A-V Technology News 

In This Issue
Satellite TV Competitors may combine
Aereo attacks U. S. Broadcast Networks in 100-Page Supreme Court Brief...
Quantel and Snell Join Forces
Harris Broadcast becomes Imagine Communications and Gates Air.
You are invited to visit two interesting new recordings featuring Douglas I. Sheer, CEO & Chief Analyst of D.I.S. Consulting. They are available to experience -- FREE -- by clicking on the links below: 



1) A video recording made of the Wednesday, March 12th meeting of the SMPTE New York Section called "Emerging Channel-in-a-Box Techniques and Workflows for Play-out" is available.  Seven major Channel-in-a-Box manufacturers were the presenters in a panel moderated and hosted by Douglas I. Sheer, CEO and Chief Analyst of D.I.S. Consulting Corporation.  


The presenter/panelists included (alphabetically by company): Dan Turow, Senior Director, Product Development of Evertz Microsystems, Sam Peterson, Director of Product Management: Play-out, Grass Valley, Straker Coniglio, Director of Production and Play-out Solutions at Harmonic, Inc., Steven Smith of Harris Corporation, Francois Gourvil, Market Segment Manager for Playout, Miranda Technologies, Mike Pecoraro, Western Regional Manager of PlayBox Technology and John Shike, Vice President of Marketing & Channel Management of the Snell Group.  


The evening begin with an hour-long "meet and greet" period that started at 5:30PM. At 6:30PM,  each presenter projected a PowerPoint followed by a panel discussion led by Sheer. A question and answer period followed. The SMPTE Channel-in-Box Forum was  hosted by CBS Engineering and was held at the CBS Broadcast Center 524 West 57th Street in the Rehearsal Hall. This video runs approximately 1 hour and 35 minutes.     




2) An interesting podcast was made during an interview of Douglas I. Sheer, by Ryan Salazar, publisher/principal of:
  1. Broadcast Beat Magazine,
  2. iCTVBA,
  3. StudioZ Productions 
The podcast is on the subject of "Backpack Journalism" and the phenomenon of the one-person crew. This new  
podcast runs approximately 14 minutes.



  Upcoming Industry Events


The 2014 NAB Convention taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada from April 5th through the 11th. 


As usual, the NAB Show will feature nearly 1,600 exhibitors and host close to 95,000 visitors to the halls.


Tens of thousands of products will be on display and a number of key themes and developments will be highlighted including: UHD, channel-in-a-box, HEVC, Super 35 mm, and much more.   


A number of separate programs of sessions are scheduled as well as special events. For a complete listing of exhibitors and details go to www.NAB.org and you will find downloads.



Among the newest studies to be published this year 

 (click on the link to view prospectus) 


Sports Video World™ 2014





Digital Cinematography World™ 2014





Studio/Box Cameras World™ 2014  





Professional Camcorders World™ 2014 




Channel in a Box World™ 2014




A newly announced first-time study


Professional Lenses World™ 2014




 For more information 




by Douglas I. Sheer


Compression Impression


There is no doubt about it, the biggest news in the industry this year is that there will be fewer companies to do business with in the future. We are full-tilt in a period where big companies are either acquiring or stamping out smaller ones, as the industry compresses.


First there was a wave of swaps. For example, Grass Valley went from Thomson to Bay Area-based Francisco Partners.  At about at the same time, the Gores Group acquired Harris Broadcast. Now we see Belden acquiring Grass Valley from Francisco Partners for nearly twice the first price. Then there is the announcement that  Quantel is acquiring Snell.


The motivations are fairly apparent: more profitable structures, new management, and compression of back office and sales operations.  It may really be about taking less profitable operations and finding ways to make them more profitable through sharing resources and combining strengths.


Structurally, it is also about creating bundled or newly separated operations that can be major players in the ongoing market. Therefore, the combination of Miranda and Grass Valley (by Belden) really makes sense. Likewise, splitting away the hardware-oriented Gates Air from Imagine shows imagination and intent to create more viable structures.


Underscoring these moves is the thought that, even when after the recession is really over, the marketplace will never be the same, so it makes sense to ready operations for what emerges on the other side. That new environment will be leaner, more compact, more IT/IP oriented, more Cloud-centric, and more mobile and OTT-centric.


What about the others who are not yet 'invited to the party?' There are many companies that are either sitting on money or wanting to be acquired. So many, in fact, that we anticipate as much as a decade of these merger/acquisition announcements.


It is clear that we are heading towards a much smaller range of vendors, with better capabilities to provide end-to-end solutions to end-users. It may be less interesting, it may be offering less choice to customers, but it is likely to be more profitable for the remaining few players.     







This newsletter is published monthly and press releases may be sent to us at dougsheer@gmail.com or by mail to 


D.I.S. Consulting Corporation
Box 477
Woodstock, NY 12498-1101 USA



Douglas I. Sheer,
CEO & Chief Analyst & Editorial Director

Regina C. Sheer,
Managing Editor
Carol Montana,
Reporter / Analyst

Jill Padua,
Graphics / Design Manager

Samantha J. Hawkins 

Nora G. Licht,
Copy Editor  

All written materials 2014 D.I.S. Consulting Corporation - All Rights Reserved

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April 2014 Newsletter

In April the industry takes to the skies, the roads and the rails and heads to another NAB Convention starting on April 5th in Las Vegas.  The marketplace is awash with rumors about more acquisitions and enticing new products. It won't be dull.   



Late Breaking News: MassTech Acquires PlayBox

With more than 14,000 Playbox channels reportedly installed, this acquisition is important news for broadcasters around the world. And, underscores increasing activity in channel-in-a-box technology specifically, and servers generally. You can visit both MassTech and PlayBox in North Hall.   


Satellite TV Competitors may combine   

Shares of Dish Network and DirecTV soared higher Wednesday following reports that the two satellite television companies are considering a merger. The consensus appears to be that this combination has been made necessary in light of a potential Comcast and Time Warner merger.  Bloomberg News first broke the news, reporting that Dish chairman Charlie Ergen recently reached out to DirecTV CEO Mike White. Dish (DISH, Fortune 500) shares surged 9% following the report, while DirecTV (DTV, Fortune 500) rose 7.5%.  So far, Dish and DirecTV have declined to comment. 

Aereo attacks U. S. Broadcast Networks in 100-Page Supreme Court Brief   

Aereo has asked the U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday to rule that its service offering local TV station signals on the web is legal, calling itself "the next technological step."  In a reply brief responding to earlier filings in the court case, the subscription streaming service accused ABC, CBS, NBC and other TV networks fighting its service of engaging in "problematic" claims and ignoring consumers long standing rights to make copies of free over-the-air telecasts. Aereo's latest filing is the final step in the briefing process before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case on April 22.


Quantel and Snell Join Forces  

Quantel and Snell have joined; the new company twill be named Quantel.  Ray Cross, the CEO of Quantel will run the joint operation. The Newbury headquarters facility will be expanded to accommodate the conjoined group. Simon Derry, current Snell CEO will step away in a few months.   

Harris Broadcast becomes Imagine Communications and Gates Air  

Following the acquisition by Gores Group last year, Harris Broadcast has been divided into two independent entities re-named Imagine Communications and Gates Air.  Imagine will focus on media and entertainment sectors with IP, software, Cloud solutions and TV Everywhere solutions. Gates will focus on the TV and radio over the air transmission mark

Telecommuting on the rise  

Having risen by 79 percent since 2005, telecommuting is a rapidly expanding method of employment today. 3.2 million home-tethered workers in the USA, or about 2.6% of the workforce practice some form of the method.  That includes many who use this method as a form of full-time employment. At-home workers sometimes put in more hours than those in offices, with an average 9.5% longer work day typical. 

Ex-Clinton aide now a mover and shaker at Microsoft

Mark Penn, a former Clinton aide, has become the Chief Strategist at Microsoft. Penn, known for his polling skills has used them for Microsoft to influence the company's product and service planning. The firm's effective "Scroogled" anti-Google ad campaign was his invention. 

Archimedia announces new master player  

Florida-based Archimedia has announced the launch of a new master player (v1.7) with high performance features including compressed audio and support for more video formats - including 2K and 4K.  The net result is that it becomes virtually format agnostic.      

Revival team restart Newsweek

New York publishers, IBT Media, new owners of the former Graham family holding, have decided to re-start Newsweek Magazine. Hard copies have just hit newsstands. Much of the new Newsweeek revolves around a web-based offering of the venerable magazine.  

China inspires new Hollywood studio

With a combination of Hollywood and Chinese investment a new studio will aim its product to China and is expecting to spend close to a billion dollars in its launch. The yet unnamed studio is the brainchild of Hollywood producer Robert Simmons Jr and Jeffrey Robinov, ex-head of Warner Brothers.
New York Public Radio receives $10 million grant

Chief Laura R. Walker announced that New York Public Radio was receiving two gifts amounting to over $11 million dollars. One grant from the Jerome Green Foundation was for $10 million and the dominant gift. The majority of the grant has been earmarked for conversion to digital operations.    


Radio Shack posts $400 million loss, cuts 1,100 stores

After years of troubled annual returns, Radio Shack has decided to close over 1,100 USA stores citing the latest loss, which exceeds $400 million dollars compared with a loss in 2012 of $139 million.  Radio Shack management called mail order competitors like Amazon the main problem.

Apple bean counter retires  

Luca Maestri, Apple's VP of finance will replace retiring Apple senior VP, Peter Oppenheimer, its current CFO.  LOGO - AppleOppenheimer is credited with shrewd running of Apple's finances in his 18 year reign over finances. Oppenheimer is widely credited with helping Apple build its current $17 billion dollar nest egg.

CNN missing airliner coverage causes ratings surge

On CNN, a complete focus on the mystery of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 clearly fascinated many viewers and gave it  soaring ratings that nearly reached 100 percent at certain peak times. Now that the plane has been declared officially ditched in the ocean, CNN's name is "mud," with the focus now on reporting about the mud slides in the West, where over 100 persons remain missing as of this writing.

Joel Brinkley, Times reporter, 61

New York Times reporter, Joel Brinkley, 61, has died. He was the son of TV commentator and anchor, David Brinkley. He joined the Times in 1983 and became Washington Bureau Chief. 

He had covered the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the War on Drugs, the anti-trust case against Microsoft and other major stories in his career.   


Power grid vulnerable to attacks

What good is your computer or TV transmitter if there is no electricity? According to the American Electric Reliability Corporation which organized the drill, the more than 2,000 power stations in the USA are vulnerable to terrorist attack. The U. S. has seen a spate of troubling attacks including one in the California desert where snipers partially disabled a sub-station and then fled without a trace. A series of disabling station 'knock-outs' could trigger a rolling wave that would blow out the entire national grid. It could take up to a year to fully restore it. Clearly, this would be a highly destabilizing event for the country. In most cases, these stations are either entirely unmanned  or protected only by flimsy barbed wire fencing.  At best there are a handful of guards. Concern about protecting the nation's infrastructure including ports, the power grid, dams and rail links has risen since the 9/11 attacks.


F.C.C. seeks limits on TV stations to curb rising cable fees

Concerned by broadcasters' re-transmission fees that cable companies collect and their  impact they on rising cable rates to consumers, the Federal Communications Commission has begun to consider new rules to limit such fees and protect viewers.    

Orad to unveil first 4K channel-in-a-box solution at NAB

Orad plans to unveil its new channel-in-a-box solution, Blend 4K, the first 4K clip server in XAVC and XAVC-S formats. The device can also support 3D graphics and will operate at HD level too. 


The system is redundant at RAID 1. See them at booth SL6319 at NAB. 


Dish and Disney sign a deal viewed as a victory for both   

A decision has been made to stop battling over ads-skipping features. Under the agreement, Dish will disable its Hopper auto-hop feature for ABC channels that it carries. ABC Dish also got something it badly wanted, the right to distribute - in Netflix style - various prime Disney TV entities including: ESPN, ABC Family and the Disney Channel.  This is a real win for them.


Deaths on-location call safety policies into question   

Ever since the deaths of actor Vic Morrow, and two child actors, in a helicopter accident on the set of Jon Landis's "Twilight Zone: The Movie," the film industry has brought forward better on-scene safety practices. Nonetheless, the recent death of a young camera assistant, Sarah Jones, in rural Georgia, by a CXS freight train has once again brought questionable industry practices into question. The film being shot was "Midnight Rider," a bio-pic on guitarist Gregg Allman, featuring actor William Hurt as the musician. The accident also seriously injured several other crew members and nearly killed the director. The railroad was apparently not requested to suspend service during the filming.   

Viacom and YouTube settle suit over copyrights

A seven-years dispute between Viacom and YouTube Viacom Logo over copyright infringement claims has been settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Viacom had sought a billion dollars in damages. In reaction to the original suit, Google and others have sought to address concerns related to copyright to prevent further such actions.   

Undercover TV reports on school security send channels to detention

Although it a may have been well-intentioned, TV coverage of school security using hidden cameras has brought derision to several news operations including Chuck Scarborough of WNBC News and Matt Lauer of NBC's the Today Show.  Although the reports highlighted lax security at many schools, their use on air was questioned as a possible breach of ethics. In several cases it caused school lock-downs and upset thousands of parents.    

ABC News president to become top Disney TV executive   

Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News, has been named the new president of the ABC Television Group of the Walt Disney Company. Sherwood has been one of the most talked-about executives in TV as he helped to raise the profile of lagging Good Morning America, ABC's then third place morning show. The show had trailed NBC's Today Show for 16 years. The current president, Anne M. Sweeney, announced her resignation two weeks ago, after turning down a new three-year contract, surprising many.  

 Ross celebrates 40th anniversary
According to David Ross, CEO, with 23 years of continued growth, Ross Video can truly celebrate reaching 40 years. According to Ross, their solutions have been among the few doing well even in the depressed EMEA zone in the past several years.

Beacon website asks readers to fund independent journalists  

 Will readers pay for coverage by virtually unknown independent - often very young - journalists? A start-up called Beacon is asking them to do just that. Not all are totally unknown.  One, Shane Bauer, gained notoriety while imprisoned in Iran after hiking perilously close to the Iraq/Iran boarder. Using Kick-starter and other fund raising methods, Beacon is appealing directly to readers to support their journalists.    

Media General Acquisition creates second largest local TV group owner

Media General said last week it would acquire LIN Media for 1.6 billion.  That  translates to the acquisition of 74 stations in 46 markets covering 26.5 million households or nearly 23% of the TV market in the U. S.   

Box, a Cloud storage player, mounts an IPO

Hoping to raise over $250 million from an IPO, Box, a Los Altos, California-based Cloud storage company, has announced a filing to occur next month. 


Other strong players in Cloud include DropBox, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Founded in 2005, Box reported 2013 income of $124.2 million.


Comcast and Time Warner deal causes an official to recuse himself

William J. Baer, lead anti-trust official, has announced that he will not participate in the U. S. Justice Department's review of the pending Comcast takeover of Time Warner. He has chosen to recuse himself in the controversy raging over the pending deal between Comcast and Time Warner, citing a potential conflict of interest rising from his former representation of NBC-Universal when it was taken over by Comcast in 2011.  

Apple seeks to get cozy with Comcast

As if sensing a growing opportunity nearly at hand in the pending Comcast - Time Warner deal, COMCAST LOGO Apple has sought to get a deal of its own with Comcast that would enable streaming an on-line TV service, based on its set-top boxes that can bypass TV congestion for faster 'last mile' service delivery.


Google announces smart watch software

Google and Apple are coming to a wrist near you. That seems to be the case for Google as it prepares to adjust its Android operating system to accommodate the expected rush to smart watches. This move also corresponds to Google's planned outreach to app designers for the same purpose.


Stylish watches are smart, too

The Pebble smart watch may be intelligent but it can also look sexy.  At $250, the Pebble can accommodate either Android or Apple iPhone software.  In addition, there are plans to offer hundreds of apps that wearers can utilize 'Dick Tracy style.' There's even a Ramen Timer to make sure that after you've spent all your pay on the watch you won't burn your noodles. Hey Bam Bam, how about using your noodle instead?


Cord cutters increase their viewing time

TV's new Golden Age may involve a lot of cord-cutting by youngsters.  Neilsen reports that the average viewer is watching 15 hours per month of time-shifted TV. With so many programs logged and available on-line, and the inclination to time-shift so embedded among so many viewers, the number of hours viewed at will is growing substantially.

Barco acquires X20

The Dutch equipment giant, Barco has acquired X20 in an attempt to further its portfolio beyond display and projection technologies. The price tag was reported as $19 million. The object was to better enable Barco to deliver cross-platform solutions and better workflow to customers. 

D.I.S. is the industry's longest running and most often used market research and consulting services providing vendor. The company has served more than 1,600 mainly manufacturer clients, since 1982.  D.I.S. is a strategic partner of The NAB Show and China Infomedia.

Douglas I. Sheer
D.I.S. Consulting Corporation