Europe's online source of news, data & analysis for professionals involved in packaged media and new delivery technologies

News in Brief - april 2013


SOME 2013 Samsung Blu-ray players are featuring the Opera Devices Software Development Kit (SDK). Such players not only allow viewers to watch Blu-ray Discs and DVDs, but also enjoy various streaming video services with ease. The SDK offers superior online video support for YouTube, BBC iPlayer and more. The Opera toolkit helps build Smart TV solutions. With web-standards support, such as HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, SVG, 2D Canvas and WebGL, the Opera Devices SDK gives connected devices a boost with better web-content rendering and streaming performance.

CHINESE authorities have shut down two movie pirating websites in a clampdown on both online and offline piracy. YYeTs.com suddenly closed down on 25 April. The other site, Siluhd.com (Silu HD) was forcibly taken down and CEO Zhou Mou and eight other employees reportedly arrested. Silu HD is said to be China's biggest piracy site of HD movies, and claims to have 140 million registered users. YYeTs was less subtle and operated a blatant movie download site. The service hasn't gone down without a fight, and its semi-deactivated homepage currently directs users towards other URLs where they can download pirated content.

TWENTY-ONE Japanese broadcasters, consumer electronics maker and telcos have created a high profile development partnership to help Japan to move into television?s next generation transmission format, Ultra-HDTV. The groupg includes public broadcaster NHK, actively backing its Super Hi-Vision/8K format, as well as commercial broadcaster SkyPerfect JSAT, which has already promised to start 4K transmissions in mid-2014. Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Fujitsu, NEC, KDDI and others are part of the grouping, backed by Japan?s Internal Affairs Ministry which has earmarked a ¥3.1 billion (€24m) budget.

PRODUCTION of OLED screens is proving to be a real headache, says Paul Gray, director of TV research at consultancy DisplaySearch. He says that factories are only getting one good panel out of every 10 panels at 55-inches. "Production problems are making it very, very tough," he said. "There was a lot of hype about OLED last year and it will improve over time, but it will be painfully slow." Gray claimed that in comparison to OLED, LCD was a fast moving target.

SATELLITE operator SES has linked with Harmonic and chip-set manufacturer Broadcom to create what it describes as the first Ultra-HDTV transmissions using the High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC) from Astra?s 19.2 degrees European hot spot. SES says using the HEVC compression improves transmission capacity by some 50 per cent. The signal was broadcast in DVB-S2 using a data rate of 20 Mbit/s. The live demonstration for the first time broadcasts a full 3840?2160 pixel Ultra HD picture in HEVC, while previous demonstrations were either broadcast in H.264 or using 4 HD pictures in parallel.

ONE-BLUE, LLC announced that Alco Electronics Limited has joined the One-Blue Blu-ray Disc (BD) product licensing programme as a licensee. Alco signed the Registration Agreement for BD Player and/or BD Recorder Manufacturer that grants the company access to important patents essential to the Blu-ray Disc standard from leading licensors, including CyberLink, Dell, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, JVC Kenwood, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Taiyo Yuden and Yamaha.

JAPANESE public broadcaster NHK is to hold a public screening of content in the Super Hi-Vision (8K) format during the Cannes Film Festival. The highlight will be the comedy short Beauties à La Carte. In development by NHK since 1995, the 8K format features 7,680 by 4,320 pixels - four times the resolution of 4K and 16 times that of the current HD format. NHK has been exploring 8K production across a number of genres, most recently working with the Brazilian commercial broadcaster TV Globo to shoot the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

HILCO confirmed it has bought the high-street chain HMV from administrator Deloitte for a reported £50 million. 141 of the 239 stores are saved. It said it plans to reverse the emphasis on technology to concentrate on entertainment. "Our industry has worked hard to support HMV, given it was by far the largest single video retailer and the only national specialist in 2012," says Lavinia Carey, Director General at the British Video Association. "Data shows that 24 million British shoppers bought a video disc in 2012 and 17.4% of those were sold in HMV, accounting for 20% of the total expenditure on discs."

CLOUD-based UltraViolet content access system is set to be deployed in Australia within weeks, with several studios planning to distribute local content as early as 1 May. Warner Bros. has told Gizmodo that it will be offering UltraViolet support for the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Local support for Flixster will also form part of the local UltraViolet launch. In the USA, UltraViolet accounts have surged from 9 million to 11 million since the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Approximately 9,000 titles are available to UV consumers.

SONY Creative Software just released an update to its DoStudio Authoring software that integrates more efficiently with the second screen BD Touch iOS App. The app allows users to download and save specific video and audio and Web site URL content that is downloaded from a Blu-ray Disc in a BD player to the handheld device. Both are being showcased at the NAB Show next week. The content lives separately from the movie itself, and the BD Touch app allows users to access independent files like audio, videos, images and URL links for use on second screen devices.

AFTER withdrawing from the market in the last few years, stationery retailer WH Smith has started selling chart CDs and DVDs again. According to the Telegraph, the retailer is understood to have restored CDs and DVDs to some WH Smith stores after the closure of 107 HMV stores to be considering their reintroduction on a store-by-store basis. The retailer declined to comment on the move. However, one source said that the company was prepared to "go where the profits are."