IBC 2009 kicks off on a sound note

AMSTERDAM: It was opening party night on 11 September at IBC in Amsterdam. Even as Ekta Kapoor and her friends were grooving at a beach-themed party in Mumbai, in Amsterdam television, film technology executives and CEOs were dancing to a live band in the RAI Exhibition Centre.

Just a handful of them, though, for most of them were either too bashful or thought that dancing was not their way of having a good time - munching shrimps, beef burgers, followed by many glasses of wine. But the party was extremely regimented: an army of security, reminding us of a congressional hearing, made sure you walked in a file, you deposited your bag in the cloakroom, and made sure you walked into a specific room.

In the beginning it seemed to lack life but as the band broke into Burning, and Micahel Jackson tracks, the floor came alive as bodies gyrated and pumped themselves to the beats. Came 10 pm, it was time to head back.


The morning tram rides clearly belong to the drivers: they tend to make passengers laugh through their quips. Catch this one: "Listen guys. We all know you are waiting to catch up and chat with your friends but if you don‘t move behind away from the entrance your friends will not be able to board. Then where will you have conversation."

Or this one: "Whenever the tram is this crowded, there is always a pickpocket on board. Keep a watch on your belongings, remember he is keeping a watch on yours. So don‘t cry later that I did not warn you," the driver said to the amusement of the passengers. Äs passengers alighted, the driver made another comment: "To specially all the ladies, I look forward to seeing you once again later today."

Meanwhile, back to business. Sessions on UGC were well attended, where a senior advertising executive from Ogilvy stated that nobody understands today what consumers are going to buy. The consumer is evolving so fast, we are struggling to understand patterns.

Then UK company Pace unveiled a hybrid set-top box with a fully integrated 3D user interface, The 3D interface is able to support a range of enhanced services such as video on demand, advanced IP based EPG information or graphic animation for screen and application transitions. The box is based on the DVB-T2 transmission standard.

Motorola’s Home and Networks Mobility business introduced a new encoder that supports both MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 standard-definition and high-definition encoding and transcoding and looks ahead to provide early support for emerging formats – specifically 1080P/50 Hz and 1080P/60 Hz resolutions using the MPEG-4 format.

Motorola said its compression engine supports all popular video formats, including 1080i and 720p, and is designed to keep pace with service providers’ future video requirements by providing additional processing crunch power to support emerging services such as 3-D television and multi-stream output. Called Motorola SE-6000, it accepts baseband SD and HD video, as well as pre-compressed MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 streams, to act as both a high-performance encoder and transcoder for satellite, cable and IPTV applications.

Additionally, Tandberg Television introduced an MPEG-4 AVC HD 4:2:2 encoder and receiver with support for up to 1080p50/60 HD encoding. The new system offers 10-bit precision, which Tandberg said provides a noticeable improvement in colour gradation on plain backgrounds compared with 8-bit systems.

Then Grass Valley, which is in talks to be acquired by allegedly a private equity firm, introduced two new products: the K2 Solo, a small two-channel playout server with 20 hours of HD storage; and Dyno Director, a new software platform for its K2 server product that works with its existing Dyno replay system and is designed to provide a touchscreen interface to directors for quickly turning around sports replays.

ARRI intorduced three new digital cameras that should start shipping June 2010. All three cameras will use a new CMOS sensor with a 3.5K pixel count and variable frame rates ranging from one to 60 frames per second. The top camera, the A-OV Plus, will have a 4:3 picture area on the sensor and an optical viewfinder, while the A-EV and A-EV Plus will use a 16:9 picture area (on the same sensor) and a digital viewfinder. A big difference is that, while all three models will offer on-board HD recording, the A-EV Plus and A-OV Plus will have the option of recording uncompressed HD. The two "Plus" models will also feature an integrated radio modem for wireless control.

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