earlier this year, PCCW enhanced it local Chinese content by signing a long-term agreement with Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting Limited to carry 20 of its channels on the “now TV” platform. This month has also seen PCCW launch its 24-hour Cantonese-language “now Business News Channel.”

In other key parts of its full-year results released today, PCCW announced a strong increase in the number of broadband subscribers. PCCW’s total number of broadband access lines rose 20 percent, to 953,000, at the end of December 2005, up from 796,000 a year earlier. The company also said 330,000 customers had registered for its trial 3G services. And to entice customers, about one one-third of them have received a free 3G handset, the web site report concluded.

[e-broadcastnewsasia editor, Gerald Brown: PCCW when it took over Hongkong Telecom, the then dominant telco in Hong Kong, teh comopany's management demoralised many small shareholders when it leveraged the company's value which resulted in plummeting stock price. Since then PCCW has tried to regain investor confidence. Results this year "may" go some way to regain the trust of the average Hong Kong investor. Only time and share price and dividend improvement will tell.]



This is the Editor/Publisher, Gerald Brown reporting from Europe, hence the reason for the period of some days the Digital Broadcasters Vendor News blog has not been transmitting.

I am reporting from sunny Greece where, by the way, the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 comes from Athens in late May.

It may surprise readers to know that Greece has actually the most advanced physical telephone network in the EU.

This I mention because the broadband DSL connections, don't work, where I am staying, which is just 5kms from the local telephone exchange. So it is 56K dial up and all that.

A Depressing fact. OTE the national telecomms provider is a sad monolith where Broadband ADSL staff tell you bluntly: "No DSL? that is someone else's problem". It is a company where staff tell you, it is you who have report the technical problem to their fellow OTE department when all departments access the same information on the same network of computer terminals. They will not do it, even though it is to the benefit to their own company to do so. So much for being user friendly. I am not saying the staff are rude. They are not. They now even speak in English which they simply refused to do as recently as four years ago.

Wouldn't it be sensible for OTE to leapfrog fixed line technology and go "wi-fi"?

What is that? I was asked by the local telephone technician....

There you go!

This is still Europe and the EU. It is though a world apart from Northern Europe!

Greece is great for a holiday. The Greeks enjoy life too much. Hence the reason they are the biggest per capita spenders in dining out, in the whole of the European Community.

Forget what you saw with the Athens Olympics in 2004. They were great and wonderful and so is Athens. But Greece is more than Athens.

Until there is a seismic shift in core values in government and quasi government organisations staff members, I suggest there are easier places to make investments and money in the EU and beyond.

And now back to my glass of wine and downloading more emails on the Asian digital broadcasting industry to bring the leading Asian broadcasting blog up-to-date.

Before I receive irate emails from you, and as a post script -- let me point out that the Greeks get as frustrated with their bureaucracy as any one else! So why don't they fix the problem? Who knows?