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Business highlights from broadcast and production

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David Youlton steps down from Snell & Wilcox chairmanship

Professor David Youlton has announced that he is to step down from the chairmanship of Snell & Wilcox, the company he has headed for the past 13 years. This move completes the senior management handover initiated in January 2000, when the Board appointed John Spencer to the post of CEO. Youlton will remain chairman of the Snell & Wilcox Advisory Board.

Explaining his decision to Snell & Wilcox staff, Youlton said that having invested massively over the last 12 years in research and development, the emphasis now needs to change.

"Being entirely privately held, investing only our own revenue into growth, has given us the creative freedom to develop a pre-eminent portfolio of technology and intellectual property and an outstanding global brand," he said. "Now, however, the company needs access to greater funding sources in order to take fuller advantage of the many commercial opportunities made available to us because of our technological leadership. That's why we are currently organizing suitable external investment prior to an eventual IPO. It seems to me that this imminent change of status and culture, from private to public, represents an appropriate juncture for me to bow out of the day-to-day operations of the company."

Industry events cancelled due to events of September 11


Sep 11, 2001 - Due to the tragic events that took place the morning of September 11, 2001, in New York City and Washington, DC, several broadcast-industry events have been cancelled or rescheduled.

RTNDA: Nashville - Due to the national emergency, the Board of Directors of the Radio-Television News Directors Association has canceled the 2001 RTNDA International Conference & Exhibition scheduled to begin September 12, 2001, in Nashville. The RTNDA board resolution reads as follows:

"Whereas a national emergency has been caused by multiple acts of violence involving public and private entities, and
Whereas the members of RTNDA feel a deep obligation to serve the public in this time of national crisis, and
Whereas the shutdown of the nation's air traffic system renders it impossible for thousands of potential attendees to reach the convention site, and
Whereas the exhibitors at the meeting have informed the board they are unable to conduct business under these circumstances because of the crisis,
Therefore, the Board of Directors of the Radio-Television News Directors Association hereby cancels the 2001 RTNDA International Conference & Exhibition."

As many as 4,000 attendees had been expected at the Nashville convention.

The Radio-Television News Directors Association is the world's largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTNDA represents local and network news executives in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries.

SBE 22 Regional Convention and SBE National Meeting: Verona, NY - SBE President Andy Butler and President-Elect Troy Pennington announced that the SBE National Meetings scheduled for this week in Verona, NY, have been cancelled. This decision was made out of respect for the loss of life as a result of the attacks on New York City and Washington DC.

The SBE National Meeting has not yet been rescheduled.

A message was sent from the SBE Chapter 22 Convention office stating that the convention has been postponed until November 28.

XM Satellite Service Launch: Washington, DC, San Diego and Dallas - Due to today's national tragedy, XM Satellite Radio has postponed the launch of its commercial service in San Diego and Dallas scheduled for September 12, as well as events in those cities and Washington, DC, related to the service launch. The thoughts and prayers of all XM employees go out to those affected by these horrible events.

111th AES Convention: New York City - Official Statement of the Audio Engineering Society:

In view of the tragic events that took place yesterday there has been a lot of speculation as to whether the AES 111th Convention would proceed next week, as planned. There were several factors to be taken into consideration and a necessity to have discussions with other parties. For this reason we did not make a hasty statement.

We have just returned from the Javits Center where we had a meeting with its top management. We learned that the New York City Mayor's Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have taken over large portions of the Javits Center for use in coordinating emergency services. We also learned that FEMA will have complete control of these spaces and any others that they need, for an undetermined period. This obviously makes holding the event as planned impossible. However, we were able to reschedule the convention, rather than just cancel it. Most of the people who contacted us hoped that this would be the solution.

The new dates will be Friday, November 30 to Monday, December 3, 2001, with the same exhibit, demo and conference space as {were originally scheduled].

We at the Audio Engineering Society would like to thank those of you who took the time and trouble to inquire about the safety of the staff here in the New York Office and to wish us well and give us your support. This was much appreciated.

Lastly at this sad time, we would like to spare a thought for those who have had their lives so much more severely disrupted than any of us. We were, and are, very sensitive to their feelings. Let us hope that we can look forward to better times ahead.

NAB/ALTV/MSTV file comments on DTV must-carry issue

The National Association of Broadcasters, joined by Maximum Service Television and Association of Local Television Stations, have filed further comments on the issue of DTV must-carry with the FCC. The submission provides data on cable system capacity that refutes the cable industry’s argument that carriage of broadcasters’ DTV signals would be burdensome. It also provides documentation of the cable industry’s reluctance to degotiate DTV carriage, disputing the indsutry’s call for a reliance on “marketplace solutions.” For full-text of the submission visit www.nab.org/Newsroom/Issues/digitaltv/mustcarrycomments8-17-01.pdf.

Avid to host conference in October

Avid Technology will host a conference in New York, NY October 7-10, 2001. At the conference participants will be able to participate in special events such as The Avid World Conference Sessions, the Pro Tools Conference, the Digital Production Summit, Pre-Conference Workshops and much more. The first ever Avid World East Conference is created to hone technical skills of the participants while enhancing their creative potential. For more information on the conference visit www.avidworldeast.com.

Huge Systems opens in Marina del Rey

Huge Systems, a new manufacturer of RAID 3 Sotrage Solutions for SDTV and HDTV applications, has opened in Marina del Rey, Calif. and recently exhibited their HugeMediaVault family of products at SIGGRAPH 2001. The company was founded last year by Michael H. Anderson and Tina Bow. Huge Systems was founded to build the next generation of storage solutions for the digital media marketplace. The company is committed to providing reliable, secure products that are simple to operate and cost effective to purchase. HugeMediaVault, the company’s first product line, meets all these objectives.

Videotek digital Prodigy switcher installed

New York’s Fordham University has recently completed building an all-digital television production studio located on the ground floor of the Walsh Library. At the core of the studio, which is part of Fordham’s Electronic Information Center is Videotek’s Digital Prodigy switcher. The system design, planning and physical construction of the studio by Video Corporation of America along with Videotek’s equipment has paved the way for the University’s advancement into today’s hottest technological trends.

Telestream teams with IBM to offer wireless streaming

Telestream has teamed with IBM to provide integrated media transcoding solutions. Among the arrangements is the availability of Telestream’s FlipFactory OnDemand streaming media application as a plug-in to the IBM WebSphere transcoding publisher V4.0. In addition, Telestream’s FlipFactory is now certified as an IBM ServerProven business solution and Telestream has authorization as an IBM reseller for bundled solutions.

WHDT selects Panasonic D-5 HD

WHDT-TV, West Palm Beach, FL, has become the nation’s first HDTV-only station. WHDT had selected the use of D-5 HD VTRs from Panasonic Broadcast. The station has purchased six AJ-HD2700 1080i/720p switchable VTRs and has three AJ-HD3700H D-5 HD multi-format mastering VTRs on order. The station will initiate over-the-air HD broadcasting and will be carried by the Adelphia and Time Warner cable systems (digital and analog), with a combined potential reach of six million viewers throughout South Florida.

Surround 2001 Conference and Showcase

The third annual Surround 2001 Conference and Showcase has announced its return to the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., from December 7-8, 2001. Surround 2001 is designed to provide industry professionals in music recording, film, television, game development, theatrical events and home theater with hands-on, how-to experience with multichannel audio production technology. Its conference program features tutorials on the latest production techniques. For more information about the conference or to register, visit www.surroundpro.com or call 800-294-7605, ext. 507.

Industry forecast is optimistic

Media merchant bank Veronis Suhler has released the 15th annual edition of its Communications Industry Forecast (CIF), projecting a marked spending slowdown in most industry segments this year. However, the firm takes a more optimistic near-term perspective, predicting overall industry growth at an annual rate of 5.6 percent from 2001-2005, outpacing the 5 percent growth rate of the Gross Domestic Product and reaching $738 billion in total spending by 2005. For more information on the Veronis Suhler CIF, please visit www.veronissuhler.com.

Audio Precision launches online resource center

Audio Precision has launched an online solutions resource center. The Solutions Resource Center will provide easy access to Audio Precision’s audio test information and resources to help engineers throughout tall phases of audio testing for a variety of applications. The Solutions Resource Center offers measurement solutions for numerous applications; diagrams showing the major components of test systems; itemized lists of what is needed to assemble the right tests for particular applications for everything from Dolby AC3 and DVD testing, to transducer testing, to broadcast transmission testing; and, links to further information, such as in-depth technical notes. To use the resource center go to http://audiotest.com/solutions/.

Panasonic announces HD seminar series

Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems has announced a series of free HD seminars for cinematographers and videographers interested in the latest digital production techniques. Seminar locations include Washington, D.C. on August 23; New York, NY on August 30; Detroit, MI on September 6; and Chicago, IL on September 10. Anyone can register online for the HD production seminars at www.panasonic.com/hdproduction or call 1-800-528-8601, extension 100.

SGI reaches sales milestones

SGI has recently achieved several sales milestones in past few months. Since the launch of the NUMAflex modular computing approach just one year ago, the company has shipped close to 30,000 processors of SGI Origin 3000 series servers and SGI Onyx 3000 series visualization systems. In addition they also have sold more than 500 SGI Reality Center immersive visualization facility.

SDTV usage survey

SCRI International has released the results of a DTV Migration Survey of production and post facilities. The survey shows that usage of standard definition digital video is starting to take off. One in three production and post facilities are reporting having an all SD digital production facility. By the year 2003 the statistic should increase to two thirds of all facilities and by 2005 almost three out of four facilities should have an all SD digital production facility. To view the survey go to www.scri.com/sc_reprt.html.

The battle over wireless control

Technology research firm Summit Strategies has released a report that analyzes the factors driving growth in wireless data applications in North America and the resulting opportunity for vendors. In the report, titled, "Can U.S. wireless firms ride business applications to global leadership?," Summit Strategies practice director Warren Wilson argues that U.S. vendors and service providers stand to win the strategic high ground-first in their home markets, then internationally.

A follow-up report, scheduled for publication in September 2001, will examine the cross-industry ecosystems required to create compelling next-generation wireless applications and to most effectively bring them to market.

For more information about the report email Katie Lybrook with Summit Strategies.

Peachy worm alert

TV stations often use PDF files as print versions of on-air graphics for client approval. However, due to the arrival on August 8th of the new “Peachy” worm, some may be encouraged to take extra precautions.

Vigilinx, a security firm, is alerting customers of a new worm that is being sent throughout the Internet concealed as an Adobe portable document file (PDF). The “PeachyPDF” worm transmits itself through the user’s Outlook address book. Unlike some other viruses, the Peachy worm sends itself not only to the first 100 addresses in the user’s address book, but also the user’s alternative addresses.

The worm first appears in one’s email as a document that invites the user to find the peach within a one minute countdown. As soon as the user clicks on the icon “show the solution,” the worm propagates.

The worm has one significant limitation. It becomes activated only if the user is running a full version of Adobe Acrobat. Just using the Adobe Acrobat reader, which most users have, will not activate the worm.

Protection patches are available from Symantec, McAfee and Central Command.

Video Design Software acquire Chyron product line

Video Design Software (VDS) has acquired the assets and operations of the Liberty Software product line from Chyron Corporation. The two companies have entered into a new strategic relationship whereby all sales, marketing, technical development and customer service/support of the Liberty Paint and Animation design software will be transferred to VDS. This was effective August 1, 2001.

Omneon partners with Building4Media

Omneon Video Networks and Building4Media B.V. are partnering to provide solutions based on Omneon’s Networked Content Server and Building4Media’s FORK content delivery software. The FORK software product will be used as the basis for the Streaming Production Center to be launched by Action TV B.V. in Hilversum in the Netherlands.

Jurassic Park III available in D-Cinema

Sunset Digital has performed the digital mastering for Jurassic Park III for digital cinema theatrical release. The film is currently showing in d-cinema format at twelve theaters in the United States and Canada. Sunset produced the images in their newly commissioned D-Cinemastage studio. The studio consists of a 10’x25’ theater screen, a Christie DLP chip projector, a Cintel C-Reality film scanner, a da Vinci 2K color corrector and a THX certified sound system, Sunset’s D-cCinemastage is essentially a large telecine bay that allows for the mastering of true digital cinema projects as they are processed.

Crimson Media selects Storage Computer

Crimson Media has selected Crimson Media to develop their multi-phased project. Storage Computer will develope and install a media asset management, delivery and digital rights system. The initial implementations of the multi-phased contract exceeds $1.35 million, with the total potential purchase valued more than $2 million.
The installation will include Storage COmputer's Cyber Media Server adn CyberFibre products that provide storage, storage hosting and high-speed delivery of media content into a storage-wide-area-network environment.

Grass Valley Group forms alliance

NBC has made a three-year strategic technology agreement estimated up to $25 million to deploy Grass Valley Group solutions in support of the Network’s company-wide central casting, news production, media asset management, and high-definition playback.

Thomson makes purchase

Thomson Multimedia has made an agreement with Royal Philips Electronics for the purchase by Thomson of Philips’ Content Creation activity for professional broadcast markets, as part of Philips Digital Networks’ MP4Net Group.

ABC makes Panasonic purchases

ABC Television has purchased a Panasonic DVCPRO HD production system comprised of an AJ-HDC27A and an AJ-HD150 studio VTR. The Panasonic AJ-HDC27A camcorder and AJHD150 recorder will be primarily used to capture and edit high-profile programming.

WTBS selects Thomcast transmitters

WTBS, Turner Broadcasting System selected Thomcast’s DCX Millennium, transmitter system for its digital conversion. In addition to TBS’s purchases, the DCX Millennium was the transmitter of choice for two PBS member stations, WEDN in Norwich, Connecticut and WHRO, the public telecommunications center for Hampton Roads, Va.

WBOC-TV selects Panasonic

The nation’s smallest market station on the air with a digital channel, WBOC-TV, Salisbury, Md., has purchased Panasonic’s AJ-HDC20A DVCPROHD camcorder and AJ-HD150 DVCPRO HD studio VTR.

New Centrury Installs Calrec

New Century Productions in Pennsylvania has installed a Calrec Audio 60 channel Q2 analog console in their new 53-foot expanding trailer NCP V. The desk is a 120 fader (24 stereo) desk with eight crossfade channels, a four channel compressor/limiter and noise gate and a 60x32 matrix.

WHDT-TV makes purchases

WHDT-TV has purchased six AJ-HD2700 1080i/720p switchable VTRs and has three AJ-HD3700H D-5 HD multi-format mastering VTRs from Panasonic. The station will initiate over-the-air HD broadcasting in late July, and will be carried by the Adelphia and Time Warner cable system, with a combined potential reach of six million viewers throughout South Florida.

Quantel moves North American headquarters

Quantel has moved its North American headquarters to New Canaan, Conn. The company’s new address is 199 Elm Street, New Canaan, Connecticut 06840. The new telephone number is (203) 972-3199 and fax number is (203) 972-3189.

Grass Valley Group switchers used

New York Times Company will standardize on Grass Valley Group digital switchers, deploying Kalypso Video Production Center and Zodiak systems across its broadcast properties. The New York Times will deploy the Kalypso and Zodiak systems across its entire station group, which includes WHNT-TV, Huntsville, Ala.; KFSM-TV, Fort Smith, Ark.; WHO-TV, Des Moines, Iowa; WQAD-TV, Moline, Ill.; KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City, Okla.; WNEP-TV, Scranton, Pa.; WREG-TV, Memphis, Tenn.; and WTKR-TV, Norfolk, Va.

LSI makes alliance

LSI Logic Storage Systems has made a strategic alliance with Doyle Technology Consultants. Doyle will integrate LSI’s MetaStor storage systems with platforms and video applications from a wide range of vendors to deliver a Storage Area Network solution engineered for major media, broadcasters, cable and satellite operators, and production and post-production houses.

WRAL-TV selects Wheatstone

WRAL-TV, Raleigh, N.C., has chosen a Wheatstone TV-80 series audio console to produce the audio for its HD newscasts. WRAL-TV was the first station in the U.S. to broadcast a HDTV signal in 1996, and is the world’s first news operation to present HD local news on a continuous basis.

Solid State Logic consoles used

Two Solid State Logic consoles were recently added to the National Mobile Television fleet of trucks. The 48-fader SSL Axiom-MT Digital Broadcast Console will be installed in a new all-digital truck that will be used for FOX Sports NFL broadcasts in Dolby Digital surround sound.

Encoda and Grass Valley Group used

Encoda Systems will provide a complete automation package including DAL Playlist Manager automation software and two Grass Valley Group XP Series servers to KUSI, San Diego. The equipment will be used in combination with the station’s existing JDS traffic system, also from Encoda.

WHDT-TV selects Ktech Communications

WHDT-TV of West Palm Beach, Fla. has selected 1KW transmitters from Ktech Telecommunications. The DTV transmitters will include the digitally implemented 8VSB Modulator with automatic linear and non-linear pre-correction capability.

Bexel makes purchases from Thomson

Bexel Corporation has purchased 10 LDK 23HS MKII super slow motion cameras from THOMSON multimedia Broadcast & Network Solutions. The cameras will be available from Bexel’s headquarters in Burbank and their rental locations in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, Washington DC and Orange County, California.

Florical awarded contract

FloriCal has been awarded the contract by NBC to automate all of the NBC owned and operated TV stations in the U.S.

DTV timetable survey

SCRI International conducted a DTV Migration Survey of Broadcast and Production/Post Facilities. The results showed that the FCC's DTV timetable is in jeopardy of being met. Almost two out of three U.S. TV stations do not expect the FCC timetable to be met by all stations, while only one in four expect the FCC timetable to be met. To read the entire story, please go to www.scri.com/press99_scri72701.html

Keslow purchases Sony recorders

Keslow Television has become the first rental house to purchase Sony’s MAV-555 digital disk recorders for its rental clientele. The equipment will be used by clientele who specialize in live events, news and sports programming.

Tektronix's NetSeminar available

Tektronix’s “Critical Measurements in standard and high definition SDI environments” NetSeminar is now available in archive form. The original NetSeminar aired on Tuesday, July 31, 2001 and lasted one hour. The NetSeminar is intended for technicians and engineers in broadcasting, post production and video equipment design environments. In the seminar participants learn what the critical measurements for SD and HD signals are, how to make those measurements and about a tool that will enable them to do so. To view the NetSeminar go to www.netseminar.com/index.cgi/archive2.htm.

PEOPLE

Videotek has promoted Polo Recuay to vice president of engineering. Recuay’s primary responsibilities will include directing new product development in engineering as well as supporting the existing product line. In addition to Recuay, Videtek appointed Jochen Kuhnen as the International Sales Manager.

Encoda Systems has appointed Greg M. Jacobsen as chief executive officer. His most recent position was as President and CEO of XOR, Inc., an Internet integration firm.

Jerry Gepner has been appointed president of National Mobile Television. As president Gepner will be responsible for all aspects of sales and technology. His prior position was as executive vice president, operations & engineering, FOX Sports Networks.

Communications Engineering, Inc. has appointed Bill Beckner as integration manager and Joe Strobel as project manager.

Scopus has appointed Steven Bonica as president. He will have full responsibility of Scopus marketing and sales activities in North America.

Don Bird has accepted the position of vice president of sales and marketing for both U.S. and international operations at Avica Technology.

Noah Meiri has filled the position of president at Orad Hi-Tec Systems. Meiri was previously the managing director at Orad.

A 20-year software development veteran Stephen Chalkley has been appointed the engineering development manager at ANT Limited.