July 1, 2008
Both CommunicAsia and Broadcast Asia gather exhibits from all over the world to showcase cutting age market-specific technologies. It appears, however, for the past two years many exhibitors present similar products and technologies. This is a representation of the industry. With the exception of a few companies (some of which were not even present at the show) in the past with breakthrough products like Apple with the iPhone, Microsoft with the Microsoft Tabletop Computer Surface and maybe even blu-ray players/burners … there haven’t been many ‘wow’ products. The good news, however, is that existing products continue to improve and prices drop to more humane levels. Amen to that. Held under the collective brand of Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) 2008 from 17-20 June 2008, Broadcast Asia was held alongside imbX’s other exhibitions including CommunicAsia, EnterpriseIT and the iX conference. For the casual observer, there were less and less people in Broadcast Asia. The companies that were previously exhibiting at BCA are now turning to CommunicAsia. Broadcasters are aware that they have to deal with a shift in the consumption of TV from their audience however they seem slow to take any serious actions. More and more players are entering software encoding with a view to the video game. Thanks to the Web and IPTV, any website can now be media and therefore can have its own TV channel. The conferences were interesting and the discussion about sustaining communities was quite instructive. Over four days, 67,573 people came to CommunicAsia and Broadcast Asia. Of the total number of attendees, 52 percent came from outside of Singapore, hailing from around 100 countries and regions across Asia-Pacific, Europe, US and the Middle-East. Visitors witnessed cutting-edge technologies and business solutions designed to enhance enterprises’ mobility and users’ lifestyles at the event, which was spread over eight halls, totaling 72,000 square metres of floor space. More than 2,300 exhibiting companies from 61 countries and regions demonstrated products and solutions throughout the value chain of convergent technologies. Singapore’s representation at this year’s Broadcast Asia 2008 exhibition was seven times larger than the one last year, occupying 1,200 square metres, according to the Media Development Authority (MDA). The Singapore pavilion housed 50 exhibiting Singapore companies, up from 41 last year. “We delivered a robust and relevant event this year with the strong support and representation from our exhibitors – both market leaders and emerging enterprises. Exhibitors in the WiMAX, IPTV and mobile entertainment segments have responded strongly to the ever-increasing role of technology in our lives. These clusters have grown substantially and attracted good crowds at the show,” said Stephen Tan, chief executive of imbX organizer Singapore Exhibition Services. Among the exhibitors, Sony showcased its latest innovative technology and solutions in the ever-expanding HD platform. Sony’s exhibits replicated actual scenarios with demonstrations of solutions for efficient workflow and seamless migration for broadcast production. “Visitors to the Sony booth experienced HD solutions that leverage Sony’s latest products and technology, ranging from acquisition to editing, distribution and display. In addition to the showcase of new products and system developments our team will provide visitors with more tools, techniques and insights that enable them to deliver the best possible HD experience to their viewers.” said Kozo Fujita, director of broadcast and content creation solutions for the Asia Pacific, Business and Professional Products Asia Pacific Company, a division of Sony. SeaChange International – an Emmy award winning provider of software applications, services and integrated solutions for video-on-demand (VOD), digital advertising, and content acquisition monetization and management demonstrated SeaChange Adpulse technology that allows addressable advertising – the ability to target TV ads by household demographics. “With this technology, a 50-year-old man watching a TV programme would see a different ad than a 14-year-old girl watching the same show next door,” said Lincoln Owens, director of broadband sales, Asia Pacific for SeaChange International. DVS demonstrated its expanded Clipster system with an update that supports uncompressed 4K RGB 12-bit video. With the updates, an editor can mix clips at varying resolutions, including 4K, on the same timeline. “The system now handles both primary and secondary color correction, pan and scan, rotation, cropping and transitions in real time, and supports color-management tools from Kodak and Arri. DVS also offers DVS-SAN, a DI central storage system, and the Pronto2K digital disk recorder,” said Eric Augereau, sales director, Asia Pacific, DVS Digital Video Systems AG. Over at the Autodesk booth, visitors were updated on the Autodesk Smoke 2009 and Autodesk Flame 2009 software. Autodesk experts were on hand to demonstrate 2009 releases featuring improvements to 3D tracking in Flame, new creative batch nodes in Smoke and Flame, expanded format support, including direct ingest of Panasonic P2 media files and Batch FX, a new procedural timeline compositing workflow in Smoke. Panasonic’s much anticipated 64GB P2 solid-state memory card for its popular line of P2 HD and P2 solid-state camcorders and decks will arrive in the fall. Panasonic will again have doubled the storage capacity of its P2 card from the current 32GB capacity. A 64GB P2 card is capable of storing over four hours of DVCPRO footage (64 GB X 4 minutes per GB), or more than two hour of DVCPRO50, AVC-Intra 50 (64 GB X 2 minutes per GB) or 64 minutes of AVC-Intra 100 or DVCPRO HD. With five 64GB P2 cards installed, an AJ-HPX3000 P2 HD camcorder can record for 320 minutes in AVC-Intra 100 or DVCPRO HD and 640 minutes in AVC-Intra 50 or DVCPRO 50. Red Digital Cinema attracted crowds with demos of coming cameras: the 5K Epic and Scarlet, aimed at the lower range of production but promising substantial 3K resolution – it uses a smaller 2/3-inch chip that can run from 1-120 FPS. The most notable exhibit on site had to be NHK, the Japanese broadcaster’s Ultra High-Definition TV system theatre or Super Hi-Vision (SHV). At screen resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 and a 22.2-channel sound system, the presentation was explosive, to say the least. To think that just last year, HD at 1920 x 1080 was the in thing. Broadcasters might baulk at the high price tag. They will need US$2.2 million for the cameras and US$2.2 million for the projectors that cast such a large image. In a keynote address on SHV technology, NHK director-general Kenkichi Tanioka estimated it would take at least 10 years to “establish the technical foundations of SHV broadcasting to homes and a couple of years more for the standardization”. But he predicted that applications of SHV other than broadcasting, such as public viewing or in theatres would happen ‘much earlier’. For example, in Japan, one of the national museums has already introduced a SHV system and is showing visitors a collection of ultra-fine still pictures. SHV made its debut in Asia outside Japan at Broadcast Asia 2008. Its next stop is IBC Amsterdam in September this year.