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Thread: News 15.10.2007

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    Default News 15.10.2007

    ESPNews To Launch HD Service

    Sports fans enjoying ESPN HD will soon be have access a high-definition version of ESPNews beginning in March 2008.
    ESPN has already signed carriage deals for ESPNNews HD with satellite provider DirecTV, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, according to network executives.
    It’s the third ESPN network to offer an HD feed, following the 14 million-subscriber ESPN HD and 9.4 million-subscriber ESPN2 HD.
    The ESPNews HD service will feature an innovative HD sideline graphic, which will wrap around the top left and bottom of the HD screen, according to network executives.
    The HD Sideline will offer the display of textual information, headshots, news, and scores, while still delivering a window to accommodate all video highlights in the HD format. It will also offer additional content not available on the standard definition ESPNews feed, which itself will get a new, redesigned bottom line graphic.
    Both the high definition and standard definition services will have increased capacity to display breaking news and news of the day.
    “Our HD viewers will have an unprecedented opportunity to view pristine 16x9 HD highlights accompanied by an abundance of real-time information from all areas of the sports world,” according to Rick Paiva, ESPN's vice president of creative services in a statement.
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    SES Creates Consolidated Engineering Division


    SES (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) today announced the creation of a new division to consolidate satellite, ground, procurement, engineering and operational services for the group. Martin Halliwell, previously Chief Technology Officer of SES ASTRA, has been appointed as President of this new entity to be called SES ENGINEERING, and will also become a member of the SES Executive Committee.
    Based at SES facilities in Luxembourg and in the U.S., SES ENGINEERING will be responsible for managing satellite and ground infrastructure related activities for the SES group, including satellite operations and fleet management, as well as satellite procurement and launch scheduling. The new division will be staffed by employees from SES’ operating companies and is expected to be fully operational as of 1 January 2008.
    SES ENGINEERING will also be responsible for implementing complete and seamless operations for SES ASTRA, SES NEW SKIES and SES AMERICOM, offering greater security, as well as laying the foundation for future development and service of their respective satellite fleets.
    “This reorganisation is part of SES’ commitment to achieve greater operational synergies, and to enable our operating companies to concentrate more completely on their market facing activities,” said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “We take great pride in our ability to deliver the highest levels of quality and reliability to our customers worldwide. While totally transparent to our customers, this new division will allow us to focus laser-like on sustaining and even improving our quality service, and it will also provide productivity improvements to create additional shareholder value.”
    “I am extremely proud to be heading up this new division, and look forward to working closely with my colleagues in the Executive Committee,” said Martin Halliwell. “I believe that SES has some of the finest engineers in the world, and it will be a pleasure and a privilege to lead such a strong team of dedicated professionals.”
    Salut Prieteni!


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    HD Ready


    Flat screens mean that HD is for all, but someone has to pay
    Of the buzz technologies of the moment, and we know that these are mobile TV, IPTV and HD, it is the high definition television format that is emerging as the leader. You can largely disconnect DTT from the list, along with any forecasts that predict how many homes will have digital terrestrial by 20 whatever, as its success is completely obvious in any country that has begun the switchover process. Somewhere there must be some studies from the 1960s predicting success for 625 lines in favour of 405 lines, though these probably sold badly in North America.
    The numbers assigned to flat screen TVs might be predictable, Strategy Analytics this week recording that in 2007 sales of LCD and plasma TVs will reach 73.7 million units, generating revenues of $104.9bn. It is not so much the numbers, though important, but the speed of adoption and according to Strategy Analytics 71% of those sold are now HD Ready. The market is expected to peak in 2009.
    It follows that with an HD Ready set, consumers will want to do something with their viewing, and improve the picture quality. We’ll overlook the surveys that say that many people already believe they are watching HD by owning an HD set. The troubling stat come from Germany, where six million HD Ready sets have been sold, but only 60,000 subscriptions have been taken out to Premiere’s HD services. It is hardly surprising, Premiere has but two HD channels, though the same receivers could be used to view HD content from ProSieben and Sat.1.
    There are two HD stories to follow at the moment. The first are the tests taking place across Europe, the CSA in France this week sanctioning more, in Sweden, Malta and of course the lack of anything concrete over DTT in the UK. But all the time pay-TV operators are upgrading their capability to allow the introduction of HD on their networks. Telenet looking to run services in Flanders next year, even as it rival Belgacom prepares to do the same.
    The key to it all is content, not just from the pay-TV channels, but now from basic cable channels; Discovery, History Channel, National Geographic and now MTV will all shortly have content available. This has brought pressures on carriage fees as the broadcasters, not unreasonably wanting to recoup some of their investment, are looking to force up the prices. The platforms have to pass it on, meaning the consumer pays more, but are the returns the potential to ever so slightly squeeze the brakes on HD take-up when the alternative is to position the pay platforms as the place for new technologies and a better viewing experience.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    New HD tests in France

    The French media authority CSA has approved new experimental HD broadcasts on DTT in the cities of Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux and Rennes. During October TF1, Arte and M6 will transmit programmes in HD on an experimental basis. This week the CSA interviewed the four broadcasters that have submitted applications for the launch of an HD service on the terrestrial transmitter network.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Gearing up for 2008

    While it may be too early to start making predictions for next year, 2008 already promises to be something of a humdinger for Poland’s cable industry.
    This week’s announcement from UPC that it will roll out a digital cable service in the country in Q2 is particularly significant, given the extent to which the Liberty Global-backed company has fallen behind its rivals in several markets in the last two to three years.
    Poland is a good case in point, with its three main rivals – Multimedia Polska, Vectra and the Aster Group – all having already launched digital services. Multimedia Polska has also in recent weeks steamed ahead by introducing HD and VOD, and the others will in due course follow.
    Given this state of affairs, not to mention the competition Poland’s cable industry already faces from a DTH sector serving almost 3 million households, UPC will have to hit the ground running with its new digital cable service. Its launch will nevertheless provide the marketplace with a much-needed boost and lead to even more innovation in the near future.
    Elsewhere in the region, UPC is making steady progress with its digital cable service in the Czech Republic and could have up to 100,000 subscribers by the end of the year. It also has a limited number of digital subscribers in Romania and Slovenia – largely the legacy of acquisitions – while its digital cable operation in Slovakia is in its infancy. In Hungary, on the other hand, digital services have yet to make their debut on UPC’s networks.
    More details of UPC’s plans for Poland, and the region as a whole, may well emerge at next week’s PIKE conference and exhibition in Zakopane. What we can almost certainly expect next year, however, is a big push by the company to make up lost ground.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    New German channel to launch

    Jan Henne De Dijn has used the Frankfurt Book Fair to announce the launch of the first literary and book channel in the world: called Lettra the thematic TV channel will launch on a number of pay-TV platforms including Premiere Star. The founder of the Hamburg Media School claimed he has enough funding to keep the channel going for three years.
    Lettra expects to offer five hours of fresh programming every day with about half of it originating from its own team of 20 editors.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Vuze opens platform Online entertainment platform Vuze, which claims an established audience of 10 million viewers, has opened its publishing platform to anyone who creates high-quality digital content, including global television networks, premier and mid-size production studios, and maverick content creators. With the aim of enabling high-quality content to be distributed easily and monetised instantly, the Vuze Open Entertainment Platform seeks to serve the Vuze installed base by providing more compelling, high-quality content for free. With Vuze, publishers have a set of options for how they can monetise their content online. Publishers can offer their video, audio, and gaming content to viewers for free, for free with ad support, or at the price they choose. Gilles BianRosa, CEO of Azureus, the company behind Vuze, said the platform offered content providers and advertisers an immersive way to reach the 18-34 male demographic that has left traditional networks and cable channels in favour of new forms of entertainment. According to an April 2007 online video survey published by Bear Stearns, approximately 67 per cent of men (18-34) prefer to watch free, ad supported online video rather than paying to view the same content. "The Bear Stearns report underscores the relevance of Vuze and the huge market opportunity at hand," BianRosa added.
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    Belgacom and Nokia Siemens IPTV contract extension

    Belgacom and Nokia Siemens Networks have extended their contract for the delivery and integration of an IPTV solution for another three years. Nokia Siemens Networks is also supporting Belgacom’s plan to add high-definition television to its existing portfolio of interactive TV services via IP-based broadband lines. Belgacom’s total customer base for its Belgacom TV reached 190,000 subscribers by the end of June 2007.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    NEC ‘deep fibre’ solutions for HDTV VOD

    NEC Corporation has launched two new additions to its AM3100 Series MSAN (Multi -Service Access Node) product range - the AM3110 and AM3160. NEC says The AM3100 series represents a generational shift in access technology with a total access platform family that meets all copper, fibre and wireless applications needs.
    The AM3110 and AM3160 allow deep fibre deployment with lower incremental cost. One common platform for next generation services delivers lower OPEX through common spares, inventory and maintenance practices. Small form factor and card flexibility mean better matches for CAPEX to service growth, says the company.According to Richard Hanscott, Vice President, Network Solutions of NEC Europe, the design and implementation of Next Generation Network (NGN) technology is one of the most pressing issues facing telecommunications businesses today. "As we enter the third wave of broadband development, flexibility is the key. Continued cost pressure on operators and higher subscriber bandwidths drive deeper fibre penetration. In order to survive, operators will need to reinvent themselves and their revenue structures in order to address industry challenges and meet the increasing demands of their customers."
    "The scalability of the AM3100 series means greater throughput capacities for High Definition IPTV support and lower total cost of ownership - with extended platform life as densities and capacities evolve. This allows incremental migration to NextGen access services such as 10G-based PON services", said Hanscott.
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    Croatia DTT incentives

    The Croatian Government has decided to accelerate the process for the introduction of digital terrestrial TV, by providing incentives for the acquisition of STBs.
    Special coupons worth HRK 200 (E27) will be distributed to regular TV licence payers in the coastal region of Istria, which will enable them acquire digital boxes at a discount. All of the coupons should be distributed by November 20 and their owners will have until 30 June 2008 to use them. Istria has been selected as the first test area as it suffers the most interference in the reception of analogue signals, especially from broadcasters in neighbouring Italy.
    The local population will be able to receive digital TV channels from two multiplexes. The existing one, on UHF channel 28, will in the future be used exclusively by private broadcasters (Nova TV, RTL Televizija, plus two more channels to be licensed). A second multiplex, recently activated on UHF channel 53, will carry the channels of state broadcaster Hrvatska Televizija. Viewers can currently receive the HRT 1 and HRT 2 channels, to be jointed by HRT 3 (sports and entertainment) and HRT 4 (news) from 1 January 2008.
    Croatia is aiming to completely switchover to digital TV by 2010, two years earlier than the EU deadline
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    Premiere establishes On Demand subsidiary

    The German pay-TV operator Premiere has established the Premiere On Demand GmbH subsidiary to market and sell all on demand programming, including the current PPV service Premiere Direkt. Last Wednesday, the German media monopoly commission KEK gave the green light for the new venture. At present the Premiere Direkt offers up to 20 different Hollywood movies as Near Video on Demand (NVOD), with each title available at 30 or 60 minute intervals. The cost per title for consumers is €3.
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    Measat announces entry into south Asia video distribution market MEASAT Satellite Systems Sdn. Bhd. ("MEASAT") announced today that Pacific Century Matrix (“PCM”), a leading provider of satellite-based television broadcast solutions, has signed agreements to use the MEASAT-3 satellite for the distribution of Filmazia and Filmax. The two television channels represent the first South Asian channels to be hosted on MEASAT-3.“ The expansive coverage offered by MEASAT-3 has opened up new markets for our customers across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe,” said Terry Bleakley, MEASAT’s Vice President – Sales & Marketing. “We are delighted to serve increasingly culturally-diverse channels on the MEASAT video neighbourhood at 91.5°E.” “South Asian broadcasters have selected the MEASAT-3 satellite for distribution because of its excellent coverage and exponentially growing presence in the region’s cable neighbourhood. Our Pakistani bouquet customers, comprising premier channels such as FILMAX, FILMAZIA, INDUS VISION and MTV PAKISTAN, have all migrated their channels to our full transponder MCPC broadcast platform on MEASAT-3,” said Johnny Ng, PCM’s Director of Broadcast Sales, responsible for the South Asian market. Muhammad Abid, Filmazia’s CEO said, “In line with the strategic expansion of our broadcast services for Filmazia and Filmax, we are very pleased to have signed this important agreement with PCM to use the MEASAT-3 Platform. MEASAT has taken the initiative to seed antennas in Pakistan which positions them as the satellite of choice in the country. MEASAT-3’s vast coverage and globally strong footprint will benefit Pakistani broadcasters who want to extend their reach from Australia to South Africa.”
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    ESPN to launch Moto X World Championships

    ESPN is to launch a new action sports championship event from the ESPN X Games team—the Moto X World Championships.
    The annual event will feature the best Moto X riders in the world competing for the title of Moto X World Champion in a variety of disciplines including Freestyle, SuperMoto, Best Trick, Step Up and Moto X Racing.
    The inaugural Moto X World Championships is scheduled to take place April 12-13, 2008, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.
    “Given the tremendous success and excitement of Moto X at the X Games, we are very excited to present our first event dedicated exclusively to Moto X,” said Ron Semiao, senior vice president, ESPN Content Development. “The Moto X World Championships will determine the top Moto X freestylers and racers in the world, allowing riders to showcase their talents and the awesome progression of their sport on one of the biggest stages ever.“
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    BBC renews Six Nations agreemen

    The BBC has renewed its deal to broadcast rugby union‘s Six Nations championships up to and including 2013.
    The early renewal came with two more tournaments still to run (2008 and 2009) and is reportedly worth £160 million over the four-year term.
    “We're used to television audiences edging down because of the sheer volume of competition from the rest of the media,’” said Roger Mosey, director of BBC Sport. “But the Six Nations has bucked the trend. We've set new records in both of the two most recent years, and there's been a picture of growth since the whole of the tournament came back to the BBC.”
    Mosey said that a total of just under 30m saw some of the 2007 tournament, and the peak audience - 8m for Ireland v England - is still higher than any figure achieved up to the quarter-final stage of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
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    More integrated digital TVs sold

    With Spanish DTT penetration increasing so are sales of integrated digital TV (idTV) sets according to Impulsa TDT, the public association for the implementation of DTT.
    From 331,246 DTT receivers sold in August 2007 a total of 151,953 were integrated TV sets (45.87%), 128,403 external digital decoders (38.76%) and the remaining 50,890 were distributed between DVD players with digital receiver included and internal or external TV cards for TV reception in PCs.
    TV sets with DTT receiver integrated and the external DTT decoders have followed different paths in their progression over the last few months. While sales of idTV sets have grown, DTT external decoder sales seem to be at a standstill. IdTV sales in August were the second highest since the previous December (128,528 in December 2006 and 146,992 in January this year). Digital TV sets already represent 40% of the DTT boxes sold this year and 67% of the sales of integrated receivers. And for the first time the number of integrated digital TV sets is superior (52% of total TV sets sold) to the sales of analogue TVs sold. In the case of flat TV sets, two-thirds incorporate a DTT receiver inside.
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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