Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stellar line-up of speakers at CONNECTIONS Summit at CES

Parks Associates is looking forward to CES next week. The CONNECTIONS Summit will be hosted on January 8 and 9 in the back of the South Hall - rooms 106/107. For more information , view the entire agenda online.

Speakers and sessions include:

Thurday, January 8

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM Wireless Networking
David Borison, Senior Director, Marketing, TZero Technologies
Noam Geri, Co-founder, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, AMIMON
John Marshall, Chairman, WirelessHD LLC
Professor Andrew Nix, Co-Founder & Director, ProVision Communications

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Advanced Video Services: The Next Big Thing?
Charles Cerino, VP, Comcast Center Technology, Comcast; President, MoCA
Ed Forman, EVP, Products and Services, ActiveVideo Networks
Jean-Marc Harion, Vice President, Business Development, North America, Orange – France Telecom NA
John Reister, Chief IPTV Architect, BigBand Networks
Marty Roberts, VP Marketing, thePlatform

12:30 PM - 1:45 PM Digital Home Customer Support: From Troubleshooting to Upselling?
Fred King, VP, Sales & Marketing, PlumChoice, Inc.
Art Lancaster, CTO, Affinegy
Anthony Rodio, Chief Operating Officer, support.com
Singu Srinivas, Vice President, Premium Support, Radialpoint
Bill Stanley, Director, Operations Solutions, Telcordia

2:00 PM - 3:15 PM The Five Ws of Social Media
Scott Brown, Director, Marketing, Cisco
Rick Clancy, SVP of Corporate Communications, Sony Electronics
Rajat Paharia, Founder & CEO, Bunchball
Michael Papish, CEO, MediaUnbound
Ron Richards, Director of Marketing & Product Management, Revision3

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM The Changing CE Purchase Decision
Research Presentation by Tricia Parks, Founder and CEO, Parks Associates

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM Never Lost Plus Much More Fun — Navigating Through the Booming GPS Market
Fazal Ali, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies
Luke D’Arcy, VP, Advanced Technology Marketing, CSR
H.P. Jin, President, CEO and Co-Founder, TeleNav
Darren Koenig, Director, Wireless and Internet Markets, Tele Atlas

Friday, January 9

9:30 AM - 10:45 AM Connected Consumer Electronics: Linking Premium Applications and Content across Devices
Richard Bullwinkle, Chief Evangelist, Macrovision
Chenyi Chiu, Strategic Program Manager, HD-PLC Alliance
Robert Eisses, President and CEO, Icron
Kazuhiro Kitagawa, Vice-Chairman, PUCC
Loren Shade, VP Marketing, Allegro Software Development Corporation

11:00 AM - 11:15 AM The Changing CE Purchase Decision
Research Presentation by Tricia Parks, Founder and CEO, Parks Associates

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM The Future of Digital Photo Frames: A Display or Platform?
Stephen Joe, President/CEO, D-Link Systems, Inc.
David Snook, Product Marketing Manager, Digital Frames, Kodak
Mark Vena, Vice President, PC Business Unit, Synaptics, Inc.
Mike Wodopian, VP, GM Media Processor Solutions, RMI Corp.
Richard Yeh, Marketing Director, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.

12:45 PM - 2:00 PM Connected Game Consoles: King of the Digital Home
Glenn Broderick, Executive Director, Gaming, AT&T
Ben Huang, Director of Product Management and Marketing, TV Business, Microsoft Corporation
Jeremy Lockhorn, Director of Emerging Media, Avenue A| Razorfish
Susan Panico, Senior Director of PlayStation Network, Sony Computer Entertainment America
Randy Stude, Director, Intel

2:15 PM - 3:30 PM TV 2.0 – The Future of the Set-Top Box
David Foote, CTO, Hitachi USA
Doug Jones, Chief Architect, Cable, BigBand Networks
Aslam Khader, Chief Product Officer, Ensequence
Joe Seidel, Director, Global Business Development, Connected TV Devices Business, Microsoft Corporation
Steve Tranter, VP, Interactive and Broadband, NDS

3:45 PM - 5:00 PM Breakout Year? New Paths for Home Systems
Michelle Leyden Li, GM of Home Control, Zilog
Kevin Meagher, CEO, Intamac Systems
Eric Smith, Chief Technology Officer, Control4
Matt Theall, Technology Strategist, Intel Corporation; President, HomeGrid Forum
Evan Tree, Chief Products Officer, Logitech

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monitoring Energy Use with Agilewaves System

Interested in savings? Of course you are...who isn't? Wouldn't you like to monitor your energy consumption (including electric, gas, water, wind, solar panels, etc.)? An Angilewaves System could be your answer!


With a usage readout including details with by hour, day, month or year, you can monitor your energy consumption and review any savings from alternative energy systems (solar, wind and/or geothermal heating). You can even go back several years to view savings if you change appliances. Can't wait to see those pie charts!


How is it done? "Agilewaves uses sensors at the gas and water mains and electrical panel to measure your energy use. This data is sent over Ethernet cabling to an Agilewaves Data Acquisition System, a small web server the size of Mac Mini and that draws under 20 watts of power. The computations are done there, based on local utility rates, and sent a computer or control system."


What about installation? "A home installation can run anywhere from $5,000 to $85,000, depending on the size and scope and the number of sensors." In addition to the installation, the basic system begins at $5k which includes sensors at the gas main, water main, five individual electrical circuits, and all software and all hardware. Additional sensors can also be added to individual electrical outlets.


Source: www.agilewaves.com/ and Steven Castle's article "Agilewaves Monitors Your Energy Use" posted on Electric House.

Northwest Technology Companies Showcase New Products at the 2009 International CES

55+ technology companies from the NW United States will showcase their latest consumer electronics (CE) products at the 2009 International CES ' the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow. These exhibitors represent more than 30 consumer technology categories.

The 2009 International CES runs January 8-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will feature 2,700 exhibitors, including more than 300 companies exhibiting for the first time. These companies will unveil their latest CE products on more than 1.7 million net square feet of exhibit space.

In addition, the CONNECTIONS Summit at CES is being held from January 8th-9th featuring over 50 speakers addressing the topics of Wireless Networking, Advanced Video Services, Gaming, Social Media, Consumer Electronics, Customer Support, Home Systems, TV 2.0, GPS, and Photo Frame.
For more information regarding the CONNECTIONS Summit at CES, click here.

U.S. consumer interest in home networking migrates to mobile and portable devices


Parks Associates survey identifies features driving demand for new digital cameras and mobile phones...


A new study from international research firm Parks Associates finds consumer demand for networking features will drive the next wave of consumer electronics purchasing, particularly for imaging and mobile devices such as digital cameras, photo frames, and mobile phones. Digital Media Evolution, a new survey from Parks Associates, finds nearly 50% of U.S. broadband households want a digital camera with networking capabilities, with nearly 40% similarly interested in a networked digital photo frame.


Digital Media Evolution is a nationwide survey of U.S. consumers in broadband households and focuses on 2008 consumer electronics purchases, including planned and completed holiday purchases. It also examines consumer interest in networked consumer electronics and willingness to pay a premium for connected devices.


Parks Associates will present research from this and other projects at CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES, January 8-9, 2009. Visit http://www.connectionssummit.com/ for information. During CES, visit Parks Associates at Booth #25556, South Hall 2, Ground Floor.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Roku Upgrades Hardware to Support HD Content

Roku, maker of the player that lets Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) subscribers stream online movies to a digital TV, said Monday it has upgraded the hardware to support high-definition content.

Roku plans to roll out over the next few weeks at no additional charge software that adds advanced compression technology to the $100 player. The application, which will be sent over the Web as an automatic update, makes it possible to stream HD movies over an average consumer broadband connection, according to Roku.

More info

Friday, December 19, 2008

Macrovision, Allen Shapiro & One Equity Partners Announce Agreement for Sale of TV Guide Network

Digital entertainment technology leader, Macrovision announced it reached an agreement for the sale of its TV Guide Network property to Allen Shapiro & One Equity Partners. This $255+ million transaction is expected to close before April 1, 2009.

The 19th most distributed network, TV Guide Network is available in 83 million homes and with over 15 million monthly is one of the fastest-growing online entertainment destinations unique visitors.

Macrovision retains the key strategic on-line elements currently utilized through this site, namely its B2B grid syndications business, whereby the company licenses its online guide to other portals, and functionality that enhances its embedded guidance product offering, such as integration from embedded guides with online or mobile guides that allow for remote record.

Macrovision’s solution portfolio, which includes industry-leading IPGs and program metadata, associated patent portfolio, music and video metadata, media recognition, as well as networking and security technologies, position the company firmly at the center of the shift to digital entertainment. Macrovision continues to invest in and develop new guide technologies that ultimately enhance the consumers total entertainment experience, including new offerings for CE device makers, system operators, service providers and content providers of virtually all forms of entertainment.

After removing the TV Guide Online business from the estimates and adjusting for lower than expected sale proceeds, Macrovision's 2009 revenue is now expected to range between $435 million and $475 million and adjusted pro forma earnings per share is expected to range between $1.15 and $1.45.

For more information regarding this recent news, click here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Internet Movie Service Expands to Web Videos

The Internet movie service, Vudu, uses a set-top box to deliver on-demand movies and TV shows to TV sets, is now expanding to include free videos available on the Web.

Vudu RIA (Rich Internet Application), new software which allows users to search and view free Web videos from sites such as YouTube. Currently, the applications under Vudu RIA are only available through the Vudu set-top.

Vudu plans to release a software kit in early '09 to enable outside developers to create third-party applications for this service.

Will Vudu benefit more from selling a retail box for $299 or creating partnerships to be included with cable set-top boxes and televisions?

To view more information, please visit Glen Dickson's article on Broadcasting & Cable.

Vudu is a past speaker of the CONNECTIONS Conference. Last Summer, Patrick Cosson, VP of Marketing spoke on the "BROADBAND VIDEO: Millions Watch but Nobody Pays?" panel at CONNECTIONS 2008 in Santa Clara, California, USA.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

HGI SWITCHES ON TO EUROPEAN ENERGY SAVING REGULATIONS

The European Commission (EC) has included recommendations from the Home Gateway Initiative (HGI) for version three of the Code of Conduct on energy consumption of broadband equipment. The latest version of the Code of Conduct was published on November 24th 2008.

The HGI is the leading industry voice in defining home gateways, and has been a major contributor to the Code of Conduct in this area. The work has involved defining the operation states of Customer Premises Equipment, as well as providing targets for the power consumption values of each functional component of the home gateway.

In line with the recommendations made, the HGI is now working on specifying low power mechanisms that allow the home gateway to consume the minimum power corresponding to its current level of activity, by looking at the individual subcomponents and assessing the existing power modes, and evaluating the implementation of additional low power modes. The work of the HGI on energy efficiency also extends deeper into the home network, involving the home gateway’s unique role as an always on device, orchestrating home automation.

The HGI was founded and launched by nine telecom operators (Belgacom, BT, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, KPN, TeliaSonera, NTT, Telefonica and Telecom Italia) in 2004, and now has members from five continents, representing the entire spectrum of actors in the broadband home arena. The main tasks of the HGI are to establish home gateway-related technical and interoperability specifications and provide input to standardisation bodies.

For further information, please visit www.homegatewayinitiative.org.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Radialpoint Internet Security Suite Receives ICSA Labs’ Anti-Virus Desktop Certification

Radialpoint, a leading provider of managed Internet security and care services to the world’s largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs), is pleased to announce that Radialpoint Security Services (RPS) version 7 has been tested and certified in Anti-Virus Desktop/Server Detection by ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon Business. RPS monitors files and scans email messages and attachments, automatically detecting and removing viruses to protect the user.

To earn the coveted ICSA Labs certification, a product must detect all malware in the test environment without any false positives. ICSA Labs analysts found RPS to meet all criteria and technical requirements for the Anti-Virus Desktop/Server Detection Certification, achieving ICSA Lab’s high standards set for anti-virus protection by detecting and preventing the replication of viruses.

In order to provide an ongoing read on the protective quality of any certified products, ICSA Labs continuously tests and retests for compliance with its rigorous criteria. Subsequent releases and upgrades for any certified product must be re-tested to meet the same criteria.

Radialpoint's Singu Srinivas will be speaking on the panel, "Digital Home Customer Support: From Troubleshooting to Upselling?" at the CONNECTIONS Summit at CES on January 8th at 12:30 PM. Other confirmed speakers on this panel include: Fred King, VP, Sales & Marketing, PlumChoice, Inc.; Art Lancaster, CTO, Affinegy; Anthony Rodio, Chief Operating Officer, support.com; and Bill Stanley, Director, Operations Solutions, Telcordia.

Friday, December 12, 2008

BBC, ITV and BT working on technical standards for on-demand tv over broadband

The trio announced proposals today that to build a "standards based open environment for broadband connected digital television receivers". They invited other public service broadcasters (Channel 4 and Five), device firms and other ISPs to back the initiative.

The initiative, currently described only in the vaguest terms, will seek to extend the reach of the BBC iPlayer and the ITV player to mainstream living rooms.

Public broadcasters will be offered use of the iPlayer back end, the BBC said. It also seems likely the involvement of BT and other ISPs indicates plans for a shared content delivery network, to soften the impact on bandwidth charges.

No timescale was provided, but the announcement said plans for high definition on demand would be included. Like all new services, the BBC's involvment in the intiative is subject to approval by the BBC Trust. On demand via a new generation of Freeview boxes would carry no subscription fee.

BBC director-general Mark Thompson said: "We are building on a history of collaborating with and supporting the industry in research and development which includes NICAM stereo, Teletext and Freeview."

More info at The Register

How to Deliver Household Wide Wireless HDTV: ProVision Joins Parks Associates’ Signature CES Debate

According to Professor Andrew Nix, the next generation Wi-Fi technology, 802.11n, “is the only standard capable of cost-effectively transmitting interactive wireless HD video across all rooms within a home.”

The co-founder of ProVision Communications will argue this as part of the signature panel debate on wireless networking by analyst firm, Parks Associates, at January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

ProVision, the Bristol, UK based specialists in video over wireless technology, will join Pulse~LINK, SiBEAM and AMIMON, backing the HDMI, Wireless HD and WHDI standards respectively.

In November, ProVision announced a new division to commercialise the company’s vast expertise in wireless video. The company will also be demonstrating its technology to key audiences at CES.

ProVision’s CEO, David Sykes commented that the inclusion in Parks Associates’ signature CES panel was testament to the strength of ProVision’s wireless expertise. He also stated that getting wireless HDTV right is more than just choosing a standard and connecting products together, “ProVision has expertise across all aspects of wireless video and it is this that will ensure success in the market. With the right standards adopted wireless HDTV products will rapidly become commonplace in people’s homes.”

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Research indicates expansion of entertainment-at-home services despite poor economic conditions

Parks Associates announced that almost 66% of U.S. consumers have altered their spending habits in the 2008 as a result of the country’s deteriorating economic conditions. These changes have the greatest impact on entertainment spending outside of the home, according to Digital Media Evolution, a new consumer survey, but also open new areas for growth in customer support services.

Parks Associates finds that as consumers cut spending on outside sources, this trend creates greater dependence on at-home entertainment services, creating new opportunities for broadband, communications, and entertainment providers in offering customer support, self-diagnostic, and troubleshooting solutions.

In 2008, U.S. consumers are most likely to cut their spending on dining out, travel, and out-of-home entertainment. Additionally, nearly 50% indicate that they will be spending less on consumer electronics because of economic conditions.

Parks Associates advises providers to take back-to-the-basics approaches to revenue growth and cost savings. Service provider costs for supporting home networks alone could total hundreds of millions of dollars annually. By implementing self-diagnostic and troubleshooting solutions and building remote support capabilities, service providers can turn customer support from a liability into an opportunity, reducing OPEX costs initially and growing revenue-generating customer support businesses in the long term.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Blockbuster tests new store in Nev.

Blockbuser has made the Reno area the first major test market for its new look and expanded offerings. To reach the rentals, you’ll have to get past the game center with an array of Wii and Xbox accessories, high-definition TVs and mobile media devices, interactive games ready for play in leather chairs, and expanded snack racks with a cafe kiosk offering eats and drinks.

The key is convenience, selling not just the movie or video game but the means to watch it, Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes said last week at a store in Reno.

And especially with the economic downturn, he said, the more his stores can offer, the better chance it has of getting an edge on the competition.

“We’re selling convenience,” Keyes said after giving Reno Mayor Bob Cashell and other business leaders a tour of the store.

“Why send someone to Wal-Mart when you can bring it in here where they’re already getting the movies,” Keyes said. “There’s so much talk now about ‘community’ in business. This is community here, the ultimate community.”

More info

Thursday, December 4, 2008

CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit, hosted in Nice, France, addresses new features and services for digital media and connected consumer electronics

International research firm Parks Associates announced the preliminary agenda for CONNECTIONS™ Europe Summit, taking place March 31, 2009, in Nice, France.



This executive event focuses on the roles of service and technology providers, media companies, and manufacturers in creating new entertainment, communications, and lifestyle applications for consumers.



According to Entertainment 2.0 in Europe, Parks Associates’ multinational research project, the French market is a microcosm of the overall European market for advanced entertainment services. In France, 28% of broadband users watch online TV on a regular basis, and 16% of pay-TV subscribers watch movies-on-demand at least monthly. Parks Associates forecasts that IPTV and cable video-on-demand revenues in major European countries will grow from €1.1 billion in 2008 to €5.4 billion by 2013. At the same time, online video revenues will grow from €350 million in 2008 to €3.2 billion by 2013.



Summit topics include Value-added Access Services, Video Services, Digital Media Content and Delivery, Connected Consumer Electronics, and Customer Support.



Roger Pitton, Program Director, TV Business, Microsoft Corporation, will deliver the Keynote address “IPTV and the keys to keeping customers.” Confirmed speakers represent the companies Affinegy, Enure Networks, HomePlug Powerline Alliance, Icron, IO-Homecontrol, Macrovision, moreTV Broadcasting GmbH, SPiDCOM Technologies, Telcordia, and Tilgin.

Monday, December 1, 2008

CONNECTIONS Sponsor, ProVision Communications unveils in-home wireless video division

ProVision Communications, the Bristol, UK based specialists in video over wireless technology, has announced the establishment of its new division focused on consumer products delivering HD video over wireless throughout the home. To support the division, Ian Walsh has been appointed as VP of business development.


ProVision Communications, a wireless and HD video company, have been delivering innovative products to leading broadcast operators and set top box manufacturers including Thomson, Pace, the BBC, and BSkyB since 2001. Recent developments have included real time video transmission over Wi-Fi to portable devices at outside broadcasting events, along with HD and wireless innovations for set top boxes and media home gateways.


ProVision’s expertise lies in its end-to-end understanding of wireless networks and video systems: this includes MPEG4/H.264 Advanced Video Codecs, radio propagation, antenna design, wireless networking, and reliable interoperation between HD video and wireless standards. ProVision is now strongly placed to deliver its world-leading HD video networking products and technologies to cable and satellite TV operators.


To read more about this news, click here.

Pace develops +Le Cube, next generation satellite / IP hybrid set-top box

Leading independent developer of digital TV technologies for the global payTV industry, Pace develops Europe’s first Satellite / IP hybrid set-top box to use the Ethernet port for VOD services, +Le Cube for the French leading pay-TV operator CANAL+ Group.

+Le Cube’s hard disk has been optimised by Pace Engineering for very low audibility, to be less intrusive for the user. This is also the first HD PVR for CANAL+ Group with an internal hard disk drive, with a 320 GB capacity providing the ability to record up to 100 hours of HD programming.

In addition to Ethernet port, this product supports USB and HDMI and has Dolby Digital audio outputs. The IP connection allows progressive download of VOD whereby content is buffered onto the HDD. +Le Cube has a striking new black and white rectangular design which can be placed horizontally or vertically to allow maximum versatility for the consumer.

+Le Cube has been designed to support and enable new services to CANAL+ and CANALSAT subscribers, including access to the latest US series, in high definition, less than one week after they have been shown to US audiences. Further features are catch up services, broadband access for interactive services and a recommendation service for viewers.

To read more about this new development, click here.

For more information on Pace, please visit http://www.pace.com/.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

CONNECTIONS Sponsor, Zilog and Micrel Announce Technology Partnership

Companies to Jointly Develop Subsystem Level Modules For Global Markets --

Zilog, a leading supplier of embedded solutions for consumer and industrial applications and Micrel, an industry leader in analog, high bandwidth communications, and Ethernet IC solutions, announced that they are working together on a technology partnership. The collaboration involves developing subsystem level module products targeted at motion sensor, TV remote and RF point-to-point cable replacement markets. Micrel is expected to provide the RF chips with Zilog supplying the microcontrollers and system software.

Zilog is a global supplier of application specific, embedded system-on-chip (SoC) and single board computer solutions for secured transactions, consumer electronics and industrial application and an industry leader in remote control and universal IR database solutions. From its roots as an award-winning architect in the microprocessor and microcontroller industry, Zilog has evolved to become a leader in production-ready and custom-built SoC solution sets.

Zilog is headquartered in San Jose, California, and employs approximately 500 people around the world, with sales offices in Asia, Europe, and North America.

For more information about Zilog and its products, visit http://www.zilog.com/.

CONN @ CES panel, Advanced Video Services: The Next Big Thing?

What role will advanced television and broadband video services play in defining the next generation of entertainment applications? On January 8th, 2009, Jayant Dasari, Research Analyst at Parks Associates will moderate the "Advanced Video Services: The Next Big Thing?" panel at the upcoming CONNECTIONS Summit at CES.

This presentation and panel discussion examines the worldwide pay television market, providing context for the competitive environment in major worldwide geographies and countries. It also focuses on consumer adoption of broadband video services, examining the use cases for “go-to-TV” services and products. This session includes consumer data from Parks Associates’ TV 2.0: The Consumer Perspective study, showing customer affinity and willingness to pay for advanced television features.

Confirmed speakers for this panel include: Charles Cerino, President, MoCA; Ed Forman, EVP, Products and Services, ActiveVideo Networks; Jean-Marc Harion, Vice President, Business Development, North America, Orange – France Telecom NA; John Reister, Chief IPTV Architect, BigBand Networks; and Marty Roberts, VP Marketing, thePlatform.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sony running beta tests of Home Virtual World

While it’s not exactly a world like “World of Warcraft” or Linden Labs’ “Second Life,” Home is the most ambitious push by any console maker into creating a virtual world for gamers. It will live or die on whether it’s simple, fun, and deep enough for gamers who have plenty of other things they want to do — like play games. And the price is right: free for those who have a PS 3.

Read More at The New York Times

Interested in Parks Associates Perspective on Virtual Worlds and Social Media? Read our new white paper.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Verizon to bring FiOS TV to Comcast's hometown

Verizon Communications Inc. is bringing the fight over TV customers to the hometown of its biggest cable rival, Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable company.

Verizon on Thursday asked Philadelphia's City Council to approve a 15-year video franchise agreement allowing it to offer fiber-optic TV service in the city. Councilman Darrell Clarke introduced an ordinance to give Verizon the right to run a cable TV service, a measure the council is expected to vote on by the end of the year.

New York-based Verizon said it could start offering FiOS TV in the first year after the deal goes into effect.

Read More at BusinessWeek

Thursday, November 13, 2008

CONNECTIONS™ SUMMIT Announces Speakers for Research and Strategy Sessions at CES

Parks Associates research shows broadband penetration in U.S. is changing landscape of consumer electronics, new services, and content delivery--

International research firm Parks Associates today announced the speakers and preliminary agenda for the CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES, to be held January 8-9, 2009, in Las Vegas. This information-packed, networking-rich event, hosted during the first two days of 2009 International CES, includes multiple panel discussions moderated by Parks Associates’ leading analysts.

The CONNECTIONS™ Summit will feature Parks Associates’ latest consumer and industry research, with expert analysis on future business strategies and revenue opportunities. Session topics include converging media, digital entertainment, customer support, social networking, GPS, gaming, consumer electronics purchase patterns, and digital photo frames.

SPEAKERS:

Fazal Ali, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies
Glenn Broderick, Executive Director, Gaming, AT&T
Scott Brown, Director, Marketing, Cisco
Richard Bullwinkle, Chief Evangelist, Macrovision
Chenyi Chiu, Strategic Program Manager, HD-PLC Alliance
Robert Eisses, President and CEO, Icron Technologies Corp.
David Foote, CTO, Hitachi USA
Ed Forman, EVP, Products and Services, ActiveVideo Networks
Noam Geri, Co-founder, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, AMIMON
Jean-Marc Harion, Vice President, Business Development, North America, Orange – France Telecom NA
Ben Huang, Director of Product Management and Marketing, TV Business, Microsoft Corporation
H.P. Jin, President, CEO and Co-Founder, TeleNav
Stephen Joe, President/CEO, D-Link Systems, Inc.
Doug Jones, Chief Architect, Cable, BigBand Networks
Fred King, VP, Sales & Marketing, PlumChoice, Inc.
Aslam Khader, Chief Product Officer, Ensequence
Kazuhiro Kitagawa, Vice-Chairman, PUCC
Art Lancaster, CTO, Affinegy
Michelle Leyden Li, GM of Home Control, Zilog
Jeremy Lockhorn, Director of Emerging Media, Avenue A Razorfish
John Marshall, Chairman of WirelessHD, WirelessHD LLC
David McCall, VP, PC Strategic Business Unit, CSR
Patrick McDevitt, Vice President, Global Engineering, Tele Atlas
Andy Nix, Co-Founder & Director, ProVision Communications
Rajat Paharia, Founder & CEO, Bunchball
Susan Panico, Senior Director of PLAYSTATION Network, Sony Computer Entertainment America
John Reister, Chief IPTV Architect, BigBand Networks
Ron Richards, Director of Marketing & Product Management, Revision3
Marty Roberts, VP Marketing, thePlatform
Anthony Rodio, Chief Operating Officer, support.com
Eric Smith, Chief Technology Officer, Control4
Bill Stanley, Director, Operations Solutions, Telcordia
Mike Talley, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Customer Care, 2Wire
Steve Tranter, VP, Interactive and Broadband, NDS
Evan Tree, Chief Products Officer, Logitech
Mark Vena, Vice President, PC Business Unit, Synaptics, Inc.
Bruce Watkins, Founder, President/COO, Pulse~LINK, Inc.

CONNECTIONS™ Summit also features a networking mixer on Friday evening, January 9, at the Hilton Hotel, open to all Summit attendees, speakers, and analysts.

Event registration is available through the CES Partner Program at http://www.cesweb.org/.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Vudu CEO Mark Jung has left the company

Vudu, the online TV box, has lost its second senior executive in the last three months: first the CFO, layoffs, and now CEO Mark Jung has left after exactly a year, we have confirmed from the company.

Reported by PaidContent.org

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Parks Associates finds mobile broadband operators face challenges in managing traffic and user control

Refined business models will control network use and yield more revenue --


The tremendous growth of mobile broadband usage, with annual growth rates of 200% in parts of North America and upwards of 800% in parts of Europe, will create future challenges for service providers if not properly managed.


A new custom study from Parks Associates, Mobile Broadband in North America and Europe: Change is Key to Continuing Profitability, found that many carriers rely on outdated business models, excessive pricing or flat-rate billing, to manage traffic. Excessive pricing slows growth and invites cutthroat competition. Flat-rate carriers charge a single rate for unlimited service, which does not effectively monetize traffic. Both models are unsustainable given current growth trends.


The custom study, conducted by Parks Associates on behalf of Camiant, a global provider of policy control for the wireless, fixed, and cable industries, included interviews with executives at major mobile broadband providers in Canada, Europe, and the U.S. The study determined adoption and usage of mobile broadband and carriers’ capabilities with respect to network and user control.


Denissov and Camiant’s VP of Business Development Randy Fuller will present the study findings during a free webcast on Wednesday, November 12, at 12 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

CONNECTIONS Sponsor, Control4 Selected by Home Theater Specialists of America to Offer Sophisticated Home Control Solutions

Control4 is the platform for today’s digital life. The company makes everyday life easier by providing one-touch control of electronic systems for both new and existing homes and hotels. By allowing leading consumer electronics products and home systems to easily work together, Control4 provides effortless entertainment, comfort, convenience and peace of mind to owners everywhere.

Control4's affordable and easy-to-use software and hardware products enable home theater and television control, multi-room music, temperature control, security integration and smart lighting, through a range of on-site and over-the-web remote control technology. The company delivers both wired and wireless solutions that can be installed in existing properties as well as new construction.


Control4, the leader in IP-based home control and entertainment systems, announced a strategic relationship with Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA), a national association of home theater experts with 62 members and aggregate annual sales volumes exceeding $500 million. Control4’s complete line of home automation products is now available to all HTSA’s members.

HTSA offers its members not only a combined buying power but also a whole directory of professionals available to provide advice on sales, product selection, installation techniques and marketing programs including demand and lead generation. HTSA’s Suite of Services gives members options to choose from when it comes to television commercials, store signs, truck graphics and expert advertising consultation. This unique access provides members with helpful resources that are tailored for individual stores.

Control4’s platform replaces on average four remotes in the home. In addition to the popular home theater control, the company offers convenient and sophisticated home control integration solutions including: multi-room music, lighting, temperature control, security integration and more.

Visit www.control4.com for more information.

KPN sees strong growth

Dutch telco KPN has reported a growth of 69% as subscribers for its IPTV service reached 700,000 in Q3.

KPN estimates it now has a 21% share of the Dutch digital television market. The telco's total revenues for the Q3 hit E3.652 billion, up 20% from the same period of last year, while net profits fell 0.6% by the same comparison to reach E353 million.

For more information about KPN, click here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TeliaSonera reaches 450,000 IPTV subs in Q3

Scandinavian telco TeliaSonera added 23,000 IPTV customers in the third quarter of this year across all regions to bring its total to 450,000, with over half of its IPTV customer base in Sweden paying to receive the service.

In Sweden, the push for IPTV resulted in a rise of more than 100,000 new subscriptions year-on-year to reach 320,000, however the company reported no growth on a quarter-on-quarter comparison in the country. TeliaSonera had a total of 839,000 digital TV subscribers across all regions, including its cable TV operations in Denmark.

Net sales by the Broadband Services division fell 1% year-on-year to reach SEK 11,063mn (US$ 1,376mn) in the third quarter of 2008, however growth in voice and IP traffic, and higher sales of IP-based services, "did not fully offset the decline in traditional fixed voice", according to the company. The total number of broadband subscribers across all regions reached 2,405,000 by the end of the third quarter of this year, up 26,000 from three months previously. Broadband average revenue per user (ARPU) for the three months to September was SEK 275, up slightly from SEK 273 in the same period of 2007.

“Third quarter performance was good with growing sales and strong EBITDA, driven by Mobility Services and Eurasia," said Lars Nyberg, President and CEO of TeliaSonera . Sales in Broadband Services were essentially flat in absolute terms, but there is a considerable change in the underlying product mix, which puts pressure on margins. Improving operational efficiency remains one of our top priorities.

"We are in a period of global financial turmoil and it is very difficult to project how long it will last. However, TeliaSonera has a strong balance sheet and operates in a relatively non-cyclical industry. Therefore, we see no immediate effects of changing customer behavior in our operations. Regulatory intervention, intense competition and customer migration remain the primary challenges.

"Total net sales across all operations for the third quarter of this year rose 4% relative to the same period of 2007 to reach SEK 25,817mn, while net income fell 13% by the same comparison to reach SEK 5,411mn.

Stockholm-headquartered TeliaSonera is active in North and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Spain, and has IPTV operations in a number of countries including Sweden, Norway, Lithuania and Estonia.

CONNECTIONS Sponsor, Macrovision Continues Expansion of European Patent Licensing with COMAG

Global sponsor, Macrovision announced that COMAG Handels AG has entered into a patent license agreement for interactive program guides (IPGs) in its consumer electronics products. The multi-year agreement includes a patent license allowing COMAG to incorporate IPGs in certain retail set-top boxes and other consumer electronics devices distributed throughout Europe.

Macrovision is focused on providing a uniquely simple digital home entertainment experience by delivering solutions to businesses to protect, enhance and distribute digital goods to consumers across multiple channels. Macrovision's technologies are deployed by companies in the entertainment, consumer electronics, cable and satellite, and online distribution markets to solve industry-specific challenges and bring greater value and a more robust user experience to their customers. The result of deploying Macrovision's solutions is a simple end user experience for discovering, acquiring, managing and enjoying digital content. Today, Macrovision provides connected middleware, media recognition, interactive programming guides, copy protection and rich media, data and metadata on music, games, movies and television programming.

Macrovision is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, with numerous offices across the United States and around the world including Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom. More information about Macrovision can be found at http://www.macrovision.com/.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wireless Networking Panel comes to CONNECTIONS Summit at CES

On Thursady, January 8th at 9:30 AM, Kurt Scherf , VP of Research and Principal Analyst at Parks Associates, will moderate the Wireless Networking panel at the CONNECTIONS Summit at CES in Las Vegas.


This panel examines the development of multimedia wireless networking technologies and their respective applications. Topics include the latest advances such as 802.11n, wireless HDMI, UWB, and the associated solutions that can be implemented on both fixed and portable CE devices. The panel focuses on wireless technology’s capability to facilitate multimedia (especially video) consumption in the home, a key area of interest to CE vendors, service providers, and chipset developers.


Panel speakers include the following companies: AMIMON, WirelessHD, ProVision Communications, and Pulse~LINK.

Mobile Broadband in North America and Europe: Change is Key to Continuing Profitability

On Wednesday, November 12th at 12 PM ET (11 AM CT), Parks Associates and Camiant will be hosting a webcast that addresses mobile broadband in North America and in Europe.


Since mobile broadband markets are blooming, mobile carriers in Europe and North America alike see strong growth in mobile subscribers and massive growth in non-messaging mobile data traffic. Yet there are troubles on the horizon. Many carriers use rudimentary network control and business models to monetize the service. These models leave money on the table in the short term and condition abusive consumer use cases in the long term.


This webinar will address the following key focus areas: 1). Mobile broadband adoption and data traffic; 2). Market forecasts and growth trends; 3). Regional differences in business models and traffic growth patterns (Eastern and Western Europe, U.S. and Canada); 4). Managing mobile broadband network use: drawbacks and challenges; and 5). Need for more refined network controls and business models.


To sign up for this free webcast, please complete this online form: http://www.parksassociates.com/camiant/index.htm

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CONNECTIONS Summit at CES addresses Customer Support in Digital Home

On Thursday, January 8th, 2009, the Digital Home Customer Support: From Troubleshooting to Upselling? panel will take place at the CONNECTIONS Summit at CES. This panel will be moderated by Kurt Scherf, the Vice President and Principal Analyst at Parks Associates.

Remote, in-store, and at-home consumer IT support services will generate $1 billion in revenues annually in the next few years, a substantial market opportunity. However, the market for these services to date includes mostly ad hoc and reactive solutions. Are we about to witness the rise of more holistic, marketing-based, and proactive applications? How can customer support move from solving one problem to selling a complete set of lifecycle-based value-adds?

The confirmed speakers for this panel include:

  • Art Lancaster, CTO, Affinegy
  • Anthony Rodio, Chief Operating Officer, support.com
  • Fred King, VP, Sales & Marketing, PlumChoice, Inc.
  • Mike Talley, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Customer Care, 2Wire
  • Bill Stanley, Director, Operations Solutions, Telcordia

To view the agenda and other confirmed speakers, click here.

HomeToys supports CONNECTIONS Summit at CES

Parks Associates welcomes HomeToys as a supporting media organization of the upcoming CONNECTIONS Conference.

HomeToys recently released their monthly Home Tech Industry newsletter. The October/November issue includes highlights from Cedia Expo 2008, the HomeToys Special Show News Report, Getting Serious Energy Management, Getting VoIPed on a Home Network, It's Time to Personalize Surround Sound, Integrating Home Theater & Whole Home Audio, New Options for Technicians, Tubes You Can Use, PLC - Wireless Lighting Control, No Way to Regulate, and e-Health Opportunities. To read these topics in depth, please click here to view this month's issue.

For more information about HomeToys, visit http://www.hometoys.com/ .

Friday, October 24, 2008

An Excellent Broadband TV Primer

Parks Associates Web Cast, Broadband Video to the TV and Beyond, is an excellent primer for anyone wanting to get the most out of the upcoming Digital Hollywood and TelcoTV conferences. It is not too late to listen, as Parks Associates has the recording online. Kurt Scherf, Vice President, Principal Analyst, combines extensive primary and secondary research together with excellent analysis to provide a clear picture of the current broadband video market.

Scherf’s presentation provides an update on the broadband video space and the various players that are distributing online video content, how online video is being monetized and the rise of networked consumer electronics as a way of viewing broadband video. He splits the broadband video space into multiple categories, including:

  • DVD+electronic delivery (e.g. NetFlix)

  • Broadcaster initiatives (e.g. ABC, CBS, etc.)

  • Internet Video Providers (e.g. Apple TV)

  • Portals (e.g. Google)

  • TV on the Web (e.g. Veoh)

  • Broadband Service Providers (e.g. Verizon)

  • Hardware and Content (e.g. TiVo)

He makes the point that the combined revenue for theatrical box office, DVD sales and DVD rentals has been flat since 2004. As a result, all of the major content owners seen online video as a new revenue channel. Examples of the seriousness of the major content providers include:

  • NBC, where 92% of viewers who start a program watch the entire program

  • CBS estimates its average online video viewer is 38 years old

  • ABC.com has served up 400 million episodes and 1 billion advertisements.

The major content owners are finding advertising as one way to monetize existing content, with ad rates up to $70 CPM on sites such as Hulu. The value of online advertising is more than just impressions, as ad executives surveyed by Parks Associates highly value the interactivity, reporting, immediate feedback and direct customer relationships that broadband video provides.

Broadband video allows for innovative advertising and new formats, such as overlay ads, which are much less intrusive to viewers. One of the early innovators in overlay and alternative format advertising is Blip.TV, which, according to Scherf, will be integrating onto Verizon’s FiOS service. Scherf points out broadband video may provide service providers, such as Verizon and Comcast with new advertising opportunities as well.

People are also spending money on transactional online video. Scherf suggests that the game console has become and will continue to be an important way for viewing video from the Internet (e.g. see this link on how the Play Station 2 works with video). For instance, over 5.1 million homes are using game consoles to view video. In the case of the X-Box 360, the average monthly spend is over $20 per month. Other methods for moving online video to the living room include DVD players and TVs with integrated Internet connections. To this last point, Scherf sees a general trend for a tighter linkage between content and devices.

This article captured just a few of the many jewels from this excellent webcast. Scherf ended the session with a number of provocative questions that remain to be answered. I look forward to future Parks Associates’ webcasts to help answer his questions regarding this rapidly evolving market.

Written by Ken Pyle, 10-23-2008

Spain prefers Analog TV

One and a half years before the analogue switch-off, scheduled for April 2010, Spaniards seem to be not very keen on DTT as most of them, 61.4 percent, still prefer to watch analogue TV, according to the latest viewing figures.


DTT got an average share of 17.4 percent in September, a record figure in its history but still very low in comparison with the allegedly high DTT take-up, with 37.4 percent of Spanish homes already enjoying DTT (of which 32.4 percent have an IDTV), according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE).


According to INE, TV penetration reaches 99.7 percent, with 21.4 percent receiving TV through satellite, 15 percent through cable and 4.6 percent via IPTV. INE's latest report also reveals that 51 percent of Spanish homes have access to the Internet, of which 43.5 percent (almost 6.6 million homes) through broadband via ADSL (67.9 percent) or cable (14.8 percent).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Global CONNECTIONS Sponsor, Icron Strengthens USB Extension Patent Portfolio

Newly Acquired Patent Increases Icron’s USB Patent Portfolio to 19 --

Icron Technologies Corporation, the developers of ExtremeUSB®, announced this month that it has acquired, from the original third party inventor, an early unassigned USB extension patent that further strengthens its existing patent portfolio on USB extension solutions. Icron’s USB patent portfolio now numbers 19 issued or pending patents.



The purchased patent titled “Extender apparatus for USB connection of computer units”, US Patent 6308215, issued in October 2001, is the earliest patent that deals with specific implementations of extending USB across a pair of wires. It complements Icron’s existing patents that extend USB at a protocol level over any media. The invention described in this patent enables USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 peripherals to be connected to a host over a pair of wires and is found in many applications today, particularly in the USB 1.1 active cable extension market.



With over 2.6 Billion USB-enabled devices shipping in 2007 alone, USB continues to be the most recognized and successful interface for device connectivity in the PC, CE and mobile device market.



Icron believes that there are a number of USB extension implementations on the market today that are covered by this patent, and will be looking for opportunities to license the patent to companies where appropriate.



For more information on the company and its products, please visit http://www.icron.com/ .

Premiere loses big and restructures

German pay-TV broadcaster Premiere’s shares fell 60 per cent as it announced losses, a subscriber number re-statement and revealed it is trying to restructure bank debt.


"As a result of the EBITDA outlook, Premiere has commenced discussions with its banks regarding a restructuring of debt facilities and is confident to reach an agreement," it said.


The company said it was satisfied with the way the talks were proceeding and did not plan a capital increase. "We are conducting a thorough review of operations and are confident that this will result in a new strategic direction supported by a financially sound business plan for the future growth and profitability of Premiere," said CEO Mark Williams.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sponsor of CONNECTIONS, MoCA has new member

Parks Associates and the CONNECTIONS Conference welcomes The Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) as a continued sponsor of global events for 2009.


MoCA is an open, industry driven initiative promoting distribution of digital video and entertainment through existing coaxial cable in the home. MoCA technology provides the backbone for whole home entertainment networks of multiple wired and wireless products.


Time Warner Cable, the second largest cable television provider in the U.S., has joined MoCA® as a Contributor level member. Time Warner Cable provides a variety of services for the connected home in addition to cable television including digital phone and high-speed Internet access. As of March 31, 2008, Time Warner Cable served approximately 14.7 million customers who subscribed to one or more of its video, high-speed data and voice services, representing approximately 33.0 million revenue generating units.


Visit http://www.mocalliance.org/en/index.asp for more information.

Broadcast industry needs to improve the quality of video content and lower the cost per deliverable

AmberFin releases the results of a research survey conducted at this year's IBC conference in Amsterdam.


The results clearly demonstrate the use of multiple platforms such as broadband, IPTV and mobile handsets as key drivers for the industry moving forward. The quality of content was named as a key factor affecting take up of these newer delivery platforms.


For more information, visit: http://www.amberfin.com/

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Virgin Media Television appoints new Execs

Virgin Media Television has confirmed two senior appointments to strengthen and develop its commercial strategy for the multi-screen digital future.

David Cuff joins VMtv as its new Commercial Director, responsible for commercial strategy across the full range of VMtv’s business. Cuff has previously held positions with Flextech Television and Initiative Media, and runs his own consultancy business, Cuff Media.

Ivan Ali-Khan also takes up the newly-created position of Head of Digital, reporting to Cuff. Ivan will be responsible for VMtv’s multiplatform commercial and creative strategies, and he is tasked with developing VMtv’s channel and programme brands across broadband, on-demand and mobile. Ali-Khan has been Head of Media Planning at VMtv since January 2006, and was previously Broadcast Director at the Media Planning Group.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cable Europe and Screen Digest release digital cable TV subscribers numbers

Customer subscriptions for digital cable TV jumped 18 percent to 16.3 million across Europe in the first half of this year, as subscribers migrate to enhanced services.


Figures published by Cable Europe, the cable industry association representing operators reaching more than 70m households, and compiled by Screen Digest, the media market analysts, revealed a record growth for the European cable industry in digital television.


Cable Europe, the cable industry association representing operators reaching more than 70 million households, welcomed the figures as evidence that cable platforms can attract new customers for digital TV, internet and telephony services.


Manuel Kohnstamm, President of Cable Europe, said: “Demand for digital services is showing that customers are upgrading their older analogue services faster than ever. The new digital services enable the industry to provide a richer audience experience.”


Of Europe’s largest pay-TV markets, Screen Digest reported 32 percent growth in Germany to 3.4 million customers; 12 percent in France and Spain to 1.6 million and 1.05 million customers respectively; a 15 percent increase in the Netherlands to 1.8 million; and 3 percent growth to 3.36 million customers in the highly competitive UK market.


The growth rates in digital TV services were broadly mirrored in cable internet and cable telephony, which rose 6.7 percent and 9.2 percent respectively for Europe as a whole between the end of 2007 and June 30, 2008.Rising digital demand contrasted with a 5 percent decline in analogue cable TV services in the first half of the year, according to Screen Digest’s figures.

Global Media Awards to honor excellence at CES

David Wertheimer, CEO & Executive Director of http://www.etcenter.org/, becomes vice chairman of the new Global Media Awards. This is a new joint project between the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) to honor excellence in the creative adaptation of technology that enhances video programming or content.

Now, for the first time, these two industry leaders have partnered together to launch the Global Media Awards (GMA) in order to recognize how the worlds of technology and entertainment have merged to advance both the creativity and science of media worldwide. The Global Media Awards will be awarded at the opening night of the 2009 International CES, the world’s largest event for consumer technology, on January 8, 2009.

The Global Media Awards promote the advancement of content and technology innovation in seven new categories:


  • Short Form
  • Advertising
  • Web Site / Internet
  • Repurposed Linear / Traditional Content
  • Long Form
  • Platform
  • Experience / Program Guide

Entering one's work in the GMA competition will provide it greater visibility with respected experts in the digital media industry and the opportunity to be on the cutting edge at the 2009 CES/NATAS event in Las Vegas.

For information about the Global Media Awards, follow this link for the complete rulebook and application: http://globalmediaawards.org/ or call 212-586-8424.

Parks Associates will also be hosting the CONNECTIONS Summit at CES. This CONNECTIONS™ Summit features ten sessions, held January 8 & 9, the first two days at CES and moderated by the Parks Associates analysts. Attending these sessions offers the perfect start to CES – attendees receive consumer and industry data, insight from leading executives, and the opportunity to speak with Parks Associates' analysts.

Friday, October 17, 2008

ActiveVideo Networks becomes Global Silver Sponsors of CONNECTIONS events

Parks Associates announces ActiveVideo Networks™ as a Global Silver Sponsor for the 2009 CONNECTIONS™ conference.

ActiveVideo Networks™ provides programming and technology that infuse television with Web content and interactivity. Based on standard Web authoring and delivery technologies, the company’s ActiveVideo® Distribution Network simply and inexpensively enables expanded programming, navigation and advertising possibilities, allowing viewers to define and share TV experiences.

ActiveVideo combines Web-based media and targeted, clickable advertisements with the high-quality video, immediate responsiveness and remote control navigation of television for uniform interactivity across all digital set-tops and Web-connected televisions. ActiveVideo Networks is based in the heart of Silicon Valley, with offices in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Beijing and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit http://www.avnetworks.com/ .

Parks Associates looks forward to working with ActiveVideo Networks at the CONNECTIONS Summit at CES (Jan 8-9), CONNECTIONS Europe in Nice, France (March 31), CONNECTIONS US (June 2-4), and CONNECTIONS Europe (Nov).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

CONNECTIONS™ to focus on new opportunities and growth in broadband services, PC penetration, data networks, and new media

CONNECTIONS™: The Digital Living Conference and Showcase, the thirteenth-annual conference focuses on four primary tracks, correlated to Parks Associates’ research: Home Systems, Communications & Entertainment Services, New Media & Digital Content, and Consumer Electronics.

The event also features sessions highlighting Parks Associates’ consumer research and topics on the expanding vision of the digital lifestyle.

Parks Associates forecasts multiple sectors will prosper in the coming years:
- U.S. revenues for wireless and powerline controls will exceed $3 billion in 2012
- Service and hardware revenues will contribute $1.8 billion to the U.S. eldercare industry by 2013
- U.S. consumers will spend over $6 billion for Internet video services by 2013
- 68 million households worldwide will have home networking applications by the end of 2008

CONNECTIONS™ focuses on the solutions fundamental to the digital lifestyle and offers specialized tracks that examine the emerging opportunities as these solutions evolve.

CONNECTIONS™, hosted by Parks Associates with support from CEA®, is the premier executive event focused on the market developments and growth factors for advanced digital lifestyle solutions.

Call For Papers Announced - CONNECTIONS 2009

CONNECTIONS™: The Digital Living Conference and Showcase is now accepting speaker submissions for its 2009 conference, which will take place June 2-4 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California.

CONNECTIONS™: The Digital Living Conference and Showcase is hosted by leading research firm Parks Associates with support from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA®) and is the premier executive event focused on the market developments and growth factors for advanced digital lifestyle solutions.

This unique, research-driven executive conference and showcase, hosting close to 1,000 attendees each year, delivers insight and recommendations for new business models and opportunities in digital media/content, connected consumer electronics, broadband and value-added services, and home systems.

http://www.connectionsconference.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

HD-PLC Alliance becomes Global Platinum Sponsor

Parks Associates proudly welcomes HD-PLC Alliance as a Global Platinum Sponsor for the upcoming 2009 CONNECTIONS(TM) events.

HD-PLC Alliance was established in 2007, aims to promote widespread use of HD-PLC and interoperability among products using the technology. Its activities include expanding development of new products, education and increased awareness of the technology's benefits. The Alliance is open to companies, globally wherever engaged in developing products or providing services based on the HD-PLC format, as well as to any company interested in the HD-PLC technology, encourages their participation. http://www.hd-plc.org/

Thursday, October 9, 2008

WITI goes Platinum with CONNECTIONS™

CONNECTIONS™ is proud to welcome Women In Technology International as a platinum supporter of all the upcoming 2009 CONNECTIONS™ events.

WITI is the nation's leading trade association for professional, tech-savvy women committed to using technology, resources and connections to advance women worldwide. With a global network of smart, talented women and a market reach exceeding 2 million, WITI has established powerful strategic alliances and programs to provide connections, resources, and opportunities within a supportive environment of women committed to helping each other. WITI's mission is to empower women worldwide to achieve unimagined possibilities and transformations through technology, leadership and economic prosperity.

For more information please visit www.witi.com

Thursday, October 2, 2008

MPEG Industry Forum Supports CONNECTIONS Events

CONNECTIONS welcomes MPEG Industry Forum as a Supporting organization of all of the upcoming CONNECTIONS events.

The MPEG Industry Forum is a not-for-profit organization with the goal of furthering the adoption of MPEG Standards, by establishing them as well accepted and widely used standards among creators of content, developers, manufacturers, providers of services, and end users.

MPEG Industry Forum currently has over 50 Members and well over 2000 people subscribed to its mailing lists. Members represent very broad, worldwide interests across the board, from sectors including consumer electronics, chip manufacturers, professional equipment makers, content providers, computer makers, software companies, telecommunications, research institutions and more. Many members are MPEG-4 technology providers, some of them are technology users. MPEG Industry Forum has established, large companies, as well relatively new, smaller companies among its members, and members are equally distributed over Asia-Pacific, Europe and Northern America.

To learn more visit http://www.mpegif.org/

Thursday, September 11, 2008

CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES to examine business strategies, opportunities for advanced digital solutions

Speaker submissions accepted through September 12

Parks Associates and CEA® announced the session topics for the upcoming CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES, which will focus on business strategies, opportunities, and challenges for advanced technology, new media, and new access services.

CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES will address the new business and product opportunities inherent in the increasing connectivity of today’s market.

Session topics include the following:
  • Consumer Purchase Habits
  • Advanced Video Services
  • Digital Home Customer Support
  • Social Media
  • The GPS Market
  • Connected Consumer Electronics
  • Digital Photo Frames
  • Connected Gaming and Game Consoles
  • Digital TV and Set-Top Boxes
  • Home Systems and Controls

Parks Associates is currently accepting speaker submissions for CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES at http://www.parksassociates.com/events/connections/summit/2009/agenda/index.htm . The deadline is September 12, 2008.

In addition, Parks Associates will feature its latest consumer research projects in Booth #25556, South Hall 2 during the CES International event.

The full press release is available at: http://www.parksassociates.com/events/connections/summit/2009/media/pr5.htm

Monday, September 8, 2008

Is the Fancast Store a Mistake?

In the age of online entertainment, consumers get virtually unlimited choice of content and unlimited means to entertain themselves. They can stream their favorite episode of Lost from ABC.com, watch full-length movies on Hulu or even download episodes of shows like the The Office from NBCDirect and they can do it all for free.

These choices offer consumers unprecedented amount of control over their entertainment experience, which is bad news for incumbent content aggregators: cable, satellite and IPTV companies. The incumbents have to create a way to deliver increasingly-sophisticated entertainment to consumers for free.

Amy Banse, the president of Comcast Interactive Media, alluded to some of thesechallenges during her keynote at the Parks Associates CONNECTIONS™ event in July (http://parksassociates.com/events/connections/2008/attendees/materials.htm).

Comcast is a great example of an incumbent provider working hard at establishing new entertainment avenues for consumers. In 2006, it launched Ziddio, a user-generated portal similar to YouTube. It followed up with FearNET.com, a horror movie and community site. In 2008, it launched Fancast, a video aggregation and streaming site.

Not all its experiments have been a success. In August, Ziddio has closed its doors (or shut down its servers) for good. FearNET, on the other hand, is alive and growing. In 2007, Comcast expanded it onto the video-on-demand (VoD) platform. This is a critical step for Comcast, as it is trying to build a holistic consumer experience, linking TV, internet and mobile into one.

Comcast’s latest foray into the digital media distribution is the launch of it’s Fancast store in September of 2008. Using the store, any broadband customer in the US can download from over 3,000 titles. Comcast plans to expand the library to 10,000 by the end of 2008. With the new store, users will have an option to buy or rent the video and download it to their PC at prices comparable to Amazons: $10-15 to buy and $4 to rent.

This latest expansion makes me pause to think about what Comcast is trying to accomplish. Have they not learned from iTunes, Hulu and Veoh? What about Netflix and Walmart, who got their own bruises trying to set up digital distribution?

Without a doubt, Comcast will face many of the same challenges as distributors listed above, however, in Comcast’s case, there are significant benefits that would make this strategy worth the risk and give Comcast a chance to succeed. Let’s take a look at each in greater detail. First, let’s consider the challenges:

Unfavorable economics. Same argument as applied to Hulu and Veoh and Joost applies to Comcast: content owners keep the bulk of the video advertising revenue. Although Comcast did not comment on the revenue arrangements, it did admit that content owners sell ads in the videos featured on Fancast, which usually means that content owner retains 70-90% of the revenue. With the launch of the Fancast store, Comcast acquires an additional revenue source: consumer purchase and rental fees, however, it is also likely that content owners keep the bulk of those.

Digital rights ruin consumer experience. Content owners manage media rights very carefully, to ensure revenue maximization. This would hinder the delivery of the holistic consumer experience mentioned above. For example, a movie, or a TV episode may be available on Fancast site, but not available on VoD. Additionally, content owners are adamant about protecting their content with the Digital Rights Management (DRM) software. Fancast is no exception, using Windows Media DRM. DRM further restricts how viewers can enjoy video, for example, consumers can only watch video on a PC, not a Mac, mobile device or a TV. Such limitations also interfere with “for pay” business models outlined above. Rather than downloading a heavily-protected video file that can only be watched on a PC, consumers will opt to buy (or rent) a DVD, which can be watched on TV or PC and now even on a mobile device as some DVDs include digital versions.

Competition will hinder success. Online video field is extremely hot with many hands reaching for very little revenue. From the broadcast networks to the device manufacturers, companies like ABC, NBC, Apple, and Microsoft are all striving to deliver the next generation of the consumer entertainment experience. Standing out in this crowd will require an exceptional product with clear differentiation.

There are, however, opportunities for Comcast in pursuing this strategy:

Content owners crave secure, multi-platform distribution. As consumers increasingly engage in concurrent media consumption and ad avoidance, the effectiveness of advertising in media decreases. Advertising revenues pose the bulk of revenue for many content owners and they want to ensure that if effectiveness of one channel, such as TV, diminishes, they have another channel, such as internet to supplant it with. Service providers such as Comcast make very good partners for media companies, potentially yielding better revenue splits and more lenient distribution rights.

According to Alix Cottrell, general manager of Fancast, this is the route that Comcast intends to follow. Current plans will allow Comcast customers with VoD or DVR to either copy online content into their VoD folder or have it recorded on their DVR (if the show is only available on linear TV). Comcast plans to implement this service within 12 months. In the next 24-48 months, Fancast also plans to launch a mobile component. Initially, consumers will still have to download content to PC and then port it to a mobile device. If the Clearwire partnership is successful, however, Comcast may also launch a direct-to-device service on par with at&t’s Mediaflo or Verizon’s VCAST. Finally, thePlatform, Comcast’s video delivery arm, has recently acquired Chirp, a social application developer, suggesting that Comcast is gearing to dramatically expand social features of its Fancast service.

Can build biggest libraries. As a media aggregator and distributor, it is easier for Comcast (and most service providers) to build large video libraries. It can leverage its linear distribution relationships to secure content from many providers. It is also not bound by the media ownership regulations that restrict some of the other aggregators. For example, Hulu still doesn’t have ABC’s and CBS’ content in its libraries and it likely never will. Even if the ideological differences between partners get resolved, media ownership regulations will preclude Hulu from adding more content partners.

So does Comcast’s launch of the Fancast store make sense? Will the store succeed? I think it’s safe to say that it does and it will. Of course it is important to keep in mind that success will NOT be measured by revenue or profitability of an individual property like Fancast. Fancast will, however, condition consumers to seek video online and will also build stronger links in consumers’ minds between internet video and traditional TV. As content owners relax their rights requirements, Comcast will be in the position to deliver the holistic consumer experience, which envelops consumers in content (and advertising) regardless of where they are or which device they are using. That service may even be compelling enough for consumers to consider opening their wallets!

------------------------------
Written by Anton Denissov, Research Analyst, Parks Associates

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

THE EVOLUTIONS OF VIDEO DEVICES - session recap

Kurt Scherf opened the session by discussing how multi-platform video experiences are not a reality today. When consumers access Internet video services, for example, they are overwhelmingly accessing content only on the PC, and very few are using TVs and portable multimedia players (PMPs). Only 5% of Internet video viewers watch their video on a PMP, not a highly successful platform.

From Parks Associates’ TV 2.0: The Consumer Perspective consumer research study, multi-room access to content in the form of whole-house DVR applications is a feature of growing importance. Parks’ research indicates that operators who deploy multi-room DVR will be in a better position to acquire customers from other service providers who are not offering such a solution. Also, Internet video services are struggling to attract a substantial base of paying customers. However, making video accessible at the television will change this dynamic considerably. Scherf said that connected consumer electronics platforms – including game consoles, televisions, DVD players, and others will contribute to growing revenues for Internet video services.

The panelists then had a chance to introduce themselvess:

Richard Bullwinkle, Chief Evangelist, Macrovision - DLNA is important – to address TV to Internet connectivity. Hard drive in the home is a waste of energy, etc. Content in the cloud is the future, once rights are addressed, as content companies are better archivers of their content. Future of their business: 1) metadata provider, 2) guidance which is social network related (widgets and recommendations), 3) technology in the form of DLNA toolkit.

Bernhard von Canstein, Director, Europe, Qualcomm - Most transmission is point to point, which does not serve video – therefore they developed MediaFLO. MediaFLO provides the full end to end ecosystem in the US. Live streaming video and clipcasting provided. MediaFLO up and running in the US but just now entering Europe. FLO Forum is driving standardization worldwide.

Laurent Jabiol, CEO, NEOTION - Neotion is a French company. They are focused on bringing premium content services directly to the television. Pay TV providers struggle with high infrastructure costs to deploy customer premise equipment such as set-top boxes. Enabling televisions to receive IP services is a cost-effective way to enable new services in the living rooms. Netion’s solution takes European standards such as DVB-CI and CI+ and creates CI modules that televisions can accept to receive premium services. These modules allow televisions to perform a variety of functions, including DVR, multi-room streaming, and support high-quality video experiences (MPEG-4 and high-definition content).

John LeMoncheck, Co-Founder, Wireless HD and SiBeam - SiBeam’s solution enables the wireless transmission of gigabits of data – enough for uncompressed HD signals in the home. Back channel enables wireless connectivity to other devices, such as iPod, digital camera, STB, etc. The 60GHz band is a new spectrum capable of very high output. SiBeam formed WirelessHD forum to unite early chip and TV set players. DHCP is the method of content protection, now approved by Hollywood.

Eugen Pfumfel, Toshiba Europe - Toshiba develops system-on-chip (SoC) solutions that enable consumer electronics platforms to become video platforms. Their SoC solutions are aimed at mobile television, digital television, and high-definition offerings. Toshiba’s solutions support MPEG-4 decoding, pixel improvement, and connectivity (wired and wireless).

In the Q&A, Scherf asked the panelists about the use cases for video devices that would exhibit strong early growth.

Richard Bulwinkle commented that the products that delight the customer will be the ones that will be sold. He noted that success will come from understanding the use cases, and particularly those that provide for greater consumer personalization of the video experience.

Laurent Jabiol from Neotion agreed, indicating that devices that offer options, flexibility and provide user control will win.

John LeMoncheck said that a key to video products was to ensure that any new features – such as wireless connectivity – don’t degrade the primary focus of the device – like being a good TV. Therefore, TV manufacturers have been very reluctant to add new features that will have to support.

Bernhard von Canstein indicated that the importance of mobile TV was to prevent churn, and that it would be important for mobile TV services to blend more seamlessly with wireline based services to provide more of an integrated experience. This means that user interface consistency will be a very important feature of multi-screen television services.

Kurt asked if there will be many wireless HD sets in them? SiBeam says many radios will coexist in the TV.

Kurt asked if the future home will have thick clients, or many thin, and what is the future for STBs? Richard Bulwinkle indicated that the answer is going to vary from one region to another. The Asian entertainment experience, he noted, is very personal and much more reliant on mobile devices than in other parts of the world. For some consumers, the mobile phone will be the only entertainment platform. Many different types of devices throughout the home – room for many to play together.

Laurent Jabiol from Neotion said that it was important to keep the television as front-and-center of the entertainment experience. He noted that deviations from this vision, including the Media Center PC/living room PC have failed because the living room is not the right place for a PC. Eugen Pfumfel from Toshiba indicated that the game console or PC both will entertain in other rooms.