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Video Storage Formats: Then & Now

Video Storage Formats: Then & Now

The Motion Picture Industry had begun to develop in early 1900s. Celluloid Nitrate films were the industry norm till the magnetic tape came into play. With technology, the video storage carriers have also evolved. From carrying bulky video cameras for shoot and storing cans of videos archives to live streaming of video using a mobile, video has come a long way.  Let us look at some key formats through the history of video.

1956 saw the coming of Quadruplex videotapes which were most commonly used commercial distribution medium at that time. Developed and released by Ampex, 2” Quad was the first successful videotape format. The name comes from its four-head wheel which rotated 240 times a second. VR 1500/600 (by Ampex) was the first consumer VTR.

From Videotape we graduated to video cassettes. In 1969, Sony introduced a prototype for the first widespread video cassette, the 3/4″ (1.905 cm) Composite U-matic system. ¾” U-Matic, Sony, 1970 was one of the most successful formats of all time. Until its release, news acquisition had primarily been gathered on 16mm film.

In 1976, Sony introduced Betamax which was the first successful consumer video cassette. It failed in the marketplace against VHS due to its maximum record time despite initial success. Introduced as a competitor to Betamax, VHS, JVC, 1976 was the most successful among all home video formats.

Sony introduced Betacam in 1982, which eventually turned out as the most widely used analog tape based format, later Digital Betacam was introduced in 1993 as a replacement for the analog Betacam SP format. Sony’s D-1, the first digital VTR, featured uncompressed digital component recording and was mainly used in high-end post-production facilities with special effects and multiple layering of video signal.

In 1985, Handycam introduced by Sony was the first portable Video8 Camera with commercial success. The 8mm video format refers to 3 video cassette formats namely, Video 8 (analog), Hi8 (combination of analog and digital) & Digital 8 (digital). And a decade later in 1995, the next generation of digital disc storage was introduced, the Digital Versatile Disc (DVD). The world’s first DVD player was the Toshiba SD-3000 launched in November 1996 and was made available in Japan, US, Europe and Australia.

Blu-Ray is the next generation of optical disc format aimed to store high definition video (HD). Named after Blue Laser, it stores more data than a standard DVD.  DigiBeta is the highest quality standard definition format in common use. It’s 10 bit 4.2.2 with a low compression of 2.3 and a common SD delivery format with many broadcasters. Launched in 1995, DV is a format for storing digital video. DVCPRO, also known as DVCPRO25, is a variation of DV developed by Panasonic and introduced in 1995 for use in electronic news gathering (ENG) equipment. In 1996 Sony responded with its own professional version of DV called DVCAM.

Its competitor is High-Density Digital Versatile Disc (HD-DVD). Promoted by Toshiba, NEC & Sanyo, it is a digital optical media format applying the same disc size as Blu-Ray.  As far as quality of Video is concerned the future belongs to Ultra HD or UHD. The UHD Alliance comprising of 35 companies have laid down UHD Premium Specification in 2016. The specification comprises a list of features that should be included in products like TVs and Blu-ray players to ensure maximum compatibility with other content and hardware produced.

Though availability and quality of recording devices is a huge edge, it comes with disadvantages. Modern recording devices produce 720p, 1080p and 4K video resolutions eating up hard drive space thereby slowing it down. It faces lack of adequate backup feature as well. These inabilities make Cloud Storage Solutions the future of video storage.  Cloud provides excellent features like anywhere access, easy sharing and retrieval and also ensures longevity of the content.

Video content consumption has revolutionized our lifestyle in massive proportions. Surprisingly, the developing economies consume video content in startling way. Africa often referred to as “The Mobile Continent” witness 77% viewers consuming content on smart phones and 53% are interested in mobile video on-demand. UNESCO has highlighted, “much of our audio visual heritage has already been irrevocably lost and much more will be lost if no action is taken.” Broadcasters and content owners must now focus on migrating their valuable media assets to latest video storage formats and ensure its availability for generations to come. The future clearly belongs to the media organizations that adopt digital and offer choice of platforms (any device, any time) and variety of content to their viewers.

WHEN YOUR TOOTHBRUSH IS HACKED: IOT IN MEDIA

WHEN YOUR TOOTHBRUSH IS HACKED: IOT IN MEDIA

Have you ever imagine watching “The Avengers” hooked on to an automatic pulsating vibrating seat or watching Cookery Show while your room comes live with delectable aromas or your coffee getting brewed on its own right at the beginning of your favorite comedy show or when you are watching the much awaited football match you may see players’ stats superimposed on the screen. How will your little world transform if you get to use your Living room TV to start your oven or stop the sprinkler system outside or switch off the AC in your bedroom or simply check on your sleeping baby. How about friends residing in different parts of the world watching same TV program and sharing FB reviews or Twitter Account recording the blood alcohol level? Welcome to the world of “TV Everywhere.”- the hottest evolution of “Internet of Things.”

Internet, one of the most powerful creations in all human history, has evolved to its next stage-The Internet of Things or Internet of Objects. The term was coined by Kevin Ashton, founder of MIT’s Auto ID Centre in 1999. In the simplest terms, IoT is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on off switch to the internet. Range of devices may include cellphones, headphones, washing machines, television sets, coffee makers, lamps and almost anything you can think of. Sensors will be key driver in IoT expansion and among the most discussed applications for sensors are smart TV, smart cities, smart environment, water, metering, security and emergency services.

While nearly all types of media and entertainment businesses will benefit from the IoT, publishers and broadcasters are in the lead. The Smart TV seems to be the order of the day. They secure data from several devices and systems, structure detailed consumer profiles and use them to create and instantly deliver personalized content across multiple screens. This data is based on demographic location and behavioral pattern of consumer preference.

The IoT opportunities in the sector of Broadcasters, Cable Networks and Satellite Distributors are mammoth. Connected Broadcasting involves IoT in the truest sense. IoT impacts Broadcasting and Viewing in interesting ways. Your connected TV could automatically pause playback when it detects a doorbell or phone call. Your TV could also consider time of the day, brightness of the room or when did you enter the room. On getting back from vacation, let your TV provide you with absentee content like your favorite show heads-up. Let your home boast of “smart remote” which removes line-of-sight restrictions, open or close curtains and also emit signal on being misplaced. Crowd-sourced weather forecasts will soon be available on your TV screens.

Multiple System Operators (MSOs) are the conventional service providers in households. MSOs, ranging from cable to telco and satellite payTV providers with their existing devices like set-top boxes, remote controls and dongles already function in consumer premises and are now extending their reach over Wi-Fi as multi-service residential gateways. A residential gateway is an instrument that provides voice, video and internet services, but new devices fitted with radios are being created to support IoT protocols like ZWave and ZigBee. These new devices operate physical installation and maintenance on other devices at home reducing capital expenditure it takes to add services. Security of the home gateway is potential way for them to capitalize on their already considerable investment in security for set-top boxes. Samsung’s Smart Home can be perfect example. The company’s Smart TV box is acting as the main interface to connected devices. Privacy and security issues have already been considered by the brand when it made the customers cautious that conversations next to the TV might be recorded. The set-top box plays the heart of smart home.

CISCO IBSG forecasts there will be 50 billion devices connected by 2020 and this will redesign the way we live and work. IoT connections on its network in the media and entertainment vertical increased 120%. The average per-company global IoT spending by media and entertainment organizations was expected to increase nearly 54% over the next three years, to $72.6 million in 2018 from $47.2 million in 2015. According to data from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the top three nations tethered to the IoT are Korea, Denmark and Switzerland. Siemens has said these smart things are starting to power a fourth Industrial Revolution after steam, electricity and wired computers.

Africa and Content Consumption: Rise of the Mobile Continent

Africa and Content Consumption: Rise of the Mobile Continent

Africa’s mobile phone adoption over the last 15 years have been impressive. With around 67 percent, or 1.13 billion population of Africa using mobile phones, it is often referred to as ‘The Mobile Continent’.

According to Informa , the continent has become the second most connected region in the world in terms of mobile subscription. For a continent with more than 50.3 million Facebook users, it goes without saying that a vast majority of the population primarily consume content on mobile phones.

In countries like Nigeria and Kenya, the high rate of mobile phone adoption is bringing significant changes in the lives of the tech savvy population of the continent. What differentiates Africa is, unlike other continent, Africa is a ‘mobile-only’ continent. In Africa, unlike other countries of the world, internet is not another option, but the only option. As the continent still fights for electricity, millions of people experience the internet for the first time on a cellphone screen.

The explosion of mobile devices has given way to a world of possibilities for TV and media consumption in Africa. Users are no more restricted by time or place when it comes to entertainment, but watch their favorite videos or television any time of the day as per their convenience.

A 2015 research conducted by Ericsson reveals that 63 percent of students and 59 percent of young white-collar professionals in Kenya prefer to watch content of their choice on a personal device. Shorter video content is very popular, with about 77 percent users preferring to watch content on the smartphones. The study also reveals that 53 percent of young white-collar professionals are interested in mobile video on-demand.

“Mobile video is particularly prominent in Middle East/African regions, where 72 percent of online consumers report watching video on mobile phones at least once a month, and almost 37 percent say they do so at least once a day,” reports global market research company Nielsen.

The growth of online content industry is further underlined by the production of local content for online consumption. Nollywood, financed at Lagos and filmed in make-shift sets, has become second largest film industry in the world by volume. The industry, with its annual turnover of $500 million supplies content in the form of CDs and DVDs throughout Africa and African communities worldwide.

For example, iROKO Partners, owned by British-Nigerian serial entrepreneur Jason Njoku has six million viewers in 178 countries. Dubbed Africa’s Netflix, iROKO streams Nigerian content in the form of movies and music through its platform.

Taking clue from iROKO’s business model, which is built around ease of access, other local players are also venturing to provide content online. Wabona provides online pay-per-view video streaming service while another South African start-up, Bozza provides a mobile platform for local filmmakers, artists, and entrepreneurs to distribute their content.

According to Alan Knott-Craig, former CEO of free instant messaging application Mxit, African consumers are hungry for online content and are ready to pay for the same. To address the need, Mxit has created a movie portal that allows its users to watch feature-length pieces in five to six parts.

As Africa’s online content consumption grows, broadcasters are focused on African origin content, which amounts to almost 70 percent of the content consumption in the continent. International investors are also becoming increasingly aware of the potential of African content businesses. It is undeniable that online content is a major industry in Africa, and if the bandwidth constraints and data cost are addressed, the continent will be the largest consumer of online media.

MediaGuru Wins APAC Stevie Award For Innovation in Digitization

MediaGuru Wins APAC Stevie Award For Innovation in Digitization

We are pleased to share that we have won the bronze Stevie® award for Innovative Services In Audiovisual Digitization in the category “Excellence in Innovation in Technology Industries.”

The Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards are the only business awards program to recognize achievement in innovation in 22 nations of the Asia-Pacific region. More than 600 nominations from organizations across the Asia-Pacific region were considered this year in various categories. Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners were determined by the average scores of more than 50 executives around the world acting as jury.

With over a decade of experience in delivering media services globally, MediaGuru has gained specialization in providing content digitization, media asset management and technology solutions to broadcasters and media organizations.

Details about the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards and the list of other Stevie Award winners are available at http://Asia.Stevieawards.com.