[opendtv] 20040719 Mark's Monday Memo

  • From: Mark Schubin <tvmark@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Multiple Addresses Suppressed <tvmark@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 21:47:10 -0400

- Follow-ups:

     - Australian DTT STB receiver prices - The prices include the 10% 
Federal sales tax.

     - Licensing AVC - MPEG LA announced the availability of its 
H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 patent-portfolio license on the 15th:

     - Cable and HDTV -
          - Firewire - A correspondent tried to get a set-top box with 
Firewire connection from his local cable operator and was told they 
weren't available in his area.  One day after he contacted his state 
regulatory authority, they became available.
          - Number of HDTV cable subscribers - INHD, alone, reports 
reaching over a million.  They, therefore, have committed to providing 
no less than 100 hours of new programming per month:

     - Satellites and HDTV -
          - DTT programming - DirecTV is providing some HD programming 
from WCBS-DT in New York and KCBS-DT in Los Angeles to subscribers in 
markets where CBS owns and operates stations.  Another arrangement to 
carry Fox HD programming to subscribers in markets where Fox owns 
stations is expected:
          - A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators John Ensign 
of Nevada and John McCain of Arizona, the "Satellite Home Viewer 
Extension and Rural Consumer Access to Digital Television Act of 2004" 
(an act only if passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the 
President or veto-overridden) would allow such programming to be 
delivered by satellite wherever local DTT signals can't be received 
(which could be in cities of license).  The Consumer Electronics 
Association (CEA) approves of the bill:
          - Cablevision Systems won the bidding (with minimum bids) for 
two orbital slots that could improve reception of Voom on the west coast:
     FYI, despite reductions in standard-definition news coverage of them:
both Voom's High Definition News (HDN) and HDNet plan HD coverage of the 
political conventions (a paid subscription is required for the full 
article, but take my word for it):

     - July 1 - I've been out of town and away from newspapers since 
Wednesday (except Sunday's Denver Post), and my Minneapolis-area 
correspondent is also away, so the pickings are meager this week.  See 
also the ads section for inexpensive non-integrated sets.
     Of what I've reported here and in the ads section below, I am aware 
of ads for 39 TVs 36-inch or larger, of which seven had integrated 
DTT-reception circuitry (there were also two sub-36-inch integrated sets 
but many more advertised):
       - TV sets that would require DTT-reception circuitry starting 2004:
         - Sony 36-inch TV @ Unitek $749
       - TV sets that would require DTT-reception circuitry starting 2005:
         - Apex AT2708S 27-inch TV @ SoundTrack $168.95
         - Toshiba 27A34 27-inch TV @ Best Buy $229.99
         - Daewoo DTQ27U4SC 27-inch flat-screen TV @ Best Buy $249.99
       - Devices that would require DTT-reception circuitry in 2007:
         - Advent Q1435A 14-inch flat-screen TV @ Best Buy $99.99
         - Samsung DVDV4600A DVD/VCR combo @ SoundTrack $119.95
         - Sensory Science SC104 DVD/VCR combo @ SoundTrack $98.95
         - Coby DVD-R1000 DVD+R/RW recorder @ J&R $199.99
         - Sensory Science DVD recorder @ SoundTrack $248.95
       - Devices not covered by the mandate but using analog TV broadcasts:
         - Sony DNF400PSGR AM/FM/CD/TV/weather portable @ Best Buy $79.99
         - Sony DNS707F AM/FM/CD/TV/weather portable @ SoundTrack $99.95

     - May 1 - None of the lists I check weekly were updated this week.

- The June/July issue of the National Association of Broadcasters' (NAB) 
"Destination Digital TV" is now available online:

- The U.S. House of Representatives' Commerce Committee is to hold a 
hearing Wednesday on the completed transition from analog TV to DTT in 

- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) informal working group 4 
(broadcasting and amateur issues) of the advisory committee for the 2007 
World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC 07) will meet the morning of 
August 10 at Shaw Pittman, LLP:

- Despite noting that it would result in a loss of analog-TV service, 
the FCC allowed WRNN in Kingston, NY to transmit DTT only because, 
"according to Nielsen Media Research, there was no reportable 
over-the-air viewing for the station for the month of April 2004":

- A correspondent reports from a recent trip that WSTM-DT in Syracuse, 
New York is carrying its own NBC signal on one sub-channel and WSTQ's 
UPN on another.  In Watertown, New York, WWNY-DT had its own CBS signal 
on one sub-channel and WNYF's Fox on another.  For some time, WNYW-DT in 
New York City has been carrying its own Fox programming on one 
sub-channel and WWOR's UPN on another.  So the question is: What happens 
when both sub-channels want to go HD?  Fortunately, it's still early in 
the transition.

- Lyra Research's DTV View Report "Desperately Seeking Content: A Survey 
of HDTV Users," based on an Internet survey of more than 500 existing 
users of high-definition television sets, conducted in May and June 
2004, found that movies were most desired to be in HDTV, followed by 
sports.  Commercials were least desired to be in HDTV, followed by 
reality programming:

- Most fascinating technical explanation of the week:  The nominal 
version of HDTV, 1080i, has 1080 x 1920 or roughly two million picture 
elements (pixels) per frame, and NHK's UDTV has 16 times that many.  But 
a press release on a new sign in Times Square for JPMorgan Chase notes 
that "It is the highest definition display in the world.  The display 
uses nearly 2 million pixels.  That's ten times the resolution of the 
average television and 3 times the resolution of top-of-the-line HDTV sets":

- International H/DTV news:  

     - Good news and bad news about watching TV on a cell phone in Korea:
"I had missed an episode of my favorite TV drama so I began watching it 
using my phone [while fishing]," said Noh Eun Kyung.  "The TV function 
is fun and convenient but also very expensive.  I only watched about 45 
minutes and it cost me about $50":

     - Possible illegal state aid related to DTT in Germany and Sweden 
is being investigated by the European Commission:
     A story in Ireland's Business World suggests that the results of 
the investigation "may block Government plans to launch a digital 
television service that would compete with satellite and cable":

- Digital rights management news:

     - Broadcast Engineering's Strategic Content Management reports 
dissention in the ranks of premium on-demand programming distributors 
with regard to copying.  HBO and Showtime, according to the report, 
oppose ANY copying; Starz! prefers allowing copy-once:

     - A Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Internet piracy 
study of 3600 Internet users worldwide found that 24% "have downloaded a 
movie" (58% in Korea).  80% of the respondents had broadband access:

     - Meanwhile, for theatrical exhibition, Broadcast Engineering's 
Strategic Content Management reports that, under a bill introduced by 
Senators John Cornyn and Dianne Feinstein, "those found guilty of 
theater taping would face up to three years in prison for a first 
offense, or five years if it was done for profit.  Repeat offenders 
could spend 10 years behind bars."  A similar bill is moving through the 
House of Representatives:

     - Warren Communications News reported last week that the "MPAA 
gives thumbs up to Windows Media DRM for broadcast flag."  The story is 
no longer on their site, and I couldn't find any press releases about it 
on either the Microsoft or MPAA sites:

     - The big story of the week was about the Advanced Access Content 
System (AACS) developed by Disney, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, 
Sony, Time Warner, and Toshiba, ostensibly for next-generation consumer 
     AACS is supposed to provide "flexible rules" that would allow users 
to share content over home networks (up to ten devices, according to 
someone who was briefed on the system) -- maybe even portable devices, 
according to Richard Doherty of Envisioneering.  At the same time, it 
reportedly uses 128-bit AES encryption and renewable and revocable security

     - Broadcast Engineering's Strategic Content Management reports that 
a coalition including the American Foundation for the Blind, the 
American Library Association, BellSouth, the Computer and Communications 
Industry Association, CEA, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers 
Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Gateway, Intel, Philips, 
Public Knowledge, Qwest, SBC, Sun Microsystems, the U.S. Telecom 
Association, and Verizon are supporting a proposal by representative 
Rick Boucher to rewrite the section of the Digital Millennium Copyright 
Act that bans distribution of descrambling systems.  The rewrite would 
allow them as long as no copyright infringement is taking place:

- CEA-2027 is the new expandable home theater (XHT) standard allowing 
home networking of HDTV with Internet-protocol control:

- NPD's Consumer Electronics Price Watch for May shows these average prices:
     - 42-inch ED plasma displays - $2736
     - DVD recorders -------------- $ 353
     - Portable DVD/LCD combos ---- $ 234
     - 27-inch TVs ---------------- $ 335
     - CRT-based projection TVs --- $1733
     Interestingly, that last one (projection TVs) experienced the 
lowest rate of price decline.
     The story is not yet on the NPD site.  Here's a URL to the reported 
press release:

- Based on figures from CEA, sales of VCRs to U.S. dealers were down 
63.7% for the first 26 weeks of 2004 compared to the same period in 
2003.  Non-H/DTV direct-view TV sets were down 5.4%.  My ten-week 
running average for them was down 20.5%.  The 26th week of 2004 seems 
anomalously bad and the 26th week of 2003 was anomalously good.  
     So-called "Digital Television" sales to U.S. dealers for the 26th 
week were 89,522 units.  For the first 26 weeks of the year, there were 
1,926,353 units.  "Digital Televisions" (most of which are HDTV displays 
without DTT-reception capability) accounted for just over 15% of the TVs 
(not counting plasma or direct-view LCD) sold to U.S. dealers so far 
this year.  It may be worth noting here what that means.  About 85% of 
the non-plasma, non-direct-view-LCD TVs sold through the 26th week this 
year were still plain non-H/DTV direct-view TVs with picture tubes.
     To qualify as a "Digital Television," a display need only be 
capable of dealing with at least 480p; it need not be capable of either 
receiving digital signals or displaying them.  Devices actually capable 
of receiving DTT signals were still a small fraction of those numbers.

- Ads for set-top DTT receivers:  I'm aware of the Philips at J&R and 
the LG at Video & Audio Centers, both new brands to be advertised for 
that product.

- The ads - I've been out of town and away from newspapers since 
Wednesday (except Sunday's Denver Post), and my Minneapolis-area 
correspondent is also away, so the pickings are meager this week:
  - Best Buy (appropriate disclaimers):
    - JVC LT23X475 17-inch widescreen direct-view LCD TV $1899.99
    - Mitsubishi WS55315 55-inch 16:9 projection TV $1899.99**
    - Mystery brand plasma TV $2499.99**
    - Panasonic TH-42PX25U 42-inch 16:9 integrated plasma DTV $5999.99**
    - Philips 17PF9936 17-inch 16:9 LCD TV $899.99
    - Philips 34PW8502 34-inch 16:9 direct-view CRT TV $1299.99
    - Samsung LTN1535 15-inch 4:3 direct-view LCD TV $599.99
    - Sony KE42TS2 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $4299.99**
    - Sony KF50WE610 50-inch 16:9 LCD projection TV $3299.99**
    - Sony KF60WE610 60-inch 16:9 LCD projection TV $3999.99**
    - Toshiba 26HL84 26-inch widescreen LCD TV $2499.99
    - Toshiba 32HF73 32-inch 4:3 direct-view CRT TV $899.99
    - Toshiba 46H84 46-inch 16:9 projection TV $1399.99**
    - Toshiba TDP-S20U projector $999.99
    - Zenith E44W46LCD 44-inch widescreen LCD projection TV $2299.99**
    ** price includes home-theater speaker system
  - Dell (no disclaimer):
    - Dell 23-inch widescreen LCD TV $1280
    - Dell 30-inch widescreen LCD TV $2240
  - Fry's (Los Angeles Times, no disclaimer):
    - Mitsubishi 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $1999
    - Philips 27PT830H 27-inch widescreen CRT direct-view TV $499
    - Samsung HL-P5063W 50-inch 16:9 DLP projection TV $3497
    - Toshiba 57-inch 16:9 integrated projection DTV $1499
  - Good Guys (Los Angeles Times, appropriate disclaimers):
    - JVC AV36DF74 36-inch 4:3 direct-view CRT TV $999
    - JVC PD42WV74 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $3799
    - Philips 27PT8320 27-inch 4:3 CRT direct-view TV $499
    - Pioneer PRO730HDI 64-inch 16:9 projection TV $2999
    - Sharp LC37HV6U 37-inch 16:9 LCD direct-view TV $4499
    - Sony KE50XS910 50-inch 16:9 plasma TV $7499
    - Sony KF50WE610 50-inch 16:9 LCD projection TV $3299
  - Howard's (Los Angeles Times, no disclaimer):
    - Panasonic TH37PD25UP 37-inch integrated 16:9 plasma DTV $3299
    - Panasonic TH42PD25UP 42-inch 16:9 integrated plasma DTV $3799
    - Philips 42PF9936 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $2999
    - Sony KE42M1 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $3999
  - J&R (New York Times, no disclaimer):
    - Philips 37FD9954 37-inch 16:9 plasma TV $2999.99
    - Philips FTR9955 ATSC set-top receiver/decoder $299.99 after rebate
    - Toshiba 42HP83P 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $3999.99
  - SoundTrack (Denver Post, no disclaimer):
    - LG RU17LZ22 17-inch widescreen direct-view LCD TV $809.95
    - LG RU52SZ61D 52-inch 16:9 DLP projection TV $2969.95
    - Magnavox 42MF7000 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $2298.95
    - Magnavox 51MP392H 51-inch 16:9 projection TV $1098.95
    - Mitsubishi WS48315 48-inch 16:9 projection TV $1439.95
    - Mitsubishi WS55513 55-inch 16:9 integrated projection DTV $1979.95
    - Panasonic 47-inch 16:9 projection TV as part of a package
    - Panasonic TH42PD25 42-inch 16:9 integrated plasma DTV $3419.95
    - Philips 55PL9774 55-inch 16:9 LCoS projection TV $3599.95
    - Pioneer PDP4340HD 43-inch 16:9 integrated plasma DTV $5499.95***
    - Samsung SPP4251 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $3419.95
    - Samsung TXP2775HF 27-inch integrated direct-view CRT DTV $629.95
    - Sharp LC30HV4U 30-inch 16:9 LCD direct-view TV $2999.99
    - Sony KV32HS420 32-inch 4:3 direct-view CRT TV $899.95
    - Zenith C34W37 34-inch 16:9 integr. direct-view CRT cable/DTV $1619.95
    - Zenith L15V26C 15-inch 4:3 LCD TV $498.95
    - Zenith P42W34H 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $2519.95
    *** price after mail-in rebate
  - Unitek (Los Angeles Times, no disclaimer):
    - Sony PFM42B2/H 16:9 42-inch plasma TV $3799
    - Sony PFM42V1/B 16:9 42-inch plasma TV $2789
    - Sony PFM50C1 50-inch 16:9 plasma TV $5699
  - Video & Audio Center (Los Angeles Times, no disclaimer):
    - LG LSS3200 DirecTV/ATSC set-top receiver/decoder $297****
    - Sony KE42M1 42-inch 16:9 plasma TV $3997
    **** requires activation of DirecTV subscription

- DVD news:  

     - According to CEA, sales of DVD players to U.S. dealers for the 
first 26 weeks of 2004 were down 4.6% from the same period in 2003.  My 
ten-week running average was down 19.6%.  

     - The average selling price of a "basic" DVD recorder in Taiwan is 
said to be about $180 (U.S.) according to Taiwan's Market Intelligence 
Center.  Compare to NPD's $353 average in May (above the ads section):

     - I have seen a July 12 document called "Liaison Statement to 
ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29/WG11 on request for defining 4:2:0 8bit profile in 
Amendment 1 to ISO/IEC 14496-10."  It was sent by the Blu-ray disk 
founders (BDF) to ask the Joint Video Team that developed 
AVC/H.264/MPEG-4 Part 10 compression "to define 4:2:0 / 8bit profile in 
'FDAM 1 to ISO/IEC 14496-10 : AVC Fidelity Range Extensions' that is 
planned to be fixed in July 2004."  The document notes that MPEG-2 is 
already part of the Blu-ray pre-recorded disk standard but that, "In 
addition to MPEG-2, we started evaluating advanced video codec for 
covering a range from low bit rate applications to high bit rate around 
20Mbps to achieve near transparent quality. 'FPDAM 1 to ISO/IEC 14496-10 
: AVC Fidelity Range Extensions' including the Study text discussed in 
March 2004 (JVT-K047) is our first choice, because coding efficiency 
especially for HD-movies meets our requirements."
     Another document I have seen, JVT-L033, a report on subjective 
testing of that same fidelity range extension (FRExt) just submitted, 
indicated that original movie test material (including the difficult 
Digital Cinema Initiatives Standard Evaluation Material, DCI StEM) 
scored 4.03 on a quality scale, and the AVC/H.264 FRExt at 20 Mbps 
scored 3.90 and 4.00 at 16 Mbps (no doubt a slight testing anomaly -- it 
appears to have been essentially transparent).

     - Yet another HD disk format:  New Medium Enterprises announced a 
15 GB multilayer disk prototype last week.  It reportedly provides "150 
minutes of High-Definition (1080i) Video Content in MPEG-2 format" using 
red lasers:

     - Patent-infringement litigation has forced Thomson to stop selling 
the RCA ClearPlay DRC232N DVD player with parental control, which has 
been carried by Kmart and Wal-Mart:

- "On-Demand TV 2004: A Nationwide Study on VOD and DVRs," from 
Leichtman Research Group, based on a telephone survey of 1350 U.S. 
adults in June, found just over 3% have DVRs (PVRs) (but 74% knew about 
them) and 10% of cable subscribers have used video-on-demand (45% of 
those who have it available):

- It looked like Siemens would smoothly take over BBC Technology, but 
Broadcast Engineering's Beyond the Headlines reported today that the 
Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union representing 
more than 80% of BBC Technology staff has voted to go on strike over 
Siemens's failure to meet their demands:

- FCC chair Michael Powell's blog can be read here:

- Upcoming Dates (DTV and non-DTV):

     - Through July 23, Seattle, MPEG meetings.
     - July 21, Cleveland, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not NAB 
affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/36_Cleveland.htm>.
     - July 22, Columbus, Ohio, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not NAB 
affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/37_Columbus.htm>.
     - July 22, Todd-AO Studios, Studio City, California, Entertainment 
Technology Center demo of Fraunhofer Institute's Wave Field Synthesis 
spatial audio technology, RSVP +1-213-743-1600 <http://www.etcenter.org>.
     - July 23-24, Raleigh Studios, Hollywood, HPA Summer School 
     - July 26, Indianapolis, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not NAB 
affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/38_Indianapolis.htm>.
     - July 28, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, Road Show -- "A Taste of 
NAB" (not NAB affiliated) 
     - July 29, Madison, Wisconsin, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not 
NAB affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/40_Madison.htm>.
     - August 2, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" 
(not NAB affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/41_Minn-StP.htm>.
     - August 4, Omaha, Nebraska, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not NAB 
affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/42_Omaha.htm>.
     - August 6, Riverton, Wyoming, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not 
NAB affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/43_Riverton.htm>.
     - August 9, Salt Lake City, Utah, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" 
(not NAB affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/44_SLC.htm>.
     - *August 10, Shaw Pittman, Washington, D.C., informal working 
group 4 (broadcasting and amateur issues) for FCC advisory committee on 
WRC 07 <http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-04-2149A1.doc>.
     - August 11, Bozeman, Montana, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not 
NAB affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/45_Bozeman.htm>.
     - August 13, Boise, Idaho, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not NAB 
affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/46_Boise.htm>.
     - August 16, Spokane, Washington, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" 
(not NAB affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/47_Spokane.htm>.
     - August 18, Washington State University, Road Show -- "A Taste of 
NAB" (not NAB affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/48_WSU.htm>.
     - August 20, Seattle, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not NAB 
affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/49_Seattle.htm>.
     - August 24, Portland, Oregon, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not 
NAB affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/50_Portland.htm>.
     - August 24-26, Westin Century Plaza, Los Angeles, DisplaySearch 
HDTV Forum 2004 <http://www.displaysearch.com/hdtvforum/>.
     - August 25, Eugene, Oregon, Road Show -- "A Taste of NAB" (not NAB 
affiliated) <http://www.tech-notes.tv/2004/51_Eugene.htm>.
     - August 30-September 1, Hollywood Renaissance Hotel, Entertainment 
Media Expo <http://www.media-tech.net/news/New_A.htm>.
     - September 1-3, Reading, UK, International Symposium on Consumer 
Electronics <http://www.isce.reading.ac.uk>.
     - September 9-14, RAI, Amsterdam, International Broadcasting 
Convention <http://www.ibc.org>.
     - September 16-19, Sony, Basingstoke, England, SMPTE Engineering 
Committee meetings <http://www.fibush.net/smpte/Sept2004/Sept2004.htm>.
     - October 6-7, Washington (D.C.) Convention Center, Government 
Video Technology Expo <http://www.GVExpo.com>.
     - October 13-15, Hotel Washington, Washington, D.C., IEEE Broadcast 
Symposium <http://www.ieee.org/organizations/society/bt/symposium.html>.
     - *October 18-19, Pasadena Convention Center, California, Global 
Society for Asset Management G-SAM 2004 
     - *October 20-23, Pasadena Convention Center, California, SMPTE 
Technical Conference and Exhibition 
     - November 4, Los Angeles Center Studios, HD Expo 
     - November 4-7, W
estin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco, Home Entertainment 2004 West 
     - November 17-19, Makuhari Messe (Tokyo area), InterBEE 
     - January 3-6, Las Vegas, IEEE Consumer Communications and 
Networking Conference <http://www.ieee-ccnc.org/>.
     - January 6-9, Las Vegas, Consumer Electronics Show 
     - January 8-12, Las Vegas Convention Center, International 
Conference on Consumer Electronics <http://www.icce.org/>.
     - ***January 26-28, Rancho Las Palmas Marriott, California, ***The 
Technology Retreat*** <http://www.hpaonline.com>.
* - new or revised listing


PS  Permission is granted to forward this or any other Monday Memo.  
Next week's memo might be late.  The first two memos of August might not 
happen; I'm not yet sure.

Confused about something in the memo?  Please first check out the second 
post-script to the January 5 memo here:

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