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News in Brief - november 2011


ITUNES and iPads are seriously putting a kink in Hollywood’s plans for digital distribution dominance. They launched UltraViolet, a cloud-based system supposed to make it easier for consumers to access their films on all of their devices. However, the implementation of UltraViolet is so unsatisfactory that Warner Bros. has decided to give customers the ability to download their latest offering, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, from the iTunes store for free.

A RECENT study conductedby the NPD group and NARM found that streaming music services like Spotify and Rdio were discouraging users from purchasing music. STHoldings, a distribution company, immediately contacted the 238 labels it had on record and asked them if they wanted to keep their music on the streaming services. All but four wanted to remove their content from streaming services. STHoldings them pulled all of that music from Spotify, Napster, Simfy and Rdio.

THE CONSUMER Electronics Association expects global sales to pass the $1 trillion mark in 2012, up from a forecast $961 billion this year, based on predictions from research company GfK. The consumer electronics industry will grow by about 5%. However, Western Europe is expected to grow by only 1%, compared with 7% in 2011. Most people wanted DVD players in 2002, MP3 players in 2005 and laptops in 2008. This year, tablet computers were most requested (14%), ahead of laptops (11%).

DELL has joined the One-Blue product licensing program as a licensor. The computer maker brings important patents essential to the Blu-ray Disc standard and joins current licensors Cyberlink, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, JVC Kenwood, Panasonic, Philips and Sony.

ASDA, the UK’s second largest supermaket chain, owned by Wal-Mart, says it will be selling blu-ray players for a meager £40 in its stores during the run-up to Christmas.

AFTER serving more than 120 years as the dominant projection format in movie theaters, the reign of celluloid 35mm will come to an end in two months when the majority of cinema screens go digital, according to IHS Screen. In the United States, there will be no more mainstream 35mm usage from the end of 2013. For Western Europe, this event may happen at the end of 2014. The rest of the world will then be under some pressure to follow suit. 35mm will see its last mainstream usage by the end of 2015.

LG ELECTRONICS has joined the One-Blue product licensing programme as a licensor. LGE is a major contributor to the Blu-ray Disc standard and joins current licensors Cyberlink, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, JVC Kenwood, Panasonic, Philips and Sony.

VINPOWER Digital, a leading manufacturer of standalone optical disc duplication equipment, has announced its expansion into Europe, Middle East and Africa with an office in Wiesbaden, Germany. The company has established a sales and support office in Europe ‘to meet the needs and demands of the expanding international market.’

LOGITECH’s Revue settop box for Google TV was a ‘big mistake’, according to Guerrino De Luca, chairman and acting chief executive of Logitech. During an analysts and investors meeting in New York, he said the company has pulled the plug on Google TV settop boxes, saying consumers just aren’t ready for the device which merges television and the internet. Logitech decided to pull out after losing well over $100 million in operating profit. Last year, the settop went on sale in the US with a $300 price tag, the price later dropped to $99 due to disappointing sales.

ELEVEN employees from cinemas across the UK have been presented with awards totaling £7,000 for their efforts in preventing illegal recordings taking place. At a specially-convened ceremony at Paramount Pictures, London, each received a cheque for several hundred pounds for their part in thwarting attempts to record films at their cinema. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT‚) and the Film Distributors‚ Association (FDA‚) operate a training, prevention and reward scheme for all UK cinemas.

LEADING adult video publisher Digital Playground will released its first 3D Blu-ray title, Jailhouse Heat 3D, with an all-star cast including Jenna Haze and Jayden Jaymes. The video was shot in native 3D. The full-length 3D BD disc includes special bonus trailers, behind the scenes featurette, ‘Behind the Music’ featurette and Chapter index with No Regional Coding. It will hit the street on 22 November retailing for $24.99.

SAMSUNG has pulled out of its 3D joint-venture with glasses technology company RealD. Citing economic pressures and low demand, Samsung says it will no longer participate in its licensing of RealD’s ‘passive’ (vs its own ‘active shutter’) 3D technology on large-screen TV sets. Passive glasses use polarising lenses and are cheaper to manufacture. Rival active shutter glasses, backed by Samsung, Sony and Panasonic, are more costly but deliver full frame 1080p images to each eye. Samsung has already linked with Sony and Panasonic in a standardisation agreement with RealD’s direct competitor XPAND called M-3DI.

KIT DIGITAL, a software solutions and technology services provider for multi-screen, multi-platform video management and delivery, has reported record Q3 result of $62.3 million, a 29% increase over the previous quarter’s $48.2 million. It is a 124% increase over the same quarter a year ago ($27.7 million). The company estimates approximately 71% of the revenues in Q3 were related to video platform fees, and approximately 29% were derived from fees related to broadcast systems integration, solutions and interface design, content transformation and other professional services.

JUST over a year ago, AudioDev unveiled the CATS B210 BD Pro 2x, a reference tester for the Blu-ray Disc format. The machine combines the flexibility of the CATS system platform with an increased measurement speed, without sacrificing measurement accuracy. To date, close to 40 CATS B210 BD Pro 2x have been sold and installed at customers around the world. The tester is based around the Husky reference drive platform co-developed between Toptica Photonics in Germany and AudioDev and is, since April of 2011, fully manufactured and developed by AudioDev in Sweden.