TapeOnline.com Expands Presence
TapeOnline.com, a provider of blank recording media and accessories, has expanded from Nashville into Atlanta and Dallas. The company currently has a presence in Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas.
According to Stancy Clements, national sales director, the two new sales offices and warehouse are saving their customers time and money: “Our new locations in Dallas and Atlanta coupled with our headquarters in Nashville and sales office in Houston, are already providing increased savings in shipping costs and a shorter product delivery time for our customers.”
Dielectric Acquires Kline Towers
SPX Corporation’s Dielectric business has acquired the assets of Kline Towers, a division of Kline Iron & Steel. Based in Columbia, SC, Kline Towers had annual revenues in 2003 of more than $10 million. It is known primarily for the engineering, design, assembly, fabrication, and installation of towers for the global broadcast markets.
“Kline Towers’ quality reputation in the broadcast market will not only expand Dielectric’s market presence, but will also provide customers with a more complete systems package,” said John Capasso, president of Dielectric. “Dielectric and Kline Towers have worked together on several large projects over the years and we are delighted to have them join the team.”
Integrated Digital TV Market To Reach 116 Million Shipments In 2015
Although the sales of integrated digital televisions (iDTVs) have been slow to ramp up, shipments are expected to accelerate strongly from 2005, reaching 116 million units in 2015, according to Digital Terrestrial Television—A Long Term View (2004-2015), a new study from IMS Research.
According to Ian Weightman, senior analyst for IMS, “the iDTV market, which comprises TV sets with a built-in digital tuner, has made a slow start. So far, iDTVs have been seen as a premium product in Europe, with low-cost set-top boxes being preferred for digital terrestrial reception, and most digital TVs sold in the U.S do not include the tuner.”
However, all this is set to change, according to Weightman: “The FCC’s tuner mandate in the U.S., coupled with falling prices for digital tuner ICs, development of digital satellite and digital cable iDTVs, and DTV awareness campaigns being planned in a number of countries, will help to drive the market forward. The free-to-air digital terrestrial model is proving successful in countries such as the U.K., Finland, and Germany, and this is likely to be replicated in many other countries. As the prices of iDTVs fall toward those of the traditional analog TVs, consumers will increasingly choose an iDTV when they purchase a new television, rather than an analog TV plus a set-top box.”
The IMS Research report shows that only around 1.5 million iDTVs were sold in 2003, with the majority of these being for satellite reception in Japan and digital terrestrial reception in the U.K., Finland, the U.S., and Spain. Growth is forecast to accelerate from 17.4 million units in 2007 to reach 116 million in 2015, by which time the majority of TVs will include a digital tuner.
Samsung, CTAM Hope To Make HDTV A Reality
The Marketer’s Council of the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) and Samsung Electronics have partnered to educate consumers on and promote the benefits of HDTV to consumers.
As part of the partnership, Samsung and eight cable companies represented by CTAM, including Adelphia, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications, and Time Warner Cable, have launched a three-tiered approach to educating consumers on HDTV. First, they will target consumers with a series of sports-oriented television commercials, showing how the experience of viewing sporting events on television can be enhanced through HDTV. Second, they have launched an interactive online guide to digital television in general, available for free at samsungusa.com/dtvguide/. Third, they have placed banner ads promoting HDTV “above the fold” on many prominent websites, including BusinessWeek.com and NYTimes.com.
“This is the first time that the cable industry has teamed up with a consumer electronics company to drive the HD message to consumers,” said Seth Morrison, senior vice president, marketing for CTAM. “We’re excited to work with Samsung to educate consumers and raise awareness of the digital transition, while offering people the chance to experience true HD content on high-quality Samsung HDTV sets.
BroadView, OmniBus Team With PBS
BroadView Software and OmniBus Systems have completed work on a project to integrate the capabilities of their broadcast software products for PBS member stations, as part of a larger mutual support agreement.
The integrated BroadView and OmniBus solution allows station personnel to complete their scheduling and traffic tasks in BroadView and then export air schedules directly to OmniBus’ automation software for playout. The OmniBus software automatically recognizes new schedules from BroadView without operator intervention. This feature reduces both workload and the probability of errors caused by last-minute changes.
BroadView and OmniBus have already completed several months of work to implement an integrated solution for PBS member stations across the country. A pilot system is currently running at PBS’ headquarters in Alexandria, VA.
“The newly developed interface allows any PBS member station to take advantage of this integration without concern about the traditional delays and challenges of interfacing traffic and automation systems,” said Mike Oldham, CEO, OmniBus Systems. “The same benefits apply to commercial television broadcasters.”
“The integration of these two industry-leading vendors’ products is a major step toward simplifying operations and improving efficiency for television broadcasters,” said Michael Atkin, president of BroadView Software.
CBS Adopts Sony HDCAM SR Tape Format
For the 2004-2005 television season, CBS will accept high definition content on the Sony HDCAM SR format as well as HD-D5. CBS is the first of the major commercial broadcast networks to adopt the Sony HDCAM SR tape format for both acquisition and delivery of high definition content. The initial HDCAM SR machines will be installed at the CBS production center in Television City in Hollywood for HD program preparation.
“The Sony HDCAM SR format has a number of clear advantages, including its 593-Mbps data rate, 12 channels of digital audio, and its ability to handle pre-read and three lines of metadata data per field,” said Robert Seidel, CBS vice president of engineering and advanced technology. “The metadata capability is crucial to providing such services as captioning for the hearing impaired, V-chip data, audio metadata, and the broadcast flag for protecting digital broadcast content from unauthorized Internet redistribution.”
“We are pleased that CBS has chosen Sony’s HDCAM SR for acquisition and delivery of high definition programs,” said John Scarcella, president of Sony Electronics’ Broadcast and Production Systems Division. “CBS’s selection of the HDCAM SR format is a clear indication of Sony’s leadership position in the development of high definition equipment for both the broadcast and production markets.”
Thomson Nets Major Deals
Thomson has scored several major contracts in the last few weeks, including work with FOX and McGraw-Hill Broadcasting.
Thomson will deploy the FOX Splicer System to each of the FOX-affiliated stations so that they can pass HD programming on to viewers. This project systemization leverages the splicing technologies of the BP 5100 Broadcast Platform from Terayon Communication Systems, which was customized with FOX and Thomson to allow stations to splice between FOX’s delivered 720p feed and their own local 720p ATSC encoder. The system will also include a logo installer capable of branding at the station and network levels over the output transmission stream without requiring the decoding of the 720p MPEG stream back to baseband (HD-SDI). In addition to switching and logo insertion, the Splicer System will ensure integrity of program information.
Thomson will begin the rollout of the Splicer Systems in the first half of 2004.
Thomson has also received a multi-million-dollar commitment from McGraw-Hill Broadcasting to upgrade the news departments of its four ABC-affiliated television stations with Grass Valley Digital News Production (DNP) equipment. The move is part of McGraw-Hill’s effort to streamline news program production via a virtually tapeless and shared digital environment. The DNP systems will allow McGraw-Hill to standardize its news departments on the same platforms.
WRTV, in Indianapolis, IN, will be the first McGraw-Hill station to receive a full complement of Grass Valley DNP gear, including 10 NewsEdit nonlinear editing systems, three PVS 1100 Profile XP Media Platform video servers, a FeedClip interactive feed-capture system, a NewsBrowse Web-based browser/editor, and a complete gigabit Ethernet-based Network Attached Storage (NAS) system.
WFAA Unlocks Weather With Access 8.2
WFAA, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, has announced the launch of Access 8.2, an automated, constant flow of news, weather and information 24 hours a day on a special digital channel created by the television station. Viewers will still be able to access WFAA-DT on 8.1, in addition to the new information channel. WFAA plans to add financial, entertainment, and other news elements to Access 8.2.
Access 8.2 uses a small part of the 6-Mhz spectrum and provides up-to-date local weather information, a continuing display of Doppler Net radar, as well as headlines, sports scores, and other info.
“This is a terrific service and we are pleased to be the first local station to offer [it to] our viewers with access to our DTV signal via set-top boxes or HDTV sets,” said Kathy Clements, president and general manager of WFAA.
WFAA creative director Jim Glass was the manager on the project, which took several weeks to complete and involved a variety of departments and personnel at the station.
WGBH Preserves History
Much of the history of the 20th century has been captured on the films and tapes that are maintained at the WGBH Media Library and Archives collection in Boston—the largest collection of any public television station in the country. The WGBH Media Library and Archives is home to almost half a million items of rare footage of interviews with world leaders, award-winning documentaries and dramatic programs, and musical performances and public affairs programming.
“The broadcast history of the United States, to a great extent, is reflected in this collection. It is a legacy of the 20th century,” said Mary Ide, director of the WGBH Media Library and Archives. “The editorial content we create is the dowry we carry into the future.”
One of the biggest challenges the broadcaster faces in maintaining such a large collection of footage is preservation. Ide describes the audio and video tape stored in the Archives as, “a fragile medium that perishes with age.”
“While film is more durable than audio or videotape, it too can begin to deteriorate over time because it is, in part, composed of organic material,” she said. “Too much or too little humidity can reduce the projected lifespan of the film.”
For example, Anatomy of Revolution, an 11-part series produced in 1961 analyzing 20th-century national revolutions, is significantly damaged due to film shrinkage brought on by being exposed to extended periods of low relative humidity.
Last summer, WGBH called back from off-site storage 20,000 reels of its film collection that had not been examined for more than 15 years. In reviewing the film, the Archives team discovered many important programs, including Middle East: U.S. Disaster, a 1958 interview with Harvard professor Dr. Henry Kissinger about the Middle East and Islamic nationalism; American Issues, debates held from 1958-1959 by Tufts faculty members concerning major economic, social and political issues in American history; and The Wrath of Achilles, a 1958 analysis of Homer’s Illiad by renowned literary critic and Harvard professor I.A. Richards. Approximately 20% of the film brought back to WGBH, however, had to be discarded due to mold growth, brittleness, or serious “vinegar syndrome,” which occurs when there is a chemical deterioration of the organic materials in the film.
Although the process of transferring the deteriorating content of film onto video formats before the film disintegrates is crucial to keeping the content available for future use, it can be very expensive. Transferring one hour of film onto video for preservation purposes costs $1,500—if there are no problems such as mold or vinegar syndrome. WGBH has received grants to transfer to new formats programs such as the Say Brother series and The Ten O’Clock News, however these are small success stories relative to the hundreds of thousands of historically important master programs and original footage tapes in WGBH’s collection.
“The pressing problem is that time is not on our side,” said Ide. “WGBH’s video archive is dying as we speak and we simply do not have the money in hand to migrate old video to newer formats so that the material can continue to be used for research and re-use purposes.”