Tuesday, June 30, 2009

HD models taking over PVR market

SCOTTSDALE, USA: The personal video recorder (PVR) market is continuing to grow, fueled by high-definition models (HD), reports In-Stat.

“Demand for HD units has increased dramatically recently,” says Mike Paxton, In-Stat analyst. “Over the past 18 months, HD PVR product unit shipments have not only surpassed SD PVR product unit shipments, they now account for nearly ¾ of all PVR product shipments.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

* Global PVR unit shipments exceeded 25 million in 2008.
* Multi-room or “whole home” PVR service has become available in an increasing number of cities in the US over the last year.
* On a regional basis, growth of PVR products is much stronger in Asia Pacific and Europe, compared to the more mature North American market.
* Over one-fourth of US survey respondents were extremely or very interested in multi-room PVR capability.

Genoa Pixcale reduces power by 40pc for smartphone displays

HERZLIYA, ISRAEL: Genoa Color Technologies announced Pixcale technology to address the twin challenge of delivering longer battery life and vivid TV-quality color on high-resolution mobile phone displays.

The company’s customized implementation of its patented multi-primary technology lets mobile handset makers reduce the power consumed in phone displays by 40 percent, while providing improved image appearance, incurring virtually no increase in cost.

Genoa’s multi-primary technology, while new to the smartphone market, is already fully developed, proven, and implemented in digital projectors, and in numerous LCD TV panels.

“A steady increase in screen size and resolution, phone features, and mobile applications has placed progressively greater power demands on phone batteries. As such, the industry is facing an acute problem, desperately looking for ways to reduce mobile device power consumption,” said Ilan Ben-David, CEO of Genoa Color Technologies.

“By adopting our Pixcale technology, handset makers can improve the total battery life of a mobile device by 15 percent. This not only benefits service providers looking to monetize airtime, it also benefits end-user adopters of rich-media applications and content.”

"Genoa's solution has strong market potential for two key reasons. First, the company is targeting the fastest growing segments in the mobile phone market, i.e., smart phones and high end feature phones,” said Chris Crotty, Director, Small and Medium Displays, DisplaySearch. “Second, Genoa's solution is minimally disruptive to a supply chain that is sometimes resistant to technological advances."

The display module consumes 50% of the typical smartphone power budget, making such significant power reduction in the display module exceedingly attractive to handset makers. Genoa’s multi-primary technology offers a 35-50 percent backlight power savings in mobile device display modules. And because the added color filters represent only 4 percent of the total cost of Genoa’s solution, the cost impact to manufacturers is negligible.

Genoa’s multi-primary technology augments standard RGB displays with a richer color palette comprised of RGBCY (red, green, blue, cyan, and yellow), resulting in a more vivid and natural display of media content. The technology offers better brightness efficiency, through careful filter selection and through Genoa’s Pixcale algorithms. The result is improved image performance and ambient light viewing for mobile content consumers.

Pixcale is based on established LCD manufacturing processes. Genoa’s plans to license the Pixcale technology to handset makers, allowing them to access their existing supply chain of LCD manufacturers for the displays.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

May large area TFT LCD shipments -- Samsung leads with 27.5pc

AUSTIN, USA: May 2009 shipments of large-area TFT LCD panels 43.3 million units, up 8 percent M/M and 6 percent Y/Y, according to the most recent DisplaySearch Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database. The 43.3 million units also represent the highest on record for the past 12 months.

On a unit basis, LG Display was the leader with 25.2 percent market share, followed by Samsung with 24.6 percent, and AUO with 17.9 percent. Large area TFT LCD revenues reached $4.7 billion, showing 15 percent M/M growth, but 35 percent lower than May 2008, an indication of how far prices declined in Q4’08 and Q1’09.

In terms of shipment volume, May’s shipment results indicate a continuation of the large-area TFT LCD industry’s recovery. DisplaySearch forecasts that shipments will increase again in June, and that the panel supply situation will continue to tighten in June and July, which will result in higher revenues.

All three major applications — notebook PC, monitor and TV — showed M/M growth. DisplaySearch’s research found that LCD TV panels had the highest M/M growth at 14 percent, followed by notebook panels at 7 percent, and monitor panels at 5 percent. The Premium Version of the Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database includes shipment data by suppliers for each application and screen size.

Table 1: Monthly Large-Area TFT LCD Panel Shipments and Growth (millions)Source: DisplaySearch May 2009 Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database

Large-area TFT LCD shipments reached 6.6 million square meters in May, up 10 percent M/M and 12 percent Y/Y, and the highest level in more than a year. The growth in shipment area was mainly driven by TV panels. Samsung led in area shipments with a 27.5 percent market share, followed by LG Display at 25.6 percent, CMO at 16 percent, and AUO with 15.9 percent.

In addition to large-area TFT LCDs, the Monthly TFT LCD Shipment Database also tracks 5.0” to 11.6” mini-note PC (netbook) panel shipments. Mini-note panel shipments were 3.1 million in May, almost flat from April. AUO led in shipments, passing HannStar, which had been the leader in mini-note panel shipments since January.

Several panel makers have entered the mini-note market since May, including Innolux in Taiwan and InfoVision in China. At the same time, panel makers such as CMO, AUO, LG Display and Samsung have started to ship 11.6” panels for mini-note PCs.

According to David Hsieh, Vice President of DisplaySearch, “May results are encouraging for panel makers, as they reflect a healthy recovery in demand.” He added: “Considering the current end-market demand and the limited supply of glass substrates, as well as the low panel inventories, we expect that shortage conditions will continue. In June, both panel shipments and prices continue to increase, and we expect to see additional price increases in July.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Glass shortage won’t derail Black Friday LCD TV deals

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Although pricing for LCD panels used in televisions now is rising due an acute shortage of glass, the shortfall is expected to be resolved in time for the all-important holiday buying season, allowing LCD-TV brands to offer their customary Black Friday deals, according to iSuppli Corp.

Amid an extreme oversupply situation in the fourth quarter of 2008, suppliers of glass for the kinds of large-sized LCD panels used in televisions started cutting capacity to less than 50 percent of full utilization at the end of 2008, according to Sweta Dash, senior director, LCD research, for iSuppli. Some glass makers even shut down some of their glass-producing tanks.

Because of this, panel suppliers now are unable to increase their LCD panel production capacity despite strong television demand from China and other regions. Global prices for large-sized LCD panels are expected to rise for a fifth consecutive month in June.

However, this situation is not expected to last, with prices for nearly all sizes of LCD-TV panels peaking in September and commencing a decline that will persist through the remainder of 2009 and into 2010.

This will help pave the way for the customary round of price reductions and Black Friday deals that historically have driven LCD-TV sales during the holiday selling season.

“If the LCD-TV brands hope to come anywhere near their sales targets for 2009, they will have to offer aggressive pricing deals during Black Friday and the following weeks,” said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst, television, for iSuppli. “If the deals don't materialize, sales this year will fall well short of predictions.”

Pricing for 32-inch 720p (progressive) scan LCD-TVs are expected to decline to $480 by November, with Black Friday specials possibly as low as $299. This is down from an average of $634 in June.

For 42-inch Full High-Definition (HD) or 1080p sets, pricing in November will fall to $628, down from $856 in June. Black Friday specials could be as low as $499.

Fig. 1 presents the pricing trends for popular sizes of LCD-TVs.Source: iSuppli, June 2009

Priceless pricing
While LCD-TV buyers have increased their focus on factors like picture quality, pricing remains a critical element in influencing purchasing decisions.

The phenomenon has been apparent this month, when LCD-TV sales are softening due to the cessation of pricing deals offered in April and May.

“Once the price deals went away, demand went away,” Patel said.

Pricing is the key factor driving consumers to recommend an LCD-TV model or brand to their friends and family members, according to iSuppli’s US TV Consumer Preference Analysis Service, which uses surveys to determine American consumer attitudes.

Beyond reduced panel costs, television brands also are set to reduce prices by utilizing less expensive sales channels.

“Consumers are becoming more comfortable with buying LCDs from Internet retailers and mass merchandisers, and they have become more concerned about paying too much for a television set,” Patel observed. “These outlets offer TVs at lower prices than traditional electronics specialty stores.”

With the essential Black Friday deals expected to make their annual appearance, iSuppli recently boosted its forecast of 2009 LCD-TV sales to 123 million units, up from 110 million before.

iSuppli Fig. 2: Global LCD-TV Sales Forecast (Millions of Units)Source: iSuppli, June 2009

Pain in the glass
In the meantime, the LCD panel market will continue to struggle with the glass shortage issue.

Unlike some raw materials, whose production can be ramped up quickly to meet changes in the level of demand, it takes time for glass makers to restore manufacturing to previous levels.

Depending on the level of deactivation of a glass furnace, it may take from one to six months to restore it to full production. Because of this, iSuppli expects the glass shortage won’t be resolved until September, by which time panel suppliers will be able to increase capacity and expand supply.

Because of these challenges, glass makers traditionally have been very judicious in their capacity and utilization—which makes the oversupply situation seen this year as even more of rarity in the LCD glass business.

Fortunately, the process of relighting furnaces has begun, paving the way for a strong year in the LCD-TV business. iSuppli predicts global LCD-TV sales will rise 23.5 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.

Tektronix is tech support partner at Philips Connectivity

BANGALORE, INDIA: Tektronix Inc. has joined hands with Philips Electronics India Ltd as the technology support partner to host Philips Connectivity Plugfest 01.

Philips Plugfest, spread over three days, focused on connectivity domains including HDMI and HDMI CEC, DLNA/UPnP and Bluetooth. A unique feature of the event was the emphasis on live testing whereby customers could get their products tested live on the spot at the “Tek Experience Zone”.

According to Jelle Rieske, Senior Director, Consumer Lifestyle, Philips Innovation Campus: “This year’s Plugfest attracted companies that are developing products in the connectivity domain. The participants of the Plugfest were also shown the HDMI ATC (Authorized Test Center) that Philips has set up, at Bangalore, with Tektronix. This ATC also certifies products from our competitors which benefits the end customer as it also allows devices to seamlessly work together and deliver the experience they are looking for.”

“Plugfests are good for learning and problem-solving as many of the products tested here are still in the development phase, “said Naresh Narasimhan, Country Marketing Manager, Tektronix India, ‘Being the worldwide leader in high speed serial data test, Tektronix is very pleased to work with Philips to help improve the overall knowledge level of the local design community and to speed the time-to-market of their products.”

The just concluded Plugfest saw 15 companies participating including consumer electronics and semiconductor companies working on high speed serial data technologies. In all, 29 of their products were tested at the Tek Experience Zone.

In addition to being able to see and use the latest Tektronix test solutions for advanced high speed serial technologies, participants were also able to ask questions and receive advice from Tektronix technical experts onsite.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sanraa Media launches new facility for animation, gaming

CHENNAI, INDIA: Chennai-based Sanraa Media Ltd, a BSE-listed media technology company, today inaugurated its new state-of-the-art facility at the city’s upscale Perungudi area, heralding the creation of a world class studio with the finest infrastructure for Animation, Gaming and new media technology.

Touted as the country’s only outfit offering the services of a production house, visual effects studio and design firm all rolled in one, Sanraa Media has developed this facility across a sprawling 24,000 Sqft area that can house around 500 people.

The facility was launched by Honorable Minister for Information Technology, Government of Tamil Nadu Dr. Tmt. Poongothai amidst representatives and enthusiasts of Gaming, Animation and Production businesses. British Deputy High Commissioner, Mike Connor was the Guest of Honour at the function.

The launch has further boosted Sanraa Media’s most recent, 2 million-pound co-production deal with Endemol UK PLC, London for the production of the 3D Animated Series -– “The 99”.

The animated series is based on the illustrated comics “The 99”, owned and published by the Teshkeel Media Group, Kuwait. Sanraa Media Ltd is working on the entire production for the 3D Animated Series comprising 26 episodes. The co-production deal also entitles Sanraa Media Limited to the rights of distributing the series in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Srilanka and Thailand. The production that commenced in January this year is likely to go on till October 2010.

Business Head, Endemol, UK, Andy Ward, was also present on the occasion.

Accomplishing itself as a one-stop shop for providing a range of digital and media services attracting national and international clients and the best people to work on them, the new facility is set to pride itself of an eclectic mix of management expertise and animation talent.

With a similar creative studio in Bangalore, the company has already showcased its expertise in Film Production, Graphics, Animation, Web Streaming and Gaming. The new facility will enhance the company’s profile of being one of the biggest and the best-equipped media technology facilities in the country.

Speaking at the launch, Chairman of Sanraa Media, A. Venkataramani said: “Being a listed entity and to give high value return to our investors, we will be continuously looking at expansion through acquisitions and co-productions in India and abroad. We are focusing on companies with strong IP creation base and with excellent international marketing tie ups.”

Sukumar Subramanian, Director Strategy and Planning, Sanraa Media, felt that the existing co-production deals with companies abroad will further position its international services business strongly for the future.

“Sanraa Media is looking at expanding its business by establishing business units in UK and US. It is also in the process of tie-ups with strategic partners in UK for creating new products," he added.

Uma Karthikeyan, Director Business and Operations, Sanraa Media noted: “With a model which focuses on all aspects such as IP Creation, Technology and talent pool creation, Sanraa Media sees a great opportunity for Animation Companies across the world. We have a very unique business model in place and we are looking at achieving a turnover of around 100 crore in the next three to four years.”

Gomez launches free cross-browser compatibility testing tool

LEXINGTON, USA: Gomez Inc., a leader in Web application experience management, has introduced a free Web-based tool that automatically tests how Web sites look in four commonly-used combinations of browsers and operating systems (OS), saving Web teams time and money.

After simply entering a URL, the free Gomez Cross-Browser Compatibility Test returns screen captures of the Web page in each browser/OS combination, revealing content-rendering issues such as missing graphics, function buttons or text. The Gomez Cross-Browser Compatibility Test can be accessed at: http://instanttest.gomez.com.

New, popular browsers like Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 8 and Google Chrome use more client-side processing and have different ways of handling dynamic content such as JavaScript, increasing the risk of performance issues for Web pages and transactions.

But testing Web application compatibility across every browser type, version and OS is time-consuming and expensive. Few organizations have the infrastructure or resources to build and maintain their own testing environment.

Gomez’s new Cross-Browser Compatibility Test provides a simple, free, and on-demand way to identify content-rendering issues by testing any Web page on the following four frequently-used combinations of browsers/OS:

* Internet Explorer 6.0 on Windows XP
* Internet Explorer 7.0 on Windows XP
* Safari 3.2.1 on Macintosh OSX 10.5
* Safari 2.0 on Macintosh OSX 10.4

The Cross-Browser Compatibility Test is a free version of Gomez’s full cross-browser testing solution which automatically tests Web and mobile applications on over 500 browsers, OS and device combinations -- including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera browsers, Windows, Linux and Macintosh OS, and iPhone, Google Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile smartphones -- to ensure compatibility, functionality, and performance.

“Web pages can look and perform differently from one browser to another,” said Eric Schurr, Gomez’s SVP of Marketing. “In today’s economy, businesses can’t afford to risk losing even one customer or one dollar of revenue because their Web applications don’t work properly on a browser or mobile device. Gomez’s Cross-Browser Compatibility Test reduces this risk while also saving time and money.”

Octopus brings streaming stereo music to iPhone

UK: The Version 3 iPhone software, officially released last week by Apple, enables users to stream music to Bluetooth devices in stereo (via A2DP).

This is great news for users of Tattu Mobile’s Octopus stereo Bluetooth adapter –- now they can stream music on their iPhone to an iPod docking station, whilst continuing to use the iPhone in their hand.

Uniquely, the Octopus has an iPod docking station adapter, enabling iPhone users to listen to their favourite tracks whilst still surfing the net, looking at pictures or playing games. The iPhone does not need to be attached to the dock to stream music.

Andy Press, Chief Operating Officer for Tattu Mobile said: “The release of the new iPhone software means that for the first time, iPhone users can stream their music in stereo by Bluetooth. By linking the iPhone and Octopus, users can listen to music without having to leave their phone on their iPod docking station, so they can continue to use their phone and listen to music in stereo at the same time.”

iPhone users can also now also transform their iPod dock into a speaker phone by connecting their iPhone to Octopus and streaming their calls to the iPod dock.

Octopus boasts outstanding call quality and music streaming and is simple to set up and use. It can be charged on any iPod docking station or directly with the charger in the box. With a battery life of six hours of continuous music, Octopus has enough power for users to enjoy their music wherever they want.

The Octopus Bluetooth adapter comes from Tattu Mobile, an innovative UK company that provides enhanced experiences for mobile users. It is available now from Tattu Mobile’s web site.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

USB market will get SuperSpeed boost after slower 2009

SCOTTSDALE, USA: Although the global recession will prompt a slight decline in USB-enabled device shipments this year, next-generation “SuperSpeed” technology will fuel the market over the next several years, reports In-Stat.

SuperSpeed, USB’s new incarnation, will deliver 5Gbps, a ten-fold improvement over high-speed USB. With the late 2008 introduction of SuperSpeed, the question is not whether it will be successful, but how successful it will be.

“All PCs, and most PC peripherals have transitioned from full-speed to high-speed. Most of these devices will eventually transition to SuperSpeed, the only issue is the speed of the transition,” says Brian O’Rourke, In-Stat analyst. “For PC peripheral devices, the key will be how quickly SuperSpeed is integrated into the application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and microcontrollers that are the brains of these devices.”

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:
* With over three billion devices shipped in 2008 alone, USB is the most successful interface ever. It has been broadly adopted across PCs, PC peripherals, consumer electronics (CE), communications and automotive devices.
* Consumer electronics devices with USB will rise at a 6.6 percent CAGR between 2008 and 2013.
* Although mini-USB ports have not made significant progress as a connector on mobile phones, micro-USB ports are expected to become the dominant standard for connectors in mobile phones by 2013.
* USB in computer mice will remain the single highest volume PC peripheral category.
* SuperSpeed USB will represent over 25 percent of the USB market by 2013.

Electronics shopping is horrendous!

SUNNYVALE, USA: The thrill is gone! Shopping for electronic products such as digital cameras, camcorders, TVs, or other popular gadgets is no fun anymore, and consumers are totally fed up, according to the latest Retrevo Gadgetology study that reveals how people feel about the process of figuring out what product to buy, when to buy it, and where to get the best price available.

Close to 90 percent of respondents to the independent survey conducted for Retrevo expressed strong discontent with the electronics shopping process, saying it should be better than reading and comparing product specs and reviews. Most respondents agreed that shopping should be more fun.

“Electronics are an integral part of every person’s daily life, but the rate of change has outstripped people’s ability to make sense of what’s available and what best meets their needs,” said Vipin Jain, president and CEO of Retrevo. “Our mission is to make electronics shopping simple and fun again. This research indicates a very large, ready and willing market for something better than the status quo today.”

Ripped-off is the best way to describe how most shoppers are feeling, the study revealed. An overwhelming majority said they have purchased an electronics product that was soon replaced by a newer product after they purchased it, while most said they feared they didn't get the best deal and may have paid more than they had too.

Geek-speak has also become a serious problem. More than 80% of both men and women said they have been confused by tech jargon from either a sales person or web site and many said they have walked out of a store because they didn’t feel they had enough unbiased information to make a smart, confident purchase.

Retrevo’s Gadgetology study was conducted by an independent survey service. The sample size was 646 distributed across gender, age, income and location across the United States. Standard deviation for most questions was 0.498 with a standard error of 0.019.

Global digital media growth slowed to 0.9 percent in Q1

BOSTON, USA: The Q1 2009 Global Digital Media Index (DMI) from the Strategy Analytics Digital Media Strategies Service, which analyzes quarterly revenue growth trends for leading digital media companies across advertising, video, music, games, social media and content delivery networks, and measures growth for the digital media sector on a quarterly and annual trailing 12 months (TTM) basis, shows that along with the worsened economic environment, digital media revenue growth continues to drop since Q1 2008.

The Strategy Analytics Digital Media Index grew only 0.9 percent in Q1 2009 on a seasonally adjusted annual TTM basis, down from 3.4 percent in Q4 2008 and from 6.6 percent in Q1 2008.

On a year-over-year basis, quarterly digital media revenues grew 3.6 percent in Q1 2009, down from 29.2 percent in Q1 2008. While the prolonged economic recession decelerates digital media growth significantly, digital media companies, based on consumer-paid models, are withstanding the economic downturn better than companies focused on advertising.

“Although many digital media companies will still choose the advertising revenue model given the relative ease of gaining user traffic, Strategy Analytics believes that the consumer-paid model is more resilient in the recession as it maximizes the value of content.” commented Jia Wu, Analyst at Strategy Analytics Digital Media Practice and author of the DMI.

“As the US digital media market’s major players suffer from revenue decline, the international market—in particular the European and Asian markets—is still weathering the economic downturn,“ said Martin Olausson, Director of Digital Media Strategies (DMS) at Strategy Analytics. “This indicates that international expansion could be one of the solutions for digital media companies struggling with US market growth.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Can Europe cut road deaths in half by next year?

EL SEGUNDO, USA: The European Union (EU) and the European Commission (EC) have adopted the admirable goal of cutting the number of deaths on the region’s roads seen in 2001 in half by 2010.

But despite Europe’s aggressive initiatives that include the use of promising Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS), this lofty goal is unlikely to hit its target, according to iSuppli Corp.

“The European Union in 2001 experienced 1,300,000 accidents, resulting in 1,700,000 injuries and 40,000 deaths,” observed Jeremy Carlson, researcher for ADAS and EMEA automotive at iSuppli. “Europe’s efforts up to this point have resulted in a 27 percent decrease in road deaths in 2008, which is certainly a noteworthy achievement. However, given the drawn-out EU decision process, the lengthy automotive product life cycle, and the fact that the only ADAS safety technology currently mandated is Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Europe is unlikely to reach this target.”

The EU and the EC have been active in proposing new initiatives to help accomplish its goal. Involving every entity from national governments to public authorities and private enterprises, the EC sought to bring together the individual stakeholders in order to share ideas and best practices, and to instill a sense of shared responsibility in this life-saving goal.

Many of these initiatives and discussions involve ADAS technologies, which include ultrasonic and camera park-assist, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind-spot detection systems.

European road safety charter
First among these initiatives is the European Road Safety Charter. The charter is the largest existing road safety platform, encompassing all 27 EU member states and including more than 1,100 public authorities and private entities as signatories. The charter invites public and private organizations to specifically and actively contribute to the realization of Europe’s auto safety goal.

Among the Charter’s efforts is encouraging the adoption of proven ADAS safety technologies.

Unfortunately, many safety technologies such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot detection systems have not had the luxury of time and widespread availability to sufficiently prove they can reduce accidents or deaths.

As a result, many of these new ADAS solutions are relegated to research while the tried-and-true technologies such as seat belts and airbags find their way to the legislative front.

Currently, the European Road Safety Charter is pursuing a requirement for seat-belt reminders in passenger vehicles and now requires that all heavy goods vehicles be equipped with blind-spot mirrors on the passenger side to help protect bikers and pedestrians. The requirement of these side-object detection systems by the EC acknowledges the importance of blind-spot safety and could lead to the consideration of radar- and camera-based detection and recognition systems in the future.

The EC also has nominated driver monitoring, collision avoidance and mitigation, pedestrian protection, and visibility systems such as night vision as potential candidates for worthwhile research.

Roads, cars get smart
The Charter and other European initiatives involve the development of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). The proposals could also lead to more navigation-enabled ADAS systems that benefit from mindfully-designed roadways.

Furthermore, the EC’s Intelligent Car Initiative formed in February 2006 was conceived to advance the use of intelligent technologies in automobiles to help make them smarter, safer and cleaner. Naturally, this initiative works side by side with the Charter to help achieve Europe’s goal, although it was not designed specifically for that purpose.

The Intelligent Car Initiative includes the eSafety Forum, which aims to accelerate the development and deployment of intelligent information and communication technologies by building consensus among industry stakeholders.

The latest research agenda from the eSafety Forum included insight into ADAS technologies, including collision avoidance. As a directive for future research and development, the results indicate that current collision mitigation systems should evolve into full-collision-avoidance systems with a focus on reducing costs for deployment in small- and medium-sized cars, although it provides no specific action to reach that goal.

SMART announces widescreen interactive pen display

NEW DELHI, INDIA: SMART Technologies announces the SMART Podium ID422w (formerly Sympodium), the latest addition to SMART’s line of interactive pen displays, which includes the ID350 and the ID370. With 40 percent more interactive workspace than the ID370, the ID422w is the company’s first widescreen interactive pen display.

High-definition resolution, a 16:9 aspect ratio and 22" (56 cm) display combine to deliver sharp image quality and exceptional performance. The ID422w is ideal for educators and business professionals who want to add interactivity to lessons or presentations in large boardrooms, auditoriums and classrooms.

It connects to a computer and a projector, and outputs everything done on the pen display to a large screen so audiences can see. Users write directly on the screen with the pen, and save and share materials using SMART Notebook software, helping them add visual impact to lessons or presentations.

SMART Podium ID422w has a wide variety of features, including an aspect ratio that is compatible with widescreen laptop and desktop computer monitors, preventing any letter-boxing or distortion. It has an intuitive, easy-to-learn interface for confident presenting and lesson delivery. Installation is simple and maintenance is low.

A battery-free, tethered pen enables users to write in digital ink over displayed content, and the tether ensures the pen remains attached. The screen only recognizes input from the pen, so users can rest their hand on the screen in a natural writing position. The SMART Podium ID422w integrates seamlessly with other SMART products, including the SMART Board interactive whiteboard, and ships with SMART Notebook software. It will be available in fall 2009.

“Interactive pen displays are an easy way to add interactivity to any meeting room, classroom or auditorium,” says Nancy Knowlton, SMART’s CEO. “SMART Podium ID422w continues SMART’s tradition of excellence in interactive displays by providing more workspace, a clear image and intuitive use for long-term value for our customers.”

Widescreen – 16:9 aspect ratio provides 40 percent more workspace than SMART Podium ID370, a 4:3 interactive pen display.
High-definition image – Resolution is compatible with laptop or desktop monitors.
Adjustable tilt-stand – For comfortable writing angle.
Save and share notes – Save and e-mail notes to participants directly from the ID422w.
Low maintenance – Virtually maintenance free.
Battery-free, tethered pen – Enables users to control computer with pen and write over any application in digital ink. No batteries to replace and the tether ensure pen remains attached.
Easy-access control buttons – Allow users to turn the display on, change pen color, adjust display properties, switch from mouse to pen mode and launch the onscreen keyboard and floating tools.
Scaling options and support – Supports 16:10 and 4:3 resolutions with flexible scaling options; connects to computer and projector by either DVI/HDMI or VGA.
SMART product integration – Seamless integration with other SMART products; ships with SMART Notebook software.

Pricing and availability
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is Rs. 1,71,306.75. The suggested education list price is Rs. 1,36,706.50. The actual list price in other countries depends on applicable taxes, duties and importation costs. The product will be available in early fall 2009 from authorized SMART resellers.

Top five makers to produce 89.2pc of global large-area TFT LCDs by area in 2009

AUSTIN, USA: Production of TFT LCD panels is continuously evolving, as different panels of different sizes and applications are made on the most appropriate generation fabs based on utilization and cost efficiency.

In unit terms, 34.3 percent of large-area (10”+) TFT LCD panels were made on Gen 7 lines in Q1’09, up from 32.5 percent in Q4’08, according to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area Production Strategy Report. DisplaySearch defines Gen 7 to include 1870 × 2200 mm and 1950 × 2250 mm (defined by some as Gen 7.5) substrate sizes.

In Q1’09, 2.3 percent of all panels were produced on Gen 4 and below, 24.4 percent on Gen 5, 4.4 percent on Gen 5.5, 23.9 percent on Gen 6, 34.3 percent on Gen 7, and 10.8 percent on Gen 8, in unit terms (see Table 1).

TFT LCD makers are shifting more production to larger fabs. In Q1’10, the share of large-area TFT LCD panels produced on Gen 8 lines (which DisplaySearch defines to include 2160 × 2460 mm and 2200 × 2500 mm sizes) will increase to 19.4 percent, and 2.8 percent will be produced on Gen 10 lines.

Table 1: Large Area TFT LCD Production Unit Share by Fab GenerationSource: DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area Production Strategy Report

By application in Q1’09, 77.6 percent of mini-note PC (netbook) panels and 82.8 percent of notebook PC panels were made on Gen 5 lines. Since Gen 5 glass substrates are in shortage, the supply of notebook PC panels is expected to be tight in the next few months. About 3.4 percent of notebook panels were made in Gen 6, mainly by LG Display and CPT.

In Q1’09, 43.2 percent of monitor panels were made on Gen 5 lines, the first time Gen 5 production of monitor panels fell below 50 percent. DisplaySearch forecasts that in Q4’09, 55.7 percent of LCD monitor panels will be made in Gen 6 and larger fabs. Interestingly, 4.4 percent of LCD monitor panels were made on Gen 8 lines in Q1’09, solely due to Samsung 18.5”W and 21.5”W monitor panels.

In terms of TV, Gen 7 has a 47.7 percent share of TV panels; 29.8 percent were made on Gen 6 lines and 16.4 percent on Gen 8. In Q4’09, DisplaySearch forecasts that 28.4 percent of TV panels will be made on Gen 8 lines, compared to 23.3 percent on Gen 6.

The DisplaySearch Quarterly Large-Area Production Strategy Report discloses TFT LCD suppliers’ production plans, by size, application and generation. The top five TFT LCD makers are expected to account for 89.2 percent of panel production by area in 2009, a big leap from the 74.8 percent in 2008.

In total, TFT LCD makers are planning to input 105 million square meters of glass substrate for large-area panels in 2009, which represents 15.5 percent growth from the 90.9 million square meters in 2008.

Samsung is expected to lead TFT LCD production with 28.9 million square meters input in 2009, or 27.5 percent of the total, followed by LG Display at 25 million square meters, or 23.8 percent share. AUO is expected to rank third with 17 million square meters and 16.2 percent share, followed by CMO at 16.8 million square meters and 16 percent share, and Sharp will be fifth with 6 million square meters input and 5.7 percent share.

“DisplaySearch expects that TFT LCD production will experience another new wave of changes as Gen 8 production is increasing, and Gen 10 is expected to come on line by Q4’09. Production of smaller size panels in large fabs will increase, as it enables flexibility, and this will change the product mix,” said David Hsieh, vice president of DisplaySearch and leader of large-area TFT LCD research.

Hsieh continued: “Many monitor and TV panels are produced on the same generation lines, so when TV panels are in shortage, the monitor panel market becomes tight as well. On the other hand, the high production share of the top five large-area TFT LCD panel suppliers indicates that the large-area TFT LCD market is moving to new level of concentration.”

DisplaySearch revises worldwide TV forecasts

AUSTIN, USA: Better than expected results in Q1’09 for developed markets, especially for LCD TVs, together with increased stimulus spending by governments, particularly in China, have improved the outlook for TV demand in 2009.

Although total TV shipments are still projected to decline slightly to near 200M units worldwide, LCD TV is still poised for unit growth. DisplaySearch has raised the forecast for 2009 worldwide LCD TV sales from 120 million to 127 million units, as LCD takes share from CRT at a faster pace and the global TV market hurries along in the transition to flat panel technologies.

Despite this, LCD TV revenues are still projected to decline about 6 percent in 2009 due to price erosion and the strong shift in volume to discount retail channels, such as Walmart in the US. This is a much shallower decline than previously forecast due to faster growth of advanced technologies like 120/240 Hz and LED backlight models.

Several key findings from the DisplaySearch Q2’09 Quarterly Advanced Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report have been revised:

Developed markets are starting 2009 with strong growth and emerging markets are transitioning from CRT to LCD faster than expected. DisplaySearch’s 2009 LCD TV unit forecast is increased from 120 million units to 127 million units, a 21 percent growth over 2008 and a 63 percent share of global TV shipments.

The 2009 revenue outlook was increased from $66 billion to $76 billion, primarily based on rising LCD panel costs since April that will drive slower ASP erosion in the second half of 2009.

“This is good news for global LCD TV revenues overall, but could have a negative impact on demand in developed markets, like North America where consumers are more sensitive to sale promotions and prices” noted Paul Gagnon, Director of North America TV Research. “Still, emerging markets offer tremendous growth opportunity, even at current price levels, and the slower ASP declines shouldn’t have a strong impact on rising demand.”

The 2009 LCD TV forecast for China was increased from 18.8 million units to 23.6 million units as the Chinese government fortified their rural home appliance purchase subsidy program and introduced additional incentives to consumers trading up from CRT to LCD in urban areas.

After the disastrous impact of the recession on global TV demand in Q4’08, DisplaySearch reduced its forecasts to account for uncertainty in the future economic outlook, as shown in Fig. 1 below. The revised forecast reflects the signs of life returning to the TV market.Source: Quarterly Advanced Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report

DisplaySearch is also now tracking shipments of 120 Hz and 240 Hz frame rate LCD TVs in 2009.

According to Vice President of TV Market Research Hisakazu Torii, “The shift to higher frame rates is critical to LCD TV manufacturers for increasing both performance and profitability, especially considering the rapid pace of commoditization in the category.”

"The 120 Hz frame rate models will account for 29 percent of LCD TV revenues worldwide in 2009, while 240 Hz will grab about 5 percent of revenues. By 2013, 120 Hz will account for 31 percent of LCD TV revenues, while 240 Hz accounts for more than 20 percent."Source: Quarterly Advanced Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report

Plasma TVs
Plasma (PDP) TV is expected to fall about 2 percent Y/Y to 14.1 million in 2009 after strong 28 percent growth in 2008. This outlook is down slightly from DisplaySearch’s previous forecast as a result of increased consumer preference overall for sub-40” screen sizes amid heightened price sensitivity during the recession.

The 1080p penetration continues to rise, accounting for 32 percent of plasma TV shipments in 2009, but quickly accelerating to more than 50 percent in 2010 and 80 percent by 2013.

DisplaySearch’s total global TV forecast is 200.4 million units in 2009, down 3 percent Y/Y, the first decline in total shipments in recent memory as the global recession and rising unemployment continue to take a toll on demand.

However, the slowdown will be temporary as the worldwide economy emerges from recession and new markets enter the initial stages of the flat panel and digital TV transition.

Global PC shipments plunge at historic rate in Q1

EL SEGUNDO, USA: Worldwide PC shipments in the first quarter fell by the largest historic rate in the seven years iSuppli Corp. has been tracking the market, as weaker-than-expected desktop sales dragged down the industry, according to iSuppli Corp.

PC shipments in the first quarter of 2009 amounted to 66.5 million units, an 8.1 percent decline from 72.3 million during the same period in 2008, and a 14.4 percent drop from 77.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

“The worldwide recession sparked by the credit crisis slammed PC shipments for the second quarter in succession during the first three months of 2009,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at iSuppli.

“The first-quarter performance of the worldwide PC market was worse than iSuppli had expected in its prior forecast, which called for a 4 percent decline in shipments compared to the same period in 2008. After a long period of immunity to the global downturn, the economic crisis finally has begun to impact the PC market.”

The desktop segment was the major culprit for the PC decline, with first-quarter unit shipments dropping by 23 percent compared to the same period in 2008. In contrast, notebook shipments grew 10 percent compared to the first quarter of 2008.Source: iSuppli, June 2009

Top-5 PC makers retain ranks
There were no changes in the rankings of the world’s Top-5 PC OEMs in the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier.

Hewlett-Packard remained the No.-1 PC OEM for the 11th successive quarter, with its shipments remaining flat from a year earlier at 13 million units. The company held a market share of 19.7 percent.

Dell experienced an 18.7 percent drop in PC unit shipments, declining to 8.8 million in the first quarter, compared to 10.8 million during the same period in the 2008. The company’s market share declined to 13.2 percent, down from 14.9 percent in the first quarter of 2008.

“Dell’s performance in the first quarter was heavily influenced by its weak desktop shipments, which dragged down its overall market share,” Wilkins said.

The remainder of the Top-5 was rounded out by the Asian PC OEMs, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba, which had market shares of 11.1, 6.7, and 5.2 percent, respectively.

Toshiba posted the strongest growth among the Top-5 on a percentage basis, with its shipments rising by 13.5 percent from a year earlier.

Platform exposure
iSuppli in the first quarter continued to observe strong netbook sales through network operator retail stores. The Top-5 PC OEMs cited sales through such outlets as driving demand for their netbook products.

“The bundling of a low-cost portable computer and an Internet access package clearly has struck a chord with consumers,” Wilkins said. “The reduced upfront pricing of such packages provided by monthly contract plans also has been a strong factor propelling their success.”

iSuppli predicts that netbooks will account for 14 percent of worldwide notebook PC shipments in 2009, up from 9 percent last year.

AUO, Sichuan Changhong in TFT-LCD module production plant JV

HSINCHU, TAIWAN: AU Optronics Corp. held a meeting of the Board of Directors on June 19, at which the Board approved a proposition of establishing a TFT-LCD module production plant joint venture with Sichuan Changhong Electric Co. Ltd in Gaoxing district, Mianyang City, Sichuan Province, China.

If the investment plan is approved by the Government, the joint venture is expected to form closer ties between AUO and the Chinese local brand maker, deepening AUO’s presence in West China, in addition to the Company’s existing business presences in East China and South China.

The Board of Directors of AUO and Sichuan Changhong agreed the name of the joint venture will be BVCH Optronics (Sichuan) Corp. with capital of RMB $100 million (US $15 million) at the initial stage. The joint venture will be owned 51:49 by AUO and Sichuan Changhong and its businesses will include LCD monitors, LCD TVs, photonic products and relevant components production, process, assembly, as well as repair services.

IME, Alcatel-Lucent to jointly develop advanced silicon photonics technology

PARIS, FRANCE & SINGAPORE: The Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute of Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research, and Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent’s research arm, recently signed a research collaboration agreement to jointly develop advanced photonics technology for next generation cost-effective high data-rate communication networks.

The need for service providers to meet the explosion in demand for new multimedia consumer content services and governments across the Asia Pacific region to provide citizens with access to broadband networks makes development of low cost, high data-rate communications particularly urgent.

According to IDC, Internet usage will increase by 550 million from 2006 to 2010 and the number of unique internet buyers will increase from 421 million to 686 million over the same period. Optical communications is well suited to meet this exponential demand because it supports data rates that exceed 10 Gbit/s, the highest speed at which copper-based networks operate and overcomes critical power consumption challenges and reach limitations.

Despite the benefits that optical communications offers, the improved performance comes at a cost, a challenge that the collaborative research programme between Alcatel-Lucent and IME will address by delivering increased performance at reduced cost.

Prof. Dim-Lee Kwong, Executive Director of IME, said: “We are very pleased to collaborate with Bell Labs in developing core technology for next generation high data-rate communications. Our collaboration will build upon developed modules with new generation of low cost integrated silicon-based photonic devices and improved processes. This partnership demonstrates our commitment in bringing impactful research to the industry.”

“This collaborative agreement with IME is important because it represents the next step in a series of programmes we have undertaken over the years with customers, government agencies, and academic institutions in Singapore,” said Dr Rod Alferness, Chief Scientist at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs. “It is a prime example of the value Bell Labs brings to partners around the world,” he added.

Monday, June 22, 2009

ELCINA-CKM workshop-cum-certification course on integrated management system

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The ELCINA Center for Knowledge Management is organizing a Workshop Cum Certification Course on Integrated Management System (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 & Internal Audits) on July 3-4, 2009, at ELCINA House, New Delhi.

Integrated Management System integrates all common requirements of various Management Systems viz. ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 to avoid multiplicity of documents, internal and external audits and management functions. This concept results in substantial savings of costs and time for organizations.

Why is Internal Audit necessary?
Internal audits are vital for the health of management systems. With the increasing attention towards quality (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001) and occupational health and safety (OHSAS 18001) Integration of Management Systems has become inevitable and auditing the same has become vital and a challenge for internal Auditors.

All companies with ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification will benefit. Also, organizations with any one of these certifications or planning to qualify for the same in the near future will benefit by training their members as qualified Internal Auditors.

Participation Charges
ELCINA & CEHA Members: Rs. 4,000 per participant (Rs. 4,412/- incl Service Tax).
Non-Members: Rs. 5,000 per participant (Rs. 5,515/- incl Service Tax).
(Service Tax 10.30 percent)

A 10 percent discount will be offered to companies sponsoring three or more participants. Maximum 20 participants will be accepted for the workshop on first come first serve basis.

Supported by
Council of Electronic Hardware Associations
( A Joint endeavor of CEAMA, ELCINA, ISA, MAIT & TEMA)

Silicon Image intros products with HDMI 1.4 for DTV, home theatre apps

SUNNYVALE, USA: Silicon Image Inc., a leader in semiconductors and intellectual property for the secure distribution, presentation and storage of high-definition (HD) content, today introduced the SiI9387 port processor and the SiI9334 transmitter, the first semiconductor products to incorporate the latest HDMI 1.4 specification features for digital TV (DTV) and home theatre applications.

The new devices offer a richer, more interactive HDMI entertainment experience by enabling new connectivity applications via Ethernet, such as Silicon Image’s LiquidHD technology.

The SiI9387 port processor and the SiI9334 transmitter support the following HDMI 1.4 specification features:

HDMI Ethernet Channel: Devices using these chips will be able to transmit and receive full duplex data at 100Mb/sec over an HDMI cable.
Audio Return Channel: Drives a high quality S/PDIF signal through a single HDMI cable, simplifying connectivity in the home theatre.
Content Type Bits: Optimize and enhance the HD viewing experience by automatically matching content type to video mode.

Silicon Image’s port processors are platforms for innovation that offer new features, technologies and standards for DTV HDMI ports that go above and beyond the basic HDMI switch function offered by analog switches. Port processors support multiple HDMI inputs and interfaces to the System-on-Chip (SoC) over HDMI technology.

In addition to the HDMI 1.4 features, the SiI9387 port processor also supports key differentiating Silicon Image technologies such as InstaPort for faster port switching between HDMI-enabled consumer electronics devices, and MHL Mobile High-Definition Link technology, a low pin count HD audio and video interface that connects portable electronics devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, camcorders and portable media players to HDTVs.

The SiI9334 transmitter also supports full 48-bit Deep Color for high-end audio/video receiver (AVR) and Blu-ray Disc player applications for exceptional rendering of trillions of colors in stunning detail.

“By integrating the HDMI Ethernet Channel feature of the HDMI 1.4 specification into the SiI9387 we continue to expand our innovations in port processors for DTVs,” said Waheed Rasheed, director of marketing at Silicon Image, Inc. “The HDMI Ethernet Channel simplifies the connectivity infrastructure that enables personal entertainment technologies like LiquidHD to bring new services and applications to the home.”

LiquidHD technology is a suite of protocols that runs over standard IP networks such as the HDMI Ethernet Channel. Designed to quickly and easily connect TVs, consumer electronics devices, personal computers, portable media devices, and home theaters into a seamless network, LiquidHD technology lets consumers enjoy their digital content from any LiquidHD-enabled source device on any LiquidHD-enabled display in the home.

LiquidHD technology over an HDMI 1.4 Ethernet channel provides the foundation for consumer electronics products to become simpler to connect and easier to use. For example, consumers can identify and control source devices connected to the TV, such as a Blu-ray Disc player or a Digital Video Recorder (DVR), using a single remote control.

The SiI9387 port processor and the SiI9334 transmitter are expected to sample in the second half of 2009.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Colulomb selects CTS for long-term manufacturing

ELKHART, USA: CTS Corp., a leading supplier of electronics manufacturing services, was awarded a new three-year manufacturing contract by Coulomb Technologies Inc., a leading provider of networked charging stations for plug-in vehicles.

CTS Electronics Manufacturing Solutions (CTS EMS) will become the prime supplier of manufactured products from design support, NPI and development, to high level assembly for ChargePoint Networked Charging Stations for electric vehicles.

Fulfillment and production support are planned from CTS’ facilities in US, Europe and Asia with production beginning in mid-2009. Revenues are likely to reach approximately $19 million over the program period.

Starting in late 2009, major OEMs are expected to introduce new alternative energy plug-in vehicles across Europe, North America and Asia. The anticipated demand and growth for these electrified vehicles will help reduce the cost of transportation fuel, greenhouse gas emissions and dependency on foreign oil.

Friday, June 19, 2009

World's smallest, thinnest and most covert GPS, GSM and RF tracking device

UK: CATS-i Ltd announced that the CATSi device so eagerly anticipated is finally coming out of R&D.

The CATSi, uses the smallest and lowest profile components available to create an extremely small and thin GPS,GSM and RF tracking product.

Designed to track almost any asset from pets and people through to cars, motorbikes and HGV's the CATSi will open up markets that have never been accessible to GPS tracking before.

The CATSi can come in several variants from completely waterproof to long battery life. The CATSi device is battery powered as standard but it can also be hardwired to vehicles or solar powered.

The CATSi’s main unique selling points are its dimensions: Depending upon the model that you need, the CATSi will measure from 45x35x12mm to 70x45x8mm (flexible).

The CATSi is designed to provide the best possible chance of recovering your "tracked" asset regardless of its current location. The inclusion of an RF beacon allows for accurate locating when hidden inside buildings and a new GSM location technology provided by a partner of CATS-i Ltd provides almost GPS-like accuracy in mapped areas.

The CATSi device is the most adaptable and versatile GPS tracking system available to date and the company are now looking to showcase the product from the 1st week in July 2009.

"it has been a long and often bumpy road to get here" says Lee Walkey, CATS-I Ltd’s Sales Director "but the end product is entirely worth it and we know that it will blow the GPS tracking industry wide open to almost any asset of value. The tracking of motor vehicles will no longer be the industry standard."

The CATSi will be priced to compete with almost any other similar system currently on the market, but its mass market consumer potential will be its driving focal point.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

HDcctv Alliance opens registration for membership in global security industry

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: HDcctv Alliance, the global security industry consortium established to manage technical standards for HDcctv equipment interoperability, announced that the organization is now open for membership.

Alliance members can log into the Website and gain access to non-public Alliance information. Members also participate in the development of HDcctv Interoperability Specification v1.0, planned for public distribution in September 2009, and will be invited to product category launch events in late September.

In an HDcctv-based system, HDTV signals are transmitted digitally over conventional CCTV media without packetization and without any perceivable compression latency. The aim of the Alliance is to guide standardization efforts and promotion of HDcctv.

"HDcctv is exciting, it is the first new product category for surveillance in perhaps ten years,” said Todd E. Rockoff, Ph.D., Chairman of HDcctv Alliance. “As a zero-training, plug-and-play resolution upgrade for the installed base, HDcctv promises to impact not only surveillance equipment makers, but the entire security services industry as the companies that provide HDcctv-based solutions out-compete those companies that do not offer HDcctv."

The Alliance’s membership, drawn from component and equipment manufacturers worldwide, includes Charter Members Gennum Corporation, EverFocus, Ovii, Stretch, and Comart System.

“As a recognized leader in signal integrity and long-reach A/V connectivity, Gennum is excited by the possibilities the Alliance represents,” said Vijay Sharma, director of A/V connectivity for Gennum. “We look forward to playing a pivotal role in the standardization process and contributing key technology to the HDcctv specifications, which will speed the adoption of high-definition equipment in the surveillance industry, ensure interoperability, and help minimize design risks for manufacturers.”

“HDcctv represents a compelling opportunity to simplify the path to high-resolution video,” states Michael Kimball, SVP of EverFocus’ ODM Business Unit. “We are working closely with our industry partners within the Alliance to develop standards for a next generation of TriBrid™ devices that accept and generate Analog, IP, and HDcctv inputs and outputs.”

“The formation of the HDcctv Alliance is a major milestone for the surveillance industry," said Craig Lytle, Stretch president and CEO. "Working with the Alliance, we have been able to successfully demonstrate the technology, and we will be in production with a new line of high-definition DVR cards using H.264 SVC encoding by the autumn of this year."

"The High-End Professional CCTV Security market will move from standard definition (SD) video to high definition (HD) video over the next few years," said Craig Scott, CEO of Optical Video Imaging Inc. (OVii). "Based on the establishment of an HDcctv Specification that meets the functional requirements of Professional CCTV and provides an open standard for interoperability, the migration will be accelerated by the formation of the HDcctv Alliance. OVii is developing HDcctv camera platforms and plans to introduce an HDcctv Camera line to our OEM/ODM Partners in Q3/2009."

The HDcctv Alliance recognizes that surveillance systems will continue to rely on IP video for integration beyond the premises such as back hauling video for remote access and additional storage. HDcctv systems may yet prove to be commercially superior to megapixel IP camera-based systems within the premises for most professional security applications.

HDcctv offers several advantages for the end user, compared to alternative ways of achieving high resolution:

* Surveillance-Grade Reliability: Video is not broken up into packets and then transmitted via an occasionally congested network.
* Plug-and-Play Resolution Upgrade: The transition from CCTV to HDcctv is very easy: just upgrade the DVR and selected cameras.
* Familiar and Reliable User Interface: For the installer/operator, the only difference between HDcctv and CCTV is that the DVR recording configuration screens show higher values (1280 x 720 and/or 1920 x 1080) in the pull-downs for record resolution in addition to the conventional CCTV values.
* True HDTV Live View: HDcctv video signals are not compressed or packetized before transmission, so no compression image artifacts or frame interruptions are observed.
* Real-Time Speed Dome Control: HDcctv is compression-free, with none of the signal delays associated with compression. Therefore, an HDcctv system operator experiences no delay between a joystick command and the corresponding speed dome (pan/tilt/zoom dome) response.
* Best Possible Input Format for Analytics: HDcctv systems digitally deliver crisp, unadulterated video from cameras to DVR for the clearest possible analytics input.

HDcctv is enabled by semiconductor technology advances, making all of the following affordable:

* Image sensors capable of capturing surveillance-grade HD images.
* Image processing circuits coupled to (or embedded in) those high-resolution sensors.
* HD-SDI transmission technology adapted from broadcast HDTV.
* Codecs capable of processing broadcast-industry-standards-compliant HD video streams.
* HDTV display panels (leveraging consumer trends).

SMART unveils widescreen interactive whiteboard system

NEW DELHI, INDIA: SMART Technologies has announced the SMART Board 685ix interactive whiteboard system -- a high-definition, high-performance collaboration tool that virtually eliminates shadows, glare and projector light in the eyes.

The fully integrated system comprises a SMART Board 685 interactive whiteboard and the new wall-mounted, ultra-short-throw UX60 widescreen projector with a 16:10 aspect ratio and WXGA resolution (1280x800).

As more and more developers of multimedia and video content shift to a widescreen aspect ratio, the projector’s widescreen format provide a future-proofed investment for school districts, post-secondary institutions and businesses. With high-definition image quality and easy access to other peripheral devices from the front of the room, the SMART Board 685ix interactive whiteboard system delivers a top-of-the-line interactive whiteboard experience.

The UX60 projector uses Texas Instrument’s (TI) DLP Brilliant Color technology high-contrast engine to produce stunning color performance and vibrant, crystal-clear images. The DLP technology virtually eliminates color decay and maintains color quality even after years of use.

The ultra-short-throw projector mounts on the wall directly above the SMART Board 685 interactive whiteboard and extends from the wall just 16 inches (41 cm), minimizing its footprint. The system comes equipped with an extended control panel that provides controls for power, source selection, volume and an integrated USB hub. With the wire management bundle’s integrated VGA, USB and audio connection, easy connectivity is provided for a PC or Mac. The projector can be network-enabled for easy maintenance.

Technical support can perform a task or run diagnostics remotely, reducing time and labor costs. Unlike projectors using LCD technology, the UX60 projector does not contain a filter or require monthly cleaning.

“The SMART Board 685ix creates an immersive, unparalleled interactive whiteboard experience,” says Alexandra Dunn, speech language pathologist for a school district in Ontario, Canada. “Its features, including minimal shadowing and direct USB access, will not only ensure more time on task, but also promote inclusion and meaningful educational and social participation for students with special skills.”

"Globally, SMART Board interactive whiteboards are the most widely adopted interactive whiteboards in both the education and business sectors," says Nancy Knowlton, SMART’s CEO. "The introduction of the SMART Board 685ix interactive whiteboard system demonstrates our commitment to innovation and to providing our customers with a high-quality, user-friendly interactive whiteboard experience."

Minimal footprint – Extends from the wall just 16 inches (41 cms)
Widescreen – 87-inch (221-cm) diagonal, providing 20 percent more workspace than a SMART Board 680 interactive whiteboard (the world’s most popular interactive whiteboard)
Crisp image – UX60 projector uses TI’s Brilliant Color technology with high-contrast DLP engine
Aspect ratio – 16:10
Network-enabled – Can be network-enabled for tech support and diagnostics
Lumens – 2,000 lumens
Contrast ratio – 2000:1
Extended control panel – Controls for power, source selection, volume control and an integrated USB hub
Wire management bundle – USB, VGA and Audio inputs provided
Filter-free – Filter-free for low maintenance
No color decay – TI’s DLP engine is virtually immune to color decay
Long lamp life – 3,000 hours in standard mode, 4,000 hours in economy mode
Theft resistant – A Kensington lock slot and a projector padlock loop
SMART product integration – Integrates with SMART Notebook, SMART Meeting Pro, SMART Hub SE and SMART Hub PE.

Pricing and availability
The SMART Board 685ix interactive whiteboard system will be available October 2009 at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price in India for Rs. 288,373.51. The suggested education list price is INR 206,678.95. The system is available from SMART authorized resellers.

European TV market heats up despite economic crisis

EL SEGUNDO, USA: With the European Union’s economy showing signs of recovery, television sales in the region are expected to rise in 2009 as consumers continue to snap up LCD-TVs, according to iSuppli Corp.

“Television sales in Europe will rise to 51.97 million units in 2009, up 3.4 percent from 50.2 million in 2008,” said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli. “LCD-TVs, which will account for 79 percent of the market year, will see their sales rise by a robust 17.5 percent in 2009 to reach 41.1 million units, up from 35 million in 2008.”

The figure presents iSuppli’s forecast of the European television market by display technology.

iSuppli Figure: European TV Market Forecast by Technology, 2008-2013 (Thousands of Units)Source: iSuppli Corp., June 2009

Economic recovery
According to the European Commission’s recent reports, indications of an economic recovery from what were record lows have been confirmed by improved business and consumer confidence in the 16 Euro-using-countries in May, the second month in row.

According to the European Commission, the index of business and consumer confidence in the Euro zone increased to 69.3 in May, up from 67.2 in April—the highest level since November 2008. Consumer spending also has increased in all major European countries, including France and Germany.

Overall, the region’s economy has stabilized, but concerns remain about the labor market and rising unemployment rates, which could counter the impact of lower inflation rates on household spending. Nevertheless, despite mixed signals, there are more positive signs of an economic recovery taking place in Europe than there are negative indicators.

LCD-TV market shows strength
The continued growth in Europe’s LCD-TV market also can be attributed to factors including:

• Increased demand in Eastern Europe for both first-time and replacement buyers.
• Declining prices, which have made these televisions attractive to consumers across various income levels.
• The introduction of new features, such as 100Hz/200Hz refresh rates, and now, LED backlights.
• Increased domestic production, which has led to better management of inventories.

CRT and plasma, which continue to lose ground in Europe, will suffer a 40.2 percent decline in sales compounded annually between 2008 and 2013. The technology is retreating due to a lack of consumer interest, falling brand and retail support and the diminishing price differential between LCD- and CRT-TVs of similar sizes and features.

During the same time frame, plasma TV sales will decline at 16.4 percent compounded rate while LCD-TVs will grow at a 11.5 percent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) to reach 60.3 million units.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Samsung, RADVISION develop HD videoconference multimedia LCD monitor

InfoComm 2009, ORLANDO, USA: RADVISION and Samsung Electronics America, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Corp., unveiled the VC240, their first product on the market to integrate all the components required for high definition desktop video conferencing into a single unit at an affordable price.

The VC240 can operate as a standalone desktop HD video conferencing device and as a 24 inch high resolution monitor.

“Samsung is well-positioned in the future of telepresence and digital convergence, and this partnership with RADVISION brings to market a unique solution with the ability to scale,” says J.H. Kim, President of Samsung Electronics America, Information Technology Division. “The VC240 highlights our ability to provide superior display technology for any current or future display application.”

Ideal for conference rooms and businesses who want to conduct in-person meetings without the complexities associated with travel, the VC240 is an all in one video conferencing solution.

A Video and Voice over Internet Protocols (V2oIP) enabled network monitor, it is fully compatible with other VoIP systems including Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) based Multipoint Control Units (MCUs) and Unified Communications (MS). It can also function as a one to multipoint video conference with its built-in VoIP module.

“The VC240 breaks down barriers in the desktop market by allowing users to enjoy all the benefits of the high definition video communications experience at a fraction of the cost of existing hardware desktop solutions,” says Boaz Raviv, CEO of RADVISION.

“With the introduction of this product Samsung and RADVISION are literally changing the playing field by enabling wide scale deployment of HD video on the desktop. We are honored to partner with the world’s leading expert in LCD technology and together we will bring the market a new level of desktop video communications.”

New network technology
Leveraging Samsung’s renown front-of-screen performance, the VC240 also incorporates H.264 codec and a 5 megapixel camera and noise-cancelling microphones. The VC240 provides excellent video compression and high resolution images.

Special video and voice functions enhance the user experience in a video conference environment, including adaptive jitter buffer, lip synchronization, acoustic echo cancellation and voice activation detection while a 5ms response rate assures users of motion clarity with reduced blurring. A 1000:1 contrast ratio reduces eye fatigue and provides sharper text, deeper shadows and brighter colors.

The VC240 is fully interoperable with RADVISION’s SCOPIA line of products and complements RADVISION’s other desktop video solutions. It will also offer RADVISION’s latest advanced video features including SVC (Scalable Video Coding) and Forward Error Correction features ensuring the highest quality possible.

The VC240 also supports a rage of video and audio inputs, including DVI-I and VGA component connections.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Streaming movies, TV, and music industry to generate $78bn over six years

BOONTON, USA: Streaming video and music distributed across the Internet, an IP TV network, or a mobile handset will generate more than $78 billion in network-derived and content-derived revenue into the US markets over the next six years, according to a new market research study from The Insight Research Corp.

Streaming media refers to the transmission of digital audio and video files over an IP network or wireless network in real time or on-demand, while prohibiting users from storing the files locally.

Insight's market analysis study, Streaming Media, IPTV, and Broadband Transport: Telecommunications Carriers and Entertainment Services 2009-2014, describes the technology and market forces underpinning the network-derived revenues generated from distributing streamed content across the public Internet, content distribution networks, cellular networks, or telco IP networks.

The study also estimates the revenue from the various types of content-derived revenues, along with associated advertising revenue. The streaming market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 27 percent over the next five years, driven by on-demand audio, on-demand video, and the accompanying advertising revenue.

"Over the past seven years as we've tracked the developments in streaming it has evolved from an esoteric niche to a mainstream market," says Robert Rosenberg, Insight Research president. "What we predicted way back when is coming to fruition. The advertising revenue that long supported traditional TV is gravitating to this new medium, putting downward pressure on traditional TV distribution schemes," Rosenberg concluded.

Insight's report examines the following market drivers: licensing issues, broadband Internet access, mass-market demand, and enterprise usage. Forecasts include revenues for the US market by network services, including digital rights management (DRM), encoding, and performance measurement; and by content services, including advertising, music on-demand, Internet radio and video on-demand.

Kingston first to market with 128GB USB flash drive

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, USA: Kingston Technology Co. Inc. has released the DataTraveler 200 (DT200), the world’s first 128GB USB Flash drive. The large capacity along with password protection gives users the flexibility to carry critical data with them at all times in a very small form factor.

“The new DT200’s robust storage capability lets consumers store complete libraries of music, photos and videos. It is also a great tool for business users who carry around large databases or files,” said Andrew Ewing, USB business manager, Kingston®. “The password protection helps safeguard data and requires no admin rights, making the DT200 a terrific solution for the home or office.”

The Kingston DataTraveler 200 features a capless design to protect the USB connector when not in use and is enhanced for Windows ReadyBoost. It is available in 32-, 64- and 128GB capacities. The 128GB drive is build-to-order only. Customers who wish to purchase it can place an order through normal channels (e.g., e-tailers or resellers).

The DT200 is backed by a five-year warranty and 24/7 tech support.

Features and specifications:
Capacities: 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
Dimensions: 2.77" x 0.49" x 0.89" (70.39mm x 12.52mm x 22.78mm)
Operating Temperature: 32º F to 140º F (0º C to 60º C)
Storage Temperature: -4º F to 185º F (-20º C to 85º C)
Simple: Just plug into a USB port
Practical: Durable, capless design
Guaranteed: Five-year warranty
Safeguarded: Includes Password Traveler security software for Windows
Enhanced: For Windows ReadyBoost on Vista-based systems

Some of the listed capacity is used for formatting and other functions and thus is not available for data storage.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Large-area LED backlit LCD panel shipments pass 10mn units in Q1’09

AUSTIN, TEXAS: LED backlights are growing rapidly in large-area (10”+) TFT LCD displays. Panels with LED backlights reached 10.6 million units in Q1’09, up 63 percent Q/Q and 780 percent Y/Y, according to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly LED Backlight Panel Shipment & Forecast Report.

According to the shipment plans of large-area TFT LCD makers, LED backlight panel shipments are likely to reach 104.5 million units in 2009. In Q4’09, penetration of LED backlight panels will be as high as 25 percent.
Currently, portable computers are the leading application for LED backlights, with 4.2 million LED backlit panels shipped for mini-note PCs (netbooks), or 100 percent LED penetration, and 5.9 million for notebook PCs, or 26 percent penetration, in Q1’09.

All mini-note PCs used wedge type LED backlight design, but it is expected that slim type backlights will be used starting in Q2’09. In Q1’09, 76 percent of notebook LED backlit panels used wedge-type light guide plates. HannStar led in shipments LED backlight panels for mini-note PCs, while LG Display was the leading supplier of LED backlit panels for notebook PCs.

In desktop monitors, LED backlit panels shipments were only 0.1 million in Q1’09, representing less than 0.5 percent of LCD monitor panels shipped in Q1’09. The value of LED backlights for LCD monitors is still not clear to end users, therefore the adoption is limited. For TVs, shipments of LED backlit LCD panels were 0.4 million in Q1’09, concentrated in 40”, 46” and 55” as Samsung launched side-lit LED TV models. Table 1 shows the top five LED backlit LCD panel makers in Q1’09.

Table 1: Q1’09 Top Five LED Backlight Panels Makers and Shares by ApplicationSource: DisplaySearch Q2’09 Quarterly LED Backlight Panel Shipment & Forecast Report

Mini-note panels will remain 100 percent LED in 2009, and the LED backlight supply chain and panel suppliers are focused on increasing LED backlight penetration in other applications this year.

In Q3’09, LED backlights will exceed CCFL backlights in notebook LCD panels, reaching 53 percent penetration. LCD TV panel makers are planning to ship 4.3 million panels with LED backlights in 2009, 68 percent side-light type and 32 percent direct. Table 2 shows the forecast of the top five LED backlight panel maker shares by application.

Table 2: Forecast of 2009 LED Backlight Panel Maker SharesSource: DisplaySearch Q2’09 Quarterly LED Backlight Panel Shipment & Forecast Report

According to David Hsieh, Vice President of DisplaySearch: “The driving factors for the fast growth of LED backlights are slim and lightweight form factor, lower power consumption, market differentiation, dimming backlight capability, wide color gamut, and the trend towards green displays. However, there are many challenges in LED backlight design, components availability and cost, and panel makers are working closely with LED backlight supply chain participants to increase shipments.”

Hsieh added: “The growing LED penetration in TFT LCD will raise new issues such as LED cost management, LED chip availability, and changes in backlight structure. As LED production shares the same capacity with the lighting market and many LED companies are evaluating the strategy for backlights, the market has some concerns over LED availability. We believe LED supply chain management will be a key success factor for panel makers and will reshuffle the competition landscape from now to 2010.”

Electronics drop 16.3 percent this Father’s Day

LOS ANGELES, USA: Despite the economic downturn and retail sales plummeting, this Father’s Day it looks like dads are going from handyman to dandyman, as sales of pampering services and related products are expected to increase 35.7 percent, according to industry research firm IBISWorld.

Although pampering services only accounts for a small portion of total Father’s Day spending on the nation’s 66.3 million dads as reported by the US Census Bureau, pampering is emerging as this holiday’s fastest growing gift category with consumers expected to spend $190 million compared to $140 million in 2008.

The table below represents the percentage change in Father’s Day spending from last year across a range of popular categories:Source: IBISWorld

“Traditional Father’s Day gifts, such as tools and electronics are declining this year while spa services, personal care products, and greeting cards are increasing,” explained Toon van Beeck, senior analyst with IBISWorld. “It seems that ‘New Age’ dads are this year’s fad.”

Van Beeck added, “According the US Census Bureau, there are an estimated 66.3 million fathers in the nation today which demonstrates the impact spending on Father’s Day has on the US economy."

Larger format LCDs for commercial use and digital signage up 67pc Y/Y

AUSTIN, TEXAS: While “flat is the new up” for many technologies as the global recession continues, current results show that the flat-panel digital signage market continues to grow with larger-size commercial LCD products outpacing shipments of commercial plasma products 2-to-1 in Q1’09.

Results from the recent DisplaySearch Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report revealed that Q1’09 worldwide shipments of larger size (26”+) flat panel displays used in commercial applications for out-of-home environments grew 2 percent Y/Y, but dropped 10 percent Q/Q showing that this market may not be completely impervious to the effects of the global recession. Further analysis revealed that this market segment is still healthy, however.

Sequential declines seen in the period came more as a result of fewer plasma shipments in the quarter due to some production transitions in that sector rather than falling demand. Conversely, LCD-based commercial displays saw a 3 percent sequential growth for the period and an astounding 67 percent growth when compared to the same period as last year.

Fig. 1: Q1’09 Worldwide LCD and PDP Share of 26”+ Large-Format FPDs for Commercial Public Display Applications for Leading BrandsSource: DisplaySearch Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report

While LCDs continued to gain momentum as an acceptable Out-of-Home (OoH) flat panel display technology with phenomenal Y/Y growth of 67 percent, plasma-based technologies were unable to take advantage of their price/size advantage in 50”+ sizes, thus shipments fell 37 percent in the same period,” noted Chris Connery, Vice President of PC and Large Format Commercial Displays.

“Looking ahead, plasma looks to re-gain its strong foothold on the commercial FPD space as more production capacity—allowing for larger size displays to be produced even more efficiently start to come on board potentially even butting-up against other OoH technologies such as direct view LEDs and Rear and Front Projection systems in indoor venues.”

Some major brands stopped promoting plasma as a technology for commercial applications in 2008 and such movements no doubt hurt public perception of the technology. Major players such as Panasonic are still quite focused on the technology and are preparing for an annual refresh of their professional line of products as well as expanded capacity, which indicates that this technology is far from being out of contention as a strong competitor in this space.

DisplaySearch’s results indicate that in spite of the drop off in Q1’09 WW total shipments for FPD technologies for commercial environments, Panasonic was the #2 brand for the quarter for large format commercial displays, behind #1 Samsung in total FPD commercial market share.

Table 1: Q1’09 Worldwide Market Share Brand Leaders and Technology Splits for 26”+ Large-Format FPDs for Commercial Public Display ApplicationsSource: DisplaySearch Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report
* NEC and Sony announced in 2008 that they would focus on LCD technologies with Q1’09 PDP sales representing sell-out of existing inventory.

Looking forward, the display market will help drive market momentum around digital signage. Fabrication plants for larger LCDs and plasma products are will come on-line in 2009 and 2010 with sizes and technologies geared more towards Out-of-Home environments than traditional in-home TV display sizes.

Other technologies such as various forms of front and rear projection are still prepared to combat the continued onslaught of FPD technologies as well (especially tiled LCD and PDP solutions) with new innovations on the horizon.

LED-backlit LCD-TVs to grow to 39 percent by 2013

EL SEGUNDO, USA: As prices of LCD panels that use LED backlights fall in the coming years, their use in televisions is set to explode, iSuppli Corp. predicts.

Global shipments of LCD-TV panels with LED backlighting will rise to 90 million units in 2013, up from just 438,000 LED TV panels in 2008. Penetration of LED-backlight technology in LCD-TV panels will increase to 39 percent in 2013, up from 3 percent in 2009.

“The price gap between LEDs and CCFLs traditionally used for LCD backlighting has narrowed due to the higher yield rate of LEDs, as well as the oversupply that resulted in a drastic price reduction for LEDs in the second half of 2008,” said Sweta Dash, senior director, LCD research at iSuppli. “And with the advent of green technology, power savings and thinner form factors, more branded manufacturers are looking at LED-backlit LCD-TVs in 2009. These factors are spurring brand-name television manufacturers to adopt LED backlighting.”

The figure presents iSuppli’s forecast of global shipments of LCD-TV panels equipped with LED backlights for the period of 2008 through 2013.

iSuppli Figure: Global Forecast for Light Emitting Diode (LED) Backlights in Large TFT-LCD TV Panels, 2008-2013 (Thousands of Units)Source: iSuppli Corp., June 2009

LEDs emerging at last in TVs
Branded television manufacturers have offered LED-based LCD-TVs for some years now without much success. Mostly, this was due to a higher price and larger cost differential between LED and CCFL products. However, there is a renewed interest for LED backlight-based LCD TVs with the use of white LEDs.

Instead of focusing only on color gamut, picture quality and high-end RGB solutions, manufacturers are starting to concentrate more on thinner form factors and lower power consumption with the use of side-mounted white LED backlight solutions.

The lower price differential between CCFL and white LED solutions, combined with the lure of thin TV, has led to an increasing adoption rate of LED-based TVs. Branded manufacturers such as Samsung also are focusing on shifting a significant portion of their LCD-TV offerings to LED backlights.

Green light
For LCD-TVs, panel suppliers are offering products with 120Hz frame rates with edge-lit LED backlights to achieve thinner form factors, lower power consumption and mercury-free “green” attributes. In some cases, power savings with the use of LED backlights can be as high as 30 percent to 50 percent. Thickness and weight savings also can be as high as 30 percent to 50 percent.

Owing much to the “green” initiative from many countries in the world, lower power requirements for TVs are expected in the next few years, and the current power-consumption level of many TVs may end up being below these requirements. This will lead to a faster shift to lower-power-consumption products.

In a recent consumer survey presented in iSuppli’s April edition of its US TV Consumer Preference Analysis, more than 50 percent of U.S. consumers take into account the “green initiative” factor when purchasing TVs.

Supply in chains
However, because LEDs also are used for general lighting purposes, there recently has been some concern about LED chip supply. Furthermore, the LED backlight supply chain is still evolving with varieties of solutions and many different suppliers that need to be involved.

Already, panel suppliers are either entering joint-venture partnerships or developing their own in-house LED solutions to streamline the value-chain process, reduce costs and gain better control over the supply.

New innovations and higher performance will help LEDs gain faster adoption in TVs in the years to come. The price difference for LED vs. CCFL TV systems may range from $300 to $700, depending on the size and type of LED used. The gap, however, is expected to narrow in the future, and many branded TV manufacturers are planning new LED-based TV models with very aggressive prices in the second half of 2009.

Given the current high price gap between CCFL- and LED-based LCD-TV sets and panels, panel suppliers are hoping to reduce the price difference —- to less than $100 between the 40/42-inch CCFL and LED-based panels, and to below $150 for 46-inch panels. This compares to a difference of more than $150 for 40/42-inch sizes at present.

With increasing importance being placed on lower power consumption and green initiatives, televisions are expected to have more stringent requirements in the future. LED backlights will enable next-generation TVs to fulfill those requirements.