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Rotana TV upgrades to HD with Imagine Communications

Holly Ashford 12 December 2014

Imagine 

timthumb.phpCommunications has completed a major upgrade of the playout and asset management facilities at Rotana TV in Cairo, Egypt.

The upgrade project has allowed Rotana TV to migrate all of its channels to HD and enabled the playout centre to operate completely in the file domain. The enhancements have enabled Rotana TV to deliver output via a data stream for satellite providers Arabsat and Nilesat, and to other broadcast facilities in Europe and the USA. Rotana TV plans to move IP delivery to outlets in Canada and South America in the future.

“When we installed our original automated playout and asset management architecture in 2009, we knew it was one step in our continuing growth and that we would need to expand it in due course,” said Dr. Naser Refaat, technical services executive manager, Rotana TV. “That system has proved extremely robust and reliable, and it is very pleasing that we do not have to lose any of that capital investment as part of our upgrade.”

Central to the upgrade are Imagine Communications’ Nexio Volt servers and Nexio Farad scalable online storage systems to enable the HD capabilities. Rotana TV already had Imagine Communications’ ADC playout automation and Nexio Motion digital media management, both of which were HD-ready. For the HD upgrade, the motion media management platform provided a file-based environment that included ingest stations both within Rotana TV and remotely at the broadcaster’s facilities in Cairo’s Media Production City. Other Imagine Communications’ equipment, including Nexio IconMaster modular master control switchers, graphics and Platinum routers with integrated multiviewers, was simply upgraded to handle HD signals.

“Our broadcast customers are navigating various states of transition, whether migrating from tape to file, from SD to HD and beyond, or from traditional infrastructures to software-defined networks,” said Mathias Eckert, VP of EMEA at Imagine Communications. “We strive to provide solutions that are tailored for these transitions wherever our customers are in the process. Rotana TV, which five years ago implemented an end-to-end solution for SD playout, demonstrates this clearly. Today, we have upgraded it for file-based HD without compromising their existing investments in equipment and skills, and we have delivered a solution that remains future-proofed, whenever Rotana TV wants to take that next step.”

www.imaginecommunications.com

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Lack of DTT technology delays Mexico’s analogue switch-off

Juan Fernandez Gonzalez| 02 December 2014

Fearing that over 10% of the population don’t have the proper technology to watch TV through its new digital network, Mexico’s federal telecoms institute IFT has once again postponed the second phase of the analogue switch-off.

ift

With research by IFT into the level of digital terrestrial television (DTT) penetration in the country’s north-east area still ongoing, the Government wants to wait in order to avoid a huge portion of the population being left with no TV coverage, and therefore prevent the complaints and protests that were seen earlier in the year.

However, the Mexican Government is sticking to 2015 as the year for the analogue switch-off, despite some reports saying that over ten million Mexicans don’t have a DTT-ready TV or a set-top box (STB). According to the country’s regulation for TV digital transition, at least 90% of people have to be ready for the DTT signal before the analogue signal can be switched off.

The original strategy was to try out local switch-offs in different areas of the country, but the government has finally admitted that this will be impossible before 2015, with the switch-off in the north-east area probably taking place in February.

If the plan keeps to schedule, the cities of Mexicali, Juárez, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, Matamoros and Monterrey will be among the first to switch off analogue TV.

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Analyzing Consumer Habits & Creating Advertising Sales Strategies & Business Models For Effectively Monetizing VOD Across Multiple Platforms Whilst

Optimizing User Interfaces, Metadata, File Storage & Transcoding To Maximize The Value & Minimize The Costs Of Multi-Platform VOD Offerings

panelist

Brian P West Director Multiplatform Measurement Strategy Disney ABC Television Group Multi-Platform VOD: Monetization & Consumer Habits 2015 Congress

THE ONLY VOD CONGRESS TO FOCUS ON MONETIZATION STRATEGIES & CONSUMER HABITS ACROSS MULTIPLE PLATFORMS

The growth of on-demand services has had an unprecedented impact on the U.S. broadcasting industry over the last few years, with companies scrambling to find the right business models and technical strategies for keeping up with changing consumer viewing habits. Now, with the industry shifting towards TV everywhere, it is vital that broadcasters and content-providers understand how they can integrate their VOD strategy across both OTT and set-top box formats into a multi-platform VOD service that can be effectively monetized.

However, the industry is yet to form a consensus on the optimal monetization strategies for VOD. The race is on to determine how the latest dynamic ad insertion and addressable advertising technologies can be optimally applied to create advertising driven VOD monetization models. Meanwhile, other operators still believe that subscription models are the way forward. Additionally, VOD providers need to firstly identify consumer behaviors for different demographics, geographical regions, devices, platforms, and types of content, and understand how to best measure and integrate data on their audiences. Finally, the technical aspects of supplying VOD services need to keep up with these monetization strategies – with everything from file transcoding, storage, metadata and user interfaces needing to be optimized to ensure a customer experience that drives viewers to VOD offerings.

And so, at a uniquely designed congress specific to unlocking the challenges in monetizing VOD platforms, the Multi-Platform VOD: Monetization & Consumer Habits 2015 will allow broadcasters, specialist VOD providers and content owners to compare methods of creating effective advertising sales strategies and business models whilst breaking down VOD consumer habits to monetize VOD platforms and overcome the technical challenges in enhancing user interfaces, metadata, file storage, and transcoding. The ultimate output of the conference will be a practical toolkit for maximizing the value and minimizing the cost of VOD multi-platform offerings.

Day 1 And Day 2 Overview

DAY 1 will examine the latest advances in integrating dynamic ad insertion technologies into an effective advertising-driven VOD monetization strategy, compare the optimal subscription models for maximizing the profitability of SVOD, explain how to use C3 and C7 ad measurement technologies to quantify the value of VOD audiences and analyze the latest data on consumer VOD viewing habits for different demographics, geographical regions, devices, platforms, and types of content.

DAY 2 will address how to design effective metadata strategies, promotional campaigns and how to harness social media platforms whilst enhancing user interfaces to drive consumers towards VOD content. Speakers will also assess how to reduce the time and cost of transcoding, file conversion and storagefor VOD files to minimize the costs that are passed on to the consumer.

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Private equity firms ready for another run at EE — report

EE-log-Nov-2014

The pursuit of EE has become a three-horse race with private equity firms KKR and Apax reportedly reviving their past interest in a joint bid for the UK’s largest operator.

BT is in pole position because it is already in discussion with the UK’s largest operator andHutchison Whampoa has joined the chase.

And now, according to Reuters, KKR, which is talking to other equity firms, is the third contender. A partnership with Apax is thought likely. The two explored a joint bid for EE in 2012 and 2013.

CVC Capital Partners was part of a rival consortium bidding for EE in 2013 but is not thought to be in the chase this time around.

However, the private equity interest does not extend to O2, which is also in play.

“Any fresh offer hinges on BT’s choice between O2 and EE,” one of the sources said. “EE is the only attractive target for private equity bidders.”

O2 has attracted interested from BT and Hutchison Whampoa.

BT is expected to make a bid for either EE or O2 before Christmas, which would act as a trigger for the private equity players.

In 2013, two groups were thought to be in the running for EE — one led by Apax/KKR and a rival group made up of Blackstone and CVC Capital Partners. The previous year, Apax and KKR were also thought to be interested.

Owners Deutsche Telekom and Orange also considered a partial flotation of EE. In the end, the partners decided to sit tight but might now decide the time is right to sell.

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Protesters and police spar in Hong Kong

By Ivan Watson, Vivian Kam and Wilfred Chan, CNN
December 1, 2014 — Updated 1006 GMT (1806 HKT)

Untitled

Hong Kong (CNN) — Police clashed with activists at the main Hong Kong pro-democracy protest site Monday morning after a violent nighttime standoff when protesters surrounded government headquarters in the city’s Admiralty district.

Authorities removed some tents and barricades at the main protest site before withdrawing. The site is currently calm.

Protesters, following student leaders’ calls to escalate their civil disobedience movement, surrounded the government complex Sunday night and charged onto Lung Wo Road, a major east-west route next to the headquarters. Police used batons and pepper spray to push back demonstrators.

Police and protesters were seen injured in the clashes, with protesters seen receiving first aid treatment from fellow activists, and police carried away on gurneys.

The standoff continued Monday morning as police moved in on the main Hong Kong pro-democracy protest site, cutting down banners on a pedestrian overpass above thousands of tents inside the “democracy village” in Hong Kong’s Admiralty district.

Before dawn Monday, at least 40 arrests had been made in Admiralty, according to the Hong Kong Police. A further 12 people were also arrested in Mong Kok.

The Central Government Office was closed on Monday morning but later re-opened.

The government said it condemned “violent radicals,” saying they had “provoked and verbally abused police officers” and encouraged others to charge police lines.

“We do not have any plan”

The current police operation is the boldest move authorities have made on the main protest site in nearly two months.

Protesters seemed at a loss for how to respond, with arguments breaking out between student leaders and protesters even as police moved in.

Winnie Ng, a demonstrator, told CNN “We do not have any plan.”

This morning, a tweet from student leader group Hong Kong Federation of Students read “We need your support in Admiralty right now.”

The tense standoff came at the end of a dramatic week in which Hong Kong authorities moved to dismantle protest camps in the city’s working-class Mong Kok district, arresting dozens and drawing accusations of brutality in the process.

Protesters want their occupations to pressure the Chinese government into giving Hong Kong open elections for its next leader in 2017. So far, officials have shown no willingness to give into protesters’ demands.

The protests have drawn widespread international attention, although the Chinese government has rebutted any efforts by outside countries to “interfere.”

On Sunday Sir Richard Ottoway, who chairs the British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said he and other lawmakers had been barred by China from making a planned trip to Hong Kong to assess the political situation.

“The Chinese government are acting in an overtly confrontational manner in refusing us access to do our job,” he said.

Michael Pearson wrote from Atlanta. Ivan Watson and Vivian Kam reported from Hong Kong. CNN’s Anjali Tsui and Felicia Wong also contributed to this report.

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Iran nuclear talks extended seven months after failing to meet deadline

BY LOUIS CHARBONNEAU AND FREDRIK DAHL
VIENNA
Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:19am EST

Officials sit around the negotiations table during their meeting in Vienna

1 OF 2. Delegations of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sit around the negotiations table during their meeting in Vienna November 24, 2014.

CREDIT: REUTERS/JOE KLAMAR/POOL

(Reuters) – Iran and six powers failed for a second time this year on Monday to resolve their 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and gave themselves seven more months to overcome the deadlock that has prevented them from clinching an historic deal.

Western officials said they were aiming to secure an agreement on the substance of a final accord by March but that more time would be needed to reach a consensus on the all-important technical details.

“We have had to conclude it is not possible to get to an agreement by the deadline that was set for today and therefore we will extend the JPOA to June 30, 2015,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters at the end of the talks.

He was referring to the so-called Joint Plan of Action, an interim deal agreed between the six and Iran a year ago in Geneva, under which Tehran halted higher level uranium enrichment in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions, including access to some frozen oil revenues abroad.

Hammond said the expectation was that Iran would continue to refrain from sensitive atomic activity.

He added that Iran and the powers “made some significant progress” in the latest round of talks, which began last Tuesday in the Austrian capital. Hammond said that there was a clear target to reach a “headline agreement” of substance within the next three months and talks would resume next month.

It is unclear where next month’s talks will take place, he said, noting that during the extension period, Tehran will be able to continue to access around $700 million per month in sanctions relief. A source close to the talks said Vienna and Oman were possible venues for next month’s discussions.

An Iranian official confirmed the extension, as did Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who echoed Hammond’s comments about “substantial progress”.

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, showed that Iran had reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium gas and taken other action to comply with last year’s interim agreement with world powers.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was due to address the Iranian people on television on Monday evening. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was planning to speak to the press in Vienna before returning to the United States.

SCEPTICISM

No details about the “substantial progress” were immediately available. One senior Western diplomat expressed pessimism about the prospects for an agreement in seven months time.

‎”It’s been 10 years that proposals and ideas have been put forward,” he said on condition of anonymity. “There’s nothing left. It’s essentially a side issue now. The Iranians are not moving. It is a political choice.”

“I am skeptical that even if we did extend we will be able to reach a deal,” he said shortly before the extension was announced.

The deadline for a deal, agreed in July when the two sides missed an earlier target date, was Monday.

The Vienna talks have aimed for a deal that could transform the Middle East, open the door to ending economic sanctions on Iran and start to bring a nation of 76 million people in from the cold after decades of hostility with the West.

The cost of failure could be high, and Iran’s regional foes Israel and Saudi Arabia are watching nervously. Both fear a weak deal that fails to curtail Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, while a collapse of the negotiations would encourage Iran to become a threshold nuclear weapon state, something Israel has said it would never allow.

As it appeared likely that no agreement was in the offing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

The main sticking points in the talks are the scope of Iran’s enrichment program, the pace of lifting sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy and the duration of any deal.

So far, Western officials said Tehran has refused to budge on its demand to continue to operate most of its enrichment centrifuges currently in operation. Tehran blames the West for making excessive demands on the Islamic Republic.

Several Western officials have questioned the value of extending the talks again, saying there is little reason to expect the Iranians will show the flexibility needed to end the impasse in the weeks and months ahead. They have also questioned the Iranian leadership’s desire to compromise.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen, John Irish and Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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Black Friday Sale

Starts on Weds, Nov 26th! A special holiday discount from Imagineer Systems.

30% off mocha Pro 4.1

Includes upgrades from bundled versions, nodelocked and floating licenses.

Promotion dates:  Nov 26 – Dec 1st, 2014 (sale ends at midnight PST 12/01/2014)

Upgrade from the Adobe After Effects bundled mocha AE CC or the HitFilm bundled mocha HitFilm

purchase now Have questions for the sales team? Contact us.

Black Friday Sale Prices (displayed in USD currency)

For cross platform-floating licenses, go here.

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mocha AE CC (bundled with Adobe After Effects)

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mocha HitFilm (bundled with HitFilm 2 Ultimate)

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mocha Pro v3 (previously purchased)

$495

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New Customer (no registered mocha software)

 $1495

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Q. I use the bundled mocha AE, why should I upgrade to mocha Pro 4.1? 

A. mocha Pro 4.1  adds advanced feature including: Object Removal, Lens Correction, 3D Camera Solver, Python scripting and much more. mocha Pro 4.1 can render mattes and stabilization and more importantly export to many host formats including: Adobe After Effects/Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro/Motion, Boris FX, Black Magic Fusion, Autodesk Flame/Smoke/Maya, Cinema 4D, The Foundry NUKE, Assimilate Scratch, Quantel and HitFilm.

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Q. Why mocha? 

A. mocha is Academy-award winning technology developed to save editors and artists time on complex tasks such as motion tracking, rotoscoping and object removal. mocha Pro is a tried and trusted professional tool, recently used on the feature films, ‘Gone Girl’, ‘Bird Man’, and ‘Maleficent’.

How much is your time worth? Learn mocha today.


mocha

http://vimeo.com/98765749

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DoD Shifts Acquisition, Tech Efforts Toward Major Powers

defense innovation
http://www.defensenews.com/videonetwork/3904037838001/National-Security-Threats

National Security Threats: Robert Work, deputy secretary of defense, discusses the Pentagon’s latest offset strategy, which is designed to counter technological advances of US foes.

WASHINGTON — After spending 13 years fighting non-state actors in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, the US Defense Department is shifting its institutional weight toward developing a new acquisition and technology development strategy that focuses more on major state competitors, the Pentagon’s No. 2 told Defense News on Nov. 21.

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said that at the top of the agenda are powers like China and Russia, both of whom have “regional and global aspirations, so that’s going to increasingly take a lot of our attention.”

Next come regional states that want to become nuclear powers, such as Iran and North Korea, and finally are transnational terrorist groups and their myriad offshoots.

“Layered on top of all three are technological advancements that are happening at a very rapid pace,” Work said, which has given rise to a global competition for the latest in stealth, precision strike, communications and surveillance capabilities over which the United States no longer holds a monopoly.

The new Defense Innovation Initiative that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently announced is “really focused on state actors,” Work said, “and looking at the capabilities that could potentially hurt our nation the most and how [the Pentagon can] prepare to address those capabilities and deter their use.”

A major part of this push is the new “offset” strategy, which is looking to identify new technologies that the United States can use in order to deter or defeat those threats.

But whereas previous offset initiatives in the 1950s and 1970s focused on nuclear, stealth and precision technologies with the Soviets, the threats of today are more diffuse.

It’s not only state actors this time. The past decade has shown that fighting groups like the Islamic State, al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Hamas doesn’t come cheaply. “It costs more to shoot down incoming missiles than it does to [launch] them,” Work said. “So we’re looking at things like directed energy weapons, railguns.”

Those previous offset initiatives saw the Pentagon develop “military technologies to offset Soviet advantages, so you’re taking military technology and trying to use it to offset a qualitative military advantage, and I’m not sure you can use that same playbook here,” former Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn, now the CEO of Finmeccanica North America, told Defense News on Nov. 19.

“I think the strategy is going to look more to commercial technologies, and I think the challenge here is to identify those technologies that are most critical,” Lynn said. “It’s not obvious what those technologies are. The challenge of identification is probably larger than it was in the first two [offsets].”

Lynn is acting as co-chair along with Michèle Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy and now CEO of the Center for a New American Security, on a “Beyond Offset” research program at CNAS, where Work was chief financial officer before heading back to the Pentagon this year.

One of the issues for Pentagon leaders as they try to push the latest offset plan is that the Obama administration has two years left in its tenure, and Congress likely isn’t in the mood to lavish more funds on the Pentagon.

But Work said the second offset started in 1975 and carried across multiple administrations, and “what we can do in the next two years is to set the course. Once you get the strategy right, they generally go across administrations.”

He added that the plan is also simply part of a multiyear modernization effort that the department has to undertake, and one that will have to be constantly re-evaluated in light of the democratization of technology across the globe. In the past, the US could be confident that adversaries would be unable to copy American military innovations. But given the current ramp-up in Chinese capabilities, this is no longer the case.

“We’re looking at what we can do in the next 10 years to deter our adversaries, and what do we need to start building for the next 10 years to retain that advantage. And what do we need to be doing to start [laying] the technological groundwork” for the 10 years after that, Work said.

“The focus of innovation today is really in the commercial sector, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, autonomy, we have to be able to get that innovation. We want to work with industry” and the commercial sector to push the envelope on what can be accomplished, he said.

Commercial technology companies would likely work with the Pentagon if asked, Lynn said, but the harder question is, “how do you get companies like that to do business with you? I think we need to expand our acquisition focus to lower the barriers to entry” for smaller software and IT companies, so that they don’t get frustrated with the bureaucratic red tape for which the Pentagon is infamous.

The rapid acquisition programs of the past decade show that “it can be done,” Lynn said. “The challenge is we proved it can work, but how do we institutionalize it? That’s the leap.”

The issue of the commercial tech industry’s role in defense was raised in a tart exchange between former Pentagon Comp­troller Dov Zakheim and Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer, at the Reagan National Defense Forum on Nov. 15.

Zakheim charged that the Pentagon was not only indifferent to the fact that companies want to make profits, but that the government also expects them to give up some of their intellectual property (IP) rights to technologies they spent their own research and development (R&D) money to design.

“Industry invests in its own R&D, then the government tells you that you can’t make more than 8 or 9 percent profit margin, and they want your IP. Why in God’s name would Google hand over their IP to a bunch of civil servants who haven’t taken a [tech] course in over 25 years?” Zakheim said.

Kendall said that while he understands that companies want to make profits, the IP issue is one area in which he’s trying to drive change, along with changes in how the Pentagon does both accounting and contracting. “We are working this hard.”

The offset strategy, once it begins to be implemented, is most likely going to be “more about choices and how you manage the portfolio than it is about new investments in spending,” said Robert Martinage, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “You can cut back in one area and shift resources into another, and that’s hard. That creates losers bureaucratically in the Pentagon, and they’ll resist that. It’s going to be a challenge.” ■

Email: pmcleary@defensenews.com.

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Verizon Telematics CTO says connected car needs route to 5G

chuck link

by

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is n… read more

VIDEO INTERVIEW: Chuck Link, Verizon Telematics CTO, says almost every single car manufacturer he deals with has jumped to LTE, but warns that future-proofing the nascent connected car market will need 5G connectivity modules that can easily replace old 4G connections.

“Every few years mobile infrastructure changes, and in five years we’ll be looking at 5G,” said Link in a recent interview with Mobile World Live. “There needs to be a solution in the vehicle that potentially allows a replaceable module, and it’s something we have to embrace. The wireless industry is more responsible for this than the automotive industry.”

Future-proofing the connected car – which will be needed since owners tend not to switch models nearly so often as their phones – will also involve a hybrid approach, said Link, where OEM-centric services (such as safety and maintenance) might be embedded into the dashboard, while more consumer-centric services (streaming audio, for example) might be accessed on mounted devices that can be replaced as devices improve.

Aside from providing connectivity, Link sees a much bigger role for mobile operators in the connected car ecosystem, including valued-added services – roaming management, for example – and adding security features to the communications link.

“Nearly every OEM [in car manufacturing] is more concerned about privacy than anyone else in the industry, particular German ones,” said Link. “They are going to enforce data retention policies that demand that data is removed and only the minimum required to do business is stored in the back office.”

Watch the whole video here.

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ARTBO-NMFMADA-MAC-HOEKSTEEN [Willem Wilhelmus, Rod Summers, Yolanda Duarte]

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