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News in Brief

OFFICERS from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police’s Peace Preservation Division raided an apartment building used for the sale of uncensored adult video DVDs and Blu-ray discs, reports the Sankei Shimbun. Approximately 60,000 discs were seized, 21 of which were 3D Blu-ray discs, in what is described as a nationwide first. Sales through three websites totaled about ¥240 million (€2.4 million) since the operation started in 2009. By law, adult films available in Japan are required to have genitalia censored (pixelised).

PARAMOUNT has opened the first Ultraviolet-based film rental and download service. The studio said it is offering some 60 titles initially, though there seem rather fewer on the website. Films are priced at $20 for an HD copy and $13 for an SD version. Rent SD titles for $3 or view in HD for $4. Payment is by credit card or PayPal, and seemingly the latter method makes the US-centric service open to UK customers.

VIZIO introduced three CinemaWide 21:9 ultra-widescreen Full HD TV sets able to screen CinemaScope 2.35:1 movies from Blu-ray Discs and DVDs without the letterbox black bars. The sets include Vizio’s passive 3D glasses Theater 3D technology. The widescreen sets also use the company’s V.I.A. functionality to present apps and Internet content side-by- side with a full-size, FullHD 16:9 programming image.

FAILED holographic storage start-up InPhase is selling off its patents. Founded in 2000 as a Colorado-based spin-out from Bell Labs, inPhase tried to develop a holographic drive that could store data on 300GB disks. It announced such a drive for 2006 with plans to deliver a 1.6TB system by 2009. The company ploughed through $95m before hard times and development problems resulted in it entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy last October.

SHARP and Fujitsu, contributors to the development of the Blu-ray Disc, have joined the One-Blue product licensing programme as a licensor.

BEDFORDSHIRE (UK) Police has closed down a cannabis factory that had been set up in the loft of a bungalow. Officers discovered around 80 fully grown plants together with an instruction DVD on how to grow the drug.

GLOBAL consumer electronics market is predicted to reach $1.4 trillion by 2015, driven by digitalization, miniaturization, mobility, and portability, according to a new report by Global Industry Analysts.

THE FIJI Audio Visual Industry Association is calling for a levy of $5 per blank DVD or CD in the next budget to tackle piracy in the country. FAVIA President Chris Caine said while they are grateful to government that the levy has been introduced after their request in 2006, an increase in levy needs to be made to work for the industry. Caine said the $1 levy now imposed on blank DVDs is not enough as it does little to affect the illegal price of $2, compared to $10-$20 paid legally on products that retail for $50 and above.

PIONEER, a major contributor to the development of the Blu-ray Disc standard, YAMAHA, a world-leading manufacturer of musical instruments and audio & visual products, and Taiyo Yuden, a leading producer of recordable media and information technology, have joined the One-Blue product licensing programme as a licensor. They join current licensors Cyberlink, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, JVC Kenwood, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Philips and Sony.

CINRAM announced a strategic partnership between its Digital Media subsidiary, 1K Studios and Mobovivo, a leading provider of Social TV technology to producers, distributors, networks, and film studios. Mobovivo apps enable producers and broadcasters to market and monetize premium quality video across multiple platforms and on all screens.

A DUTCH court has ordered two major ISPs in the Netherlands to block their customers from accessing The Pirate Bay website or face large fines. The Dutch ISPs Ziggo and XS4ALL had resisted demands by a copyright holders’ organisation to block their subscribers’ access to the site, arguing they should not have to act as censors. But the Hague District Court said in its written ruling they must do so within 10 working days or face fines of €10,000 per day.

LG ELECTRONICS unveiled a 84-inch 3D Ultra Definition TV made up of 8 million pixels (3840x2160) – four times the resolution clarity of existing Full HD TV panels. In addition, 3D Depth Control enables users to customise their 3D viewing experience by controlling the 3D effects. Sharp may beat it by an inch with its 85-inch television, but LG’s TV is also 3D-ready.

"IT IS a profit driver, so supporting the DVD/Blu-ray business is of great importance." Universal Studios President and COO Ron Meyer commented during celebrations of the studio’s centenary. The milestone, according to The Hollywood Reporter, will be marked by a new logo and the restoration of 13 of its iconic films. The restorations took three to six months each and cost $250,000 to $600,000 per title, Universal SVP, Technical Operations Michael Daruty told THR and others at a sneak preview of the results.

SONY DADC was assigned by Sony Classical to make the 2012 edition of one of the world’s most watched classical music performances – the New Year’s Concert performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Vienna Musikverein - available as CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital download. Right after the concert on 1 January the discs for the crucial German speaking market have been authored, mastered and manufactured by Sony DADC at its Salzburg facilities. The digital edition has already been delivered to online retailers all over the globe through Sony’s digital distribution infrastructure.

NBC SPORTS Group and Panasonic are teaming up to make the London 2012 Olympic Games available in 3D to all US distributors who carry Olympic coverage. It will be the first time 3DTV owners will be able to watch the games in the format. The companies did not announce which pay-TV providers intend to carry the Olympic coverage in 3D, but presumably Comcast — which owns NBC Universal — will be in the mix, along with DirecTV, which has aimed to be the leading provider of 3DTV in the U.S.

TESTRONIC, the global leader in QA and localisation services, has been selected by the Wireless Power Consortium as the Qi (pronounced “chee”) interoperability testing centre. The interoperability testing center keeps a library of all Qi-certified products and performs functional interoperability tests with these products on behalf of the WPC.