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Thread: News 12.09.2007

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    Default News 12.09.2007

    Romanian Antena TV for sale

    The Romanian entrepreneur and politician Dan Voiculescu has said that he will sell a stake of between 20-30% in the Intact Group. Speaking to the local press, he added that several foreign parties are interested in the media group, which includes five Antena-branded TV channels. Although CME and Ringier are among the interested parties, Voiculescu is understood to be in talks with RTL. It was initially reported that he planned to sell a 50% stake in the group.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    UPC launches digital TV in Bratislava


    The long-awaited debut of UPC’s digital cable service in the Czech Republic has been accompanied by the launch of one in neighbouring Slovakia. Known as UPC Digital, it is initially being made available to 160,000 homes in the capital, Bratislava, offering subscribers around 70 TV channels, of which some 40 are in the Slovak or Czech languages. UPC Broadband Slovakia began trialling its digital service at the beginning of July.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Hungarian IPTV service sets target

    According to a local report, the Hungarian IPTV service T-Home TV expects to have 10,000 subscribers by the end of this year. T-Home TV made its debut in Q4 2006 and currently offers viewers basic and family packages of 23 and 47 channels respectively, as well as six premium channel packages. The service has been gradually rolled out across the country, targeting the incumbent telco’s ADSL subscriber base, which stood at around 653,000 as of the end of June this year.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    SPTI inks Polish VOD deal

    Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI) has signed a VOD agreement with Poland’s ITI Neovision. It will allow the latter’s DTH platform n to offer a range of SPTI blockbuster movies on its new nVOD service, which made its debut in September 7. n is one of three DTH platforms in Poland and currently has in the region of 150-160,000 subscribers.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Cable ops outline their position to Commissioner Reding


    CEOs from cable operators in Europe have met in Brussels with Commissioner Reding to discuss the main regulatory topics at stake for the European cable industry. The meeting took place in Brussels on the evening of September 11, after which Cable Europe issued the following press release.
    Cable pleads for a regulatory regime that encourages competition between infrastructures. Cable is concerned that over-intrusive regulated access prices will not strike the appropriate balance between service and infrastructure based competition, and will discourage investments in cable and other alternative infrastructures.
    Although the EU telecoms regulation mostly affects incumbent telecom operators, cable operators are raising there voice in Brussels. They do so to ensure a level playing field and continued investments in competitive infrastructure
    Europe to promote investments in networks - Access and price regulation, as still advocated in certain member states, discourages investments in cable and other alternative infrastructure. Today’s private investments are shaping the European e-communications market of tomorrow. This means that Next Generation Networks need to be handled with care. Access obligations to Next Generation Access Networks should only be imposed when assets can not be replicated by other operators.
    Functional separation: cable not convinced - Cable is not convinced that there is strong evidence of the effectiveness of functional separation for telecom incumbent networks, and takes the view that it could be counterproductive. Cable is concerned that the use of this remedy could temper the development of new networks and competition between infrastructures.

    State subsidies: Commission to monitor national and local funding - Cable Europe is concerned by the increasing tendency of local and national authorities to provide state-subsidies to new infrastructures like Digital Terrestrial, WiFi and Fibre-to-the-Home, often in very competitive urban areas. Such subsidies distort markets, network upgrades, and carry the risk of delaying investments by commercial network operators.
    Cable goes for digital TV migration - Cable is investing heavily in the introduction of digital TV. The digital TV migration is probably the most important business fact for the cable industry. Cable is witnessing the first success of the migration to digital TV, though digital TV in Europe is still significantly lagging behind the US. More work is needed to allow Europe to take the lead in this evolution.
    Brussels could be a support in the digital TV migration by a discontinuation of the wholesale broadcast regulation and by putting a halt to subsidies which exclusively finance the DTT transition, be it DTT set-top boxes or DTT infrastructure
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Sportdigital.tv to start October 1

    This morning during a press conference in Hamburg, the new German sports channel sportdigital.tv said it will launch on the Entavio platform on Astra on October 1. The new channel will offer live matches of the German handball, basketball and volleyball leagues as reported earlier in Broadband TV News.
    Sportdigital.tv is owned by Sportfive, an European sports rights agency. “entavio is the right platform for sportdigital.tv to enlarge our Internet offer, launched at the beginning of the year, by starting a TV channel“,said Lars P. Reckwitz, responsible for sportdigital.tv at SPORTFIVE. “With this agreement, we are able to increase the media presence for our sports content and to benefit from our sports rights packages, of which we dispose through the partnerships with the three leagues and with our own rights portfolio. Furthermore, we an offer Internet customers attractive possibilities to switch to television or to combine both.“
    For Entavio, the the agreement is important as it is the first broadcaster after Premiere to start using the platform.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    UPC says hello Moto, Tandberg

    Triple play operator UPC Broadband has selected solutions from Motorola and Tandberg Television, to power its Video on Demand (VOD) services in The Netherlands. Already deployed in several locations across The Netherlands, the Motorola and Tandberg Television solutions power the delivery of on-demand content that is expected to reach over 500,000 UPC video subscribers this year.
    "Video on Demand is one of the corner stones of the UPC Digital TV platform," said Eric Lennon, Chief Technology Officer of UPC Broadband. He added hat it was essential to integrate this service into UPC’s overall digital architecture. "To our customers this should appear as a seamless addition to their normal digital service with highly quality and availability expected by them."
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Nagravision goes mobile with Alcatel-Lucent

    Value-added content protection solutions provider Nagravision has successfully integrated its Nagra Mobile conditional access system with the Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Interactive TV platform. The combination will allow operators to launch a complete secured and interactive mobile TV service with a short time to market.
    Alcatel-Lucent’s Mobile Interactive TV platform is a universal solution for the delivery of interactive mobile TV supporting the OSF and OMA BCAST approaches. It is spanning unicast and broadcast technologies, supports DVB-H and DVB-SH and is one of the building blocks of Alcatel-Lucent ‘Unlimited Mobile TV solution’.
    "Service protection is a priority for the secured delivery of interactive mobile TV to the mass market," noted Olivier Coste, Chairman of Alcatel-Lucent’s mobile broadcast activities.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Spain approves analogue switch-off timetable

    The Spanish cabinet has approved a digital migration plan to progressively carry out the analogue switch-off from next year to April 2010.
    The analogue switch-off in Spain will be progressively implemented in four phases. In 2008 the analogue switch-off will cover one per cent of the population (switching off in Soria and A Fonsagrada), reaching 12 per cent by mid 2009 and 32.4 per cent by the end of that year, completing the process in April 2010.
    The country has been divided into 73 technical areas with a total of 90 transition projects, in three different groups: areas with less than 500,000 inhabitants and high DTT coverage; regions with 500,000 to 700,000 inhabitants; and the third group more than 700,000 inhabitants.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    TeleDeporte leads niche channels


    Televisión Española's sports thematic channel TeleDeporte has the leading audience share of all of Spain's thematic channels according to measurement agency TN Sofres.
    The channel has drawn level with leaders News Corporation's Fox and Sony's AXN. In July and August 2007 the average audience of TeleDeporte was 0.4% and this month the channel has advanced to first place in the rankings. In August a total of 1.8 million viewers watched it every day and so far in September that number has increased to more than 2 million viewers.
    Since January, the channel has increased its viewers by 1 million.
    As happened with TVE's children's channel Clan TVE, TeleDeporte's strong growth has taken place in all of the distribution systems - cable, satellite pay-TV, but especially DTT. It is here where the channel has mostly increased its viewers base.
    TeleDeporte's leadership among sports thematic channels also increased in August since viewers clearly prefered this channel to its competitors Eurosport (0.15%), Real Madrid TV (0.07%) or Canal+ Fútbol (0.06%).
    TeleDeporte offers a wide range of sports such as football (Premiere League), tennis (Master Series and Roland Garros), cycling (Tour de France and Vuelta Ciclista a España) and basketball (ACB League and Euroleague), among others.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Belgian DTH tops 50,000


    Belgium is a small country but is one of Europe’s most cabled regions. Yet it has a DTH operation that’s just chalked up its 50,000th sub.
    TV Vlanderen, a DTH operator service in Flemish (northern half) Belgium says it now has 50,000 subs. The service launched just 15 months ago. “Nobody thought it could be done," says Kurt Pauwels, MD at the service. "Launching a DTH platform in a region with near complete cable coverage is quite a challenge."
    But the challenge seems to pay off better than anyone could have expected. The platform only targets the Dutch speaking Northern part of Belgium and offers a wide range of local and international pay channels starting at just EUR9.90 a month. The price, the quality of its signal, the wide variety of channels offered and the freedom it offers subscribers in choosing their own hardware are seen as the key reasons for the success of the offer.
    TV Vlaanderen says it will keep innovating by extending its offer even further, and later this year offer a new package of 10 or so quality channels. Subscribers are encouraged to help pick their favourite channels through an online poll, and early next year a full transponder will start operating a separate HD offer. Pauwels says they have a target of 100,000 subs over a three-year period. The service uses capacity on Astra (at 19.2 deg E).
    Salut Prieteni!


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    HDTV’s 'Road Map' outlined


    Ralf Schaefer, head of image processing at Fraunhofer HHI, has called for greater long-term vision on from Europe’s broadcasters, as well as the region’s R&D labs.
    “Europe needs the same long-term strategy as the Japanese,” he said. Schaefer demonstrated Franhofer’s work on its Ultra High Resolution Video Panorama, a breathtaking concept that is made up of 5 conventional 16:9 images knitted together into one mega-wide image. Currently using two specially adapted fixed cameras the system has been used to capture a recent Germany vs Poland soccer match and deliver the image to a 20m cinema screen. Under development, says Schaefer, is an omni directional camera.
    Schaefer was speaking at an IBC conference on television’s likely developments. “HDTV is just at the beginning of its journey,” says BBC’s Head of Research Huw Williams. “Its development is under constant change and evolution, and the current status is far from the end of its development.” His “HDTV is just the beginning” conference session panel delivered a clear outline of the next steps needed for further progress.
    A packed room heard Kohji Mitani, a senior engineer at NHK Japan’s Science & technical Research Labs, bring delegates up to date with work on Ultra HDTV, their 4,000 line project which brings 33m pixels to screens – not yet developed - of 100”-200” in size. He explained that further work is also needed on projection equipment, cameras, storage devices as well as screens.
    Meanwhile, many experimental transmissions had been successfully undertaken, including NHK’s important New Year’s Eve live four-hour transmission of the annual concert from NHK Hall in Tokyo to NHK’s Osaka studios, some 500km apart and at 640Mb/s transmission rate.
    Japan’s plan is to use the 21-22GHz band, and experimental broadcasts have been carried out this year. Mitani made a strong request, on behalf of NHK, for closer co-operation between Europe’s public broadcasters, as well as the EBU and other major broadcasting R&D units.
    NHK’s time line plan is prudent, with Phase 1 and basic R&D now in progress. Phase 2 starts in 2009 and is likely to take four to five years to include actual satellite transmissions as well as to promote public viewing of the “immersive” elements of the overall concept and talking to museums, medical facilities and other potential users.
    NHK’s “practical” Phase 3 is likely to start around 2012 – and with considerable interest in the London Olympics – and more aggressive transmission trials perhaps lasting a further 10 years while at the same time allowing camera, lens, and display development to “catch up”.
    Philips, meanwhile, is backing 3D as a viable concept for consumers, and technically exploiting much of the work being done on digital cinema in 3D. Marnix Vlot, from Philips’ Eindhoven R&D facility, pointed out that in 2004 there were just 43 cinemas in the US equipped for 3D, yet by next year it will be 1500, and by 2011 a likely 4300 – and some 11% of US screens). “TV needs something this fresh and different,” he said. “3D is no longer a fad. The cinema is moving rapidly towards 3D movie-making, with Dreamworks saying they are only going to produce movies in 3D in the future.”
    His comments were not supported by the EBU’s David Wood (head of new technology), who accepted the difference 3D made in the cinema but was far from convinced that viewers at home could cope for more than 20 minutes with a 3D transmission “without getting a headache!”
    Wood explained that the HDTV “Road Map” was now pretty clear. If “0G” was taken as Japan’s first attempt at HD with its Muse analogue system, and “1st Generation” was the initial HD transmissions in MPEG2, then we were now in the “2G” version with today’s widespread deployment of MPEG4-AVC high-def. Next immediate step, said Wood, was “3G” in the shape of 1080p/50 transmissions.
    At the same time the cinema had moved through Digital Cinema in 1K (DC1) and was now embracing 2K projection – DC2. “Undoubtedly we are working towards 4K exploitation and while this will take some time, especially for TV, we can look forward to further improvements in the meantime.” He specifically mentioned the further elimination of artifacts, sharpness, colour fidelity, resolution and picture frame rates as interim stages where noticeable improvements could be expected.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Sportdigital.tv launches on Entavio

    This Wednesday SES-Astra and Sportdigital.tv will announce details of the introduction of Sportdigital.tv on Entavio during a press conference in Hamburg. At present the channel is only available as a paid web TV service specialising in sports such as volleyball, basketball and handball. It is owned by Sportfive and has the rights to the Handball-Bundesliga (BBL) and Basketball-Bundesliga (BBL) live games.
    Full details of the new service are expected to be announced during the upcoming press meeting. At present viewers of the Internet TV streams can buy separate subscriptions per sport covered.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    MTG gears up for Ukraine

    Sweden’s Modern Times Group (MTG) has entered into a 50/50 joint venture with Strong Media Group (SMG) to launch a premium DTH platform in Ukraine. Known as Viasat Ukraine, it will be encrypted using NDS VideoGuard conditional access and offer a wide range of Ukrainian, Russian and localised international channels, along with a range of Viasat-branded services. SMG is wholly owned by Strong International, a provider of set-top boxes. Following the launch of the platform, Viasat’s DTH services will be available in a total of eight countries.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    KidsCo Launches Across Central, Eastern Europe



    KidsCo, the joint venture channel owned by Sparrowhawk Media, DIC Entertainment and Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Enterprises, has launched across Central and Eastern Europe in Romania, Hungary, Russia, Turkey and Poland after carriage deals were secured with cable operators in those territories.
    Broadcast deals have also been signed in the Ukraine, where KidsCo will launch next month, and in the Asia-Pacific region, where the channel will rollout by early 2008. It is anticipated that KidsCo will be available in up to 40 territories—including Europe and Latin America— within the next 18 months.
    KidsCo features animated and live-action television series and feature-length movies from DIC and Nelvana. DIC’s programming library features over 3,000 half-hours of animated series like Inspector Gadget, Strawberry Shortcake, Madeline, Dennis the Menace, Care Bears and more. With more than 3,000 half-hours of kids’ programming, Nelvana Enterprises’ catalogue features titles such as Babar, Franklin, The Adventures of Tintin and Rolie Polie Olie. KidsCo has also acquired programming from other major children’s content suppliers after signing deals with Entertainment Rights and TV-Loonland. KidsCo programming is being localized market-by-market and has been programmed by day-parts to create a strategic line-up targeting segmented audiences.
    “The level of enthusiasm by platforms for KidsCo has been fantastic,” said KidsCo managing director Paul Robinson. “We knew that this was going to be a sure-fire hit because of the level of expertise of the venture partners and the outstanding content they have available. We also knew we had an innovative business model with this collaboration and it seems our affiliates believe we’ve got it exactly right—which has enabled us to be this aggressive with the roll-out of KidsCo.”
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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