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

News in Brief

JAPAN's Asahi Shimbun newspaper has reported that the national public broadcaster NHK will start transmitting 4K signals in July 2014 ? some two years ahead of its anticipated start. Initial transmissions will be from satellite, quickly followed by digital terrestrial broadcasting. The transmissions will coincide with the Brazil 2014 football World Cup games, according to Asahi. This does not mean that NHK is abandoning plans for 8K transmission. The newspaper re-states that NHK's 8K Ultra-HDTV transmissions will kick off in 2016.

SKYFALL - the highest-grossing Bond movie - is to be made available for digital purchase from 5 February, with Blu-ray and DVD to follow on a week later. MGM, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox confirmed that the movie would release in digital HD first across all digital stores, including Amazon, CinemaNow, iTunes, PlayStation, VUDU and Xbox Live. Blu-ray and DVD will follow on 12 February in North America and 18 February in the UK with additional international markets to follow through March.

BLOCKBUSTER LLC is closing 300 stores, or about 35% of its locations in the United States, in the coming weeks due to expiring leases and underperformance, a Dish Network representative confirmed 21 January to Home Media Magazine. Dish, which acquired Blockbuster out of bankruptcy in April 2011, operated about 850 stores domestically at the end of the third quarter. It announced the closure of 500 stores in February 2012, leaving the company with about 1,000 locations at the time. Blockbuster UK went into administration on 16 January.

SONY Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment said they will use Dolby Digital Plus to encode movies and TV shows in the UltraViolet Common File Format (CFF).

SONY Computer Entertainment reportedly has said that it had ceased production of its PlayStation 2 game console and would gradually cease to sell the system globally. Late last year the company discontinued sales of the PS2 in Japan, it now looks like the console will become unavailable on other markets as well. The PlayStation 2 was launched on 4 March 2000, and helped to drive DVD standard onto the mass market as well. Over 153 million PS2 consoles have been sold worldwide to date.

ACCORDING to Nielsen's new US Consumer Usage Report 2012, nearly 120 million people within television homes own four or more TV sets - 75% of which are HD capable and just 4% of which are Internet-connected. Nearly 50% of those homes own a DVR, whilst 33% has satellite TV access.

COMMENTING on the leading high street chain HMV entering administration, Lavinia Carey, Director General at the British Video Association, said: "HMV is the last specialist video retailer and BVA data shows that it has held its share of around 16% of volume sales over the last 10 years, while total market sales rose in the same period from 169 million units to 179 million units. Meanwhile, internet sales have gone from 8.5% to 30% in 2012, but in terms of consumer spending on discs, the internet has taken a larger share of the value, with 19% to HMV and 36% online. The BVA sincerely hopes that while in administration the value of this important retailer can be realised so that a re-structure will enable the best performing stores to continue trading and maintain consumer choice and access on the high street."

SO-CALLED smart TVs have been able to connect to the Internet-based services such as Spotify or Netflix movie streaming. Yet, only 18% of consumers access online content daily from their web-enabled TV sets, according to a 2012 global survey by researcher NPD DisplaySearch.

ATTENDEES wearing 3D glasses watch the world's first 3D video wall during a presentation at the LG booth at the 2013 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention.

3DTVs account for 5% of the market worldwide and that this will rise to a third in four years. £8 billion of the global £340bn spend on filmed entertainment (at the box office, on packaged media and TV subscriptions) in 2012 was directly related to 3D, according to IHS Screen Digest analyst Tom Morrod. "3D is already integrated across all sectors primarily in box office, pay TV and Blu-ray. The simple fact is that we are in a very, very early stage of 3D, the future for 3D is positive," said Morrod.

GERMAN video post-production solutions provider Silicon Philosophies has acquired the Cinema Craft trademark, website, and all encompassing CCE products and distribution rights from Custom Technology Corp. in Japan as of 17 December 2012. Silicon Philosophies will be responsible for Cinema Craft's future product development, enhancement, sales and support, throughout all territories (outside Japan).

ULTRA-HDTV displays will be bought by around 10 million homes worldwide by 2016, representing a much faster and wider acceptance of the technology, says a new report from Strategy Analytics. By 2020, more than 130 million households worldwide will have bought into Ultra-HD, says the study. Annual sales will exceed 1 million units during 2015, and by 2020, global annual sales for these high-resolution sets will exceed 50 million.