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Thread: News 20.08.2007

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    Default News 20.08.2007

    Dubai Media City trials DVB-H


    Dubai Media City trials DVB-HA mobile broadcast television trial using the Nokia-backed DVB-H standard has launched in Dubai Media City (DMC). The trial, which offers 12 channels to 500 mobile users, is the first launch of a mobile broadcast TV service in the United Arab Emirates.
    The trial is being conducted in partnership with the UAE's second telecom operator, du, and the country's largest broadcast companies, Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI) and Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC).
    DMC said the aim of the trial was to "study the technical and commercial feasibility of DVB-H services and prepare the ground for a commercial roll out".
    "The trial is also aimed at identifying the content and channel choices of the users along with timings and location preference. Further advanced analysis will conclude in-depth opportunities for creating refined and customised packages for mobile TV users," said DMC which has distributed 500 Nokia handsets (models N92 & N77) to triallists.
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    Sky faces Irish EPG rules

    The Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI) is pushing ahead with plans to regulate Electronic Programme Guides for multichannel broadcasters in the country. It means that providers including Sky Digital and UPC Ireland would be required to give priority to Irish broadcasters.
    In the Irish Republic, Sky gives priority to RTE 1,RTE 2,TV3 and TG4, which take the top positions that are occupied by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. The British stations appear lower down the guide for Irish viewers. Recently launched Dublin station Channel 6 is seeking a more prominent position in the guide.
    It is expected that Sky will argue that it should be regulated only by the UK’s Ofcom. However, if the BCI wins the day Sky could be forced to run a significantly different numbering scheme for Irish viewers.
    The BCI is expected to discuss its EPG proposals in October.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Time-shifted Channel 4 goes on air

    Channel 4 is today launching a time-shifted digital version of its main channel. Channel 4+1 becomes the first terrestrial channel to have a time-shifted version, offering viewers an exact replica of Channel 4's schedule delayed by one-hour.
    The timeshifted channel is launching on Freeview, Sky Digital and Virgin Media, and brings the total number of timeshifted channels on digital platforms to more than 40.
    Last month Channel 4 CEO Andy Duncan said the launch of Channel 4+1 was "a logical strategic move … consistent with our commitment to do everything appropriate to secure Channel 4's public service model longer term".
    The time-shifted channel replicates TV advertising, including regional variations, giving advertisers an additional benefit.
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    Premiere changes CA keys

    In an attempt to block illegal viewing German pay TV operator last night again changed the keys to its Nagravision encryption system. For the past few months there has been a cat-and-mouse game between hackers and the operator when the current encoding system was cracked.
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    Bandwidth surge is $80bn problem for CTV

    Cable operators around the world will need to invest around $80bn in network upgrades in order to keep up with demand for bandwidth-hungry services such as high-definition television and online gaming. That's the conclusion of US analyst ABI Research and its new report, Assessing CATV Bandwidth-Expansion Solutions.
    "Cable TV operators trying to satisfy the increasing bandwidth demands of HDTV customers feel very much like the thrifty grocer who tried to cram 10 pounds of potatoes into a five-pound bag," said ABI vice president and research director Stan Schatt, who predicted the bandwidth issue would soon reach "crisis stage".
    ABI Research says some solutions noted in its study — such as rate shaping and expanding sp'ectrum beyond 750 MHz — have already been undertaken by some cable operators, particularly in the US.
    "However, a number of other solutions will come into play during the 2007-2012 forecast period, including sp'ectrum upgrades coupled with node-splitting, switched digital video, PON overlay, MPEG-4 compression, and home gateway bandwidth management solutions," said ABI.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Zonemedia are to launch a UK version of their female-skewed entertainment channel Zone Romantica on September 3.

    Programming will feature several series from 20th Century Fox, Television Distribution, including the highly melodramatic legal drama Ally McBeal; also from the same creator, David E. Kelley, popular medical series, Chicago Hope; and the first showing in the UK of Snoops. Starring Gina Gershon of Pretty in Pink and Showgirls fame, Snoops is a drama series that centres around an unconventional detective agency in LA.
    Viewers can follow the dramatic happenings in Salem when long running American soap Days of Our Lives is brought to UK television screens. Soap fans will also be pleased to learn that salacious soap, The Young and the Restless will be keeping Days company when the channel launches. It follows the daily lives and loves in fictional Genoa City and the history long infamous rivalry between Jill Foster Abbot and Katherine Chancellor.
    Heart-warming, inspirational films will round-out programming.
    Zone Romantica will be available on Sky's digital satellite platform at channel number 146 following the acquisition of BEN TV's EPG slot. The purchase allows the channel to sit alongside Zonemedia's Zone Reality branded offerings.
    An additional version of ethnic station BEN TV launched on channel number 194 last month in preparation for when the current content on 146 is replaced.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Rotana Europe launches on satellite

    Middle East entertainment network Rotana TV has launched its new Rotana Europe service on Sky.
    The Arabic-language channel will be entertainment based and will include a mix of music videos, showbiz news and feature films.
    Broadcasting between 7pm and 10pm on Sky channel 168, Rotana hopes to move to a full 24hours service in the new year. The company is also planning to introduce an on-demand service, Rotana Cinema, sometime in future.
    The channel is being introduced into Europe through ACKS, part of the UK-based multi-media company Aproxis plc. ACKS will handle the European distribution of the Rotana TV Channels, and related products.
    "The quality of Rotana’s production and programming is exceptional," said Henk van der Vliet, director of ACKS. "This expansion of the network into Europe meets a growing demand for contemporary, high quality entertainment TV amongst Arabic speakers."
    Rotana TV’s six channels are popular viewing across the Middle East and it is one of the largest producers of music, film and show-news in the region. Rotana Europe’s schedule will represent a selection of programmes from across its entire network.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Discovery to buy remaining DMax shares

    The German branch of Discovery Channel wants to buy the remaining shares in documentary channel DMax from Spiegel-TV and DCTP. The company already owns 98% of the German language FTA channel, formerly known as XXP.
    According to the media monopoly commission Konzentration im Medienbereich (KEK), there are no objections against full ownership by Discovery. The company also operates the following channels in the German language market: Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Geschichte (History) and Discovery HD.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    German SSN sports channel launched

    The new 24/7 German sports channel Super Sports Network (SSN) has launched as part of the Kabelkiosk bouquet on the Eutelsat Atlantic Bird 2 for distribution over independent cable networks. The channel will specialise in specialist sports and will broadcast matches as well as magazine programmes.
    SSN is owned by DS International Sport Management Inc, and is headed by CEO Dieter Schweiger. The channel will broadcast from studios in Cologne-Ossendorf using facilities provided by the Magic Media Company (MMC).
    Programming will include motorsport (Moto X), tennis, badminton, beach volleyball, kayaking, mountain climbing, snowboarding, surfing and BMX. Also, golf, sailing, horse riding, swimming, gymnastics, baseball, rugby and cricket will be broadcast alongside fitness and wellness programming. There will be 18 hours of fresh programmes a day, and eight hours of repeats.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Spain's TV soccer under threat

    The conflict between the TV production company Mediapro and Spain's largest pay-TV group Sogecable over football TV rights threatens to "switch off" the TV transmission of the Spanish football League for the present 2007-2008 season.
    Two weeks before the National Championship begins, both parties continue clashing, in spite of Mediapro's attempt to open negotiations with Sogecable. Mediapro claims to have the rights to 8 football teams whereas Sogecable has the rights to the rest. In the meantime, football teams are hopeful of getting yet more money from the battle.The fight for the football rights broke out when Mediapro announced the rights to most of the Spanish football teams from 2009-2010 season. Sogecable launched legal actions against the production company claiming for E40 million damages.
    The importance of the fight was underlined as it was revealed three out of four pay-TV clients subscribe to a pay-TV service to watch football. According to a report by a Spanish University, football is the main driving force behind pay-TV subscriptions. 78 per cent of pay-TV clients engage in a pay-TV service mainly to watch football, above all in male's case.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Dish Unveils Turbo-Charged DVR

    EchoStar Communications and its Dish Network Thursday officially introduced their newest HD DVR, which can store up to 500 hours of programming for on-demand, and is meant to support the satellite provider’s expanded HD offering of 38 channels.
    The ViP722 is an advanced version of the EchoStar’s ViP622 DVR, and will complement Dish Network’s recently ramped-up HD lineup, which the satellite provider claims is the largest in the nation.
    The ViP722 is a dual-tuner DVR receiver that can power two rooms, one in HD and the other in standard-definition. It features expanded storage capacity, a 500 GB hard drive, with the ability to record 55 hours of HD programming in MPEG4, 350 hours of standard-definition programming, and more than 100 hours of movies and shows with Dish On Demand – for a total of up to 500 hours of programming.
    Those looking for additional DVR recording capacity, in time for football season and fall season premieres, can take advantage of an external hard-drive feature now available on Dish’s ViP722 and ViP622. The external hard-drive feature allows customers to expand their DVR recording capacity and create a virtually unlimited library of favorite TV shows, movies and sports programming.
    By connecting an off-the-shelf hard disk drive, up to 750 GB, to the DVR through one of two USB 2.0 ports, customers can transfer, store and play HD and standard-definition content saved to the external hard drive.
    Earlier this year, the DVR video archiving feature was awarded an International CES Innovations 2007 Design and Engineering Award on behalf of the Consumer Electronics Association.
    The ViP722 is available for free to qualifying new DISH Network customers, and the external hard drive feature has a one-time household activation fee of $39.99.
    The ViP722 and external hard-drive feature complement Dish Network’s DishHD. The satellite provider is the first pay-TV provider to offer Discovery Channel HD, TLC HD, Animal Planet HD and The Science Channel HD, which DishHD customers now have access to in addition to MHD and Golf/Versus HD.
    With those HD additions– plus more planned for September, including The History Channel HD on Sept. 5 – Dish Network said it is offering the largest national HD lineup in the U.S., now available free for six months to new DishHD subscribers.
    The ViP722 receiver supports Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, and along with the ViP622 is the only DVR in the industry with a true 30-second skip feature – allowing subscribers to watch television commercial-free.It also includes an IP call-back feature ideal for customers who don’t have a phone line, but still want the ability to order pay-per-view programming, among other functions.
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    Cable ops running low on bandwidth

    Escalating demand for bandwidth-hungry services such as HDTV and online gaming is leading to a lack of capacity in cable operators' networks, according to analysts.
    Industry analyst ABI Research reckons that the collective attempts to solve this dilemma will account for some $80bn in investment worldwide over the next five years.
    Some of the potential solutions already on the table include traffic shaping, which prioritises some applications and slows other, less latency dependent ones; and expanding the available sp'ectrum beyond 750MHz. At present cable operators uses about 750MHz of sp'ectrum, most of which is consumed in the downlink. But with more HD channels on the cards, they may need to invest in hardware capable of cracking the available sp'ectrum up into the GHz and beyond range.
    A number of other solutions will also come into play during the 2007-2012 forecast period, said ABI, including sp'ectrum upgrades coupled with node-splitting, switched digital video, PON overlay, MPEG-4 compression, and home gateway bandwidth management solutions.
    "Cable TV operators trying to satisfy the increasing bandwidth demands of HDTV customers feel very much like the thrifty grocer who tried to cram ten pounds of potatoes into a five-pound bag," said ABI vice president and research director Stan Schatt. "The increasing bandwidth demands on cable operators will soon reach crisis stage, yet this is a 'dirty little industry secret' that no one talks about."
    And it's not just the cable ops facing up to the bandwidth crunch, the problem has been discussed slightly more openly in the DSL world.
    Earlier this week, a number of UK ISPs raised concerns over the launch of the BBC's iPlayer service, which allows viewers to watch TV shows over the internet. The internet providers are worried that delivering the service will put too much strain on their networks if it proves popular amongst the masses.
    Not only could this seriously degrade the performance of the iPlayer service itself but it could also affect the internet speeds experienced by everyone else at peak times.
    Network specialist Ciena warned that the underlying infrastructure will be the pivotal factor behind the successful delivery of any internet-based service. Ciena beleives that a flexible network is essential if operators are to make a go of multimedia applications such as iPlayer, IPTV and video conferencing. One way of doing this would be to migrate traditional TDM-based networks to Ethernet and IP architectures, where networks can more aptly carry any service from voice to broadcast.
    Francois Locoh-Donou, vice president and general manager, EMEA at Ciena said, "By failing to adopt flexible network architectures, operators risk compromising their ability to meet customer needs which, at worst, will result in higher customer churn and a reduction in revenue. With a flexible architecture, network providers and enterprises avoid exceeding network capacity and encountering performance issues, enabling them to fully embrace convergence and deliver the technologies of tomorrow."
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    Regulatory probes start into Gaelic channel

    The BBC Trust has launched its public value test (PVT) into BBC management's plans for a Gaelic Digital Service. At the same time, media regulator Ofcom has started its market impact assessment (MIA) into plans for the digital channel, which will broadcast for up to seven hours each day, seven days a week, and include 1.5 hours of original programming.
    The Gaelic channel will be run as a joint venture between BBC Scotland and Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gàidhlig (the Gaelic Media Service). Depending on the regulatory probes, the channel could be on air by March 2008.
    Jeremy Peat, the BBC National Trustee for Scotland, said the probes would be "rigorous". "The Trust is responsible for ensuring that licence fee payers receive value for money from distinctive and high quality BBC services. In considering the proposal for a new Gaelic Digital Service the Trust will listen to a wide range of voices across our audiences, seeking to understand all opinions and expectations.
    "The PVT will be based in Scotland and the views passed to us through the consultation periods will inform our judgement."
    Ofcom said the Gaelic Digital Service would be the BBC's first UK public service to be substantially funded by a party external to the BBC. "Its £17.9m annual running cost will be made up of £10.1m from the Gaelic Media Service and £7.8m from the BBC. £2.5m of the BBC spend is new expenditure on Gaelic," said Ofcom.
    SMG, which owns the two ITV franchises in Scotland, will promote the channel and provide some programming. Ofcom said the Gaelic Media Service had purchased SMG's entire archive of Gaelic programmes for the new channel.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Fremantle Media puts classic comedies online

    Production company Fremantle Media has launched a web site offering downloads of hit ITV comedies such as Bless This House, George and Mildred, Tommy Cooper's Half Hour and Love Thy Neighbour. The site, TVComedyClassics.com, also offers previously unseen episodes and interviews.
    Shows cost 99p on a download-to-rent basis, and £2.49 for the download-to-own option.
    Peter Kalhan, senior VP home entertainment & archive sales at FremantleMedia Enterprises (FME), said: "TVComedyClassics.com is a brand new distribution channel for FME and a great way for us to interact directly with our consumers by delivering to them the content they want, when and where they want it.
    "We very much see TVComedyClassics.com as just the first in many programme genre portal web sites we will be developing and we're certain it will be a big hit with comedy fans. With the launch of this web site, we're truly taking home entertainment into the home."
    Meanwhile, Google is closing its premium video service. Launched early in 2006, Google Video sold episodes of US series online for $1.99, but the venture's performance was eclipsed by the huge success of YouTube, which Google acquired later last year.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    High quality Danish mobile test

    Tests of the DVB-H mobile TV system in Copenhagen by Viasat and TDC have concluded the quality of sound and picture to be “extraordinarily good”. The tests involved just 20 people in the Danish capital with the goal of assessing the user experience.
    The participants found mobile TV to be a good way to keep up to date on news, sports and favourite TV series – and a means to kill time on the bus or train. The use of regular TV transmissions was not impacted by the availability of the mobile services.
    With many such trials already completed – including tests by TDC in Sweden and Switzerland – none of the findings can be regarded as startling. The actual challenge for the segment is now the commercial deployment.
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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