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European Custom Installer

System Integration for the Connected Home


RIP Bose Founder Amar Bose

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Audio pioneer and founder of the Massachusetts-based Bose Dr. Amar G. Bose dies age 83 according to statements from both the company and MIT, where he was a former faculty member. No cause of death is given as yet.

Amar BoseBose started the company sharing his name in 1964, basing it on research conducted at MIT. He received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in electrical engineering from MIT, and joined the faculty in 1956.

He remained faculty member until 2001, despite initial intentions of teaching for no longer than 2 years.

In 1956 Bose started a research program in physical acoustics and psychoacoustics, leading to the development of many acoustics, electronics, nonlinear system and communication theory patents.



HEVC is Coming – What Will It Change?

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by Paul Gray, Director of European TV Research, Display Search

Paul Gray

High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is a video compression standard, a successor to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, which will enable improved video quality, double the data compression ratio, and support 8K UHD (resolutions up to 8192×4320).

The ratification of the first draft specification of ITU’s HEVC has been hailed as the dawn of 4Kx2K television. However it is perhaps useful to consider other generations of compression and their effect to evaluate its true significance.

MPEG-2 brought the first mass-market digital video formats (MPEG-1 only ever got brief traction in VCD in Asia), enabling DVD and the first digital broadcasts. However its low compression efficiency also made HD broadcast difficult and only a few countries adopted MPEG-2 HD (Australia, Korea, Japan and the U.S.). Probably its biggest effect was to perfect the VCD concept as DVD.

MPEG-4’s initial breakthrough was celebrated as bringing economic HD broadcasting – in particular to spectrum-challenged Europe, but since then to all new digital broadcast deployments. However, its greatest impact (viewed with a few years’ hindsight) is not broadcast at all, but Internet video: Netflix, catch-up services and YouTube. MPEG-4 had unlocked video from the TV screen.


The AV Networking Congress 2013

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Networks were not invented for audio or video but for data...I suppose if they had been invented with audio/video in mind, then we wouldn’t need an AV Networking Congress.

To create an AV Networking Congress, some companies came together to bring to Amsterdam a full agenda dedicated to media networking. The list reads like a Who is Who: Atterotech, Audinate, Bosch, NTP, Link, Peavey Commercial Audio, Shure, Stagetec, Symetrix, TC Group, and Yamaha Commercial Audio are all sponsors.

The day-long conference will take place in the Holiday Inn near the RAI on January 29th. Spaces are limited so pre-Registration goes without saying. (There, I said it!)

From Large Scale Audio Networks to the corporate boardrooms of tomorrow, to networked studio broadcasting to AV network convergence, the agenda for AV Networking Congress 2013 is impressive as well as extensive.


InfoComm: Power Over Ethernet for Pro AV Applications

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Power over Ethernet

By Tim Kridel

[Editor’s note] This column was reprinted with permission from InfoComm International (link below).

Pro AV is increasingly about IP networking, with everything from audio to video surveillance traversing Ethernet. If you’re not running power over that cable, too, you’re missing an opportunity to reduce the cost and complexity of your installations.

From Wikipedia:

“Power over Ethernet, or PoE technology, describes a system to pass electrical power safely, along with data, on Ethernet cabling. The IEEE standard for PoE requires category 5 cable or higher for high power levels, but can operate with category 3 cable if less power is required. Power is supplied in common mode over two or more of the differential pairs of wires found in the Ethernet cables and comes from a power supply within a PoE-enabled networking device, such as an Ethernet switch, or can be injected into a cable run with a midspan power supply.”

In practical terms, AV integrators can use Power over Ethernet (PoE) products to eliminate the need for running a separate electrical line to each camera, touch panel or other AV device. And depending on local building codes, PoE can reduce or eliminate the need to hire an electrician. (Caveat: Some states, such as Connecticut, require a license to do low-voltage installations, including those involving PoE.)


The Future of Home Technology: CEDIA Success

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Add together CEDIA, Martin Stanford (the technology journalist from Sky), a group of industry experts and a topic like The Future of Home Technology, and what do you get?

CEDIA confNearly 200 happy conference-goers...

“This first ever CEDIA Conference has proved a tremendous success,” says CEDIA Chair, Gary Lewis. “All the speakers provided delegates with useful food for thought on the future of home technology and the opportunities for CI businesses. They were by turns revealing, inspiring and provocative. I would like to thank everyone involved. The Future of Home Technology was an exceptional two days for CI businesses.”

Video content showing the presentations from the conference are available to view at the CEDIA education website. They are free to delegates who attended the event whilst for those who did not attend the conference, they are priced at £14.99 (inc VAT) per session  to CEDIA members and £19.99 (inc VAT) per session to non-members.

Are these videos worthwhile? You be the judge after listening to some of the delegates talk about The Future of Home Technology. Hey, did we mention ECI was a proud media sponsor of this event?


When Will Blu-Ray Go Black?

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In USA in Q1 2012, according to the Digital Entertainment Group, subscription streaming of movies and TV shows rose up a powerful 545% Y-to-Y, while electronic sell-through showed a healthy 17% increase and video-on-demand growing at 7%.

Blu-RaysSpending on physical disc rentals (both Netflix and Blockbuster DVDs by mail, as well as brick and mortar stores in USA) dropped 25% from the same time period in 2011. Kiosk DVD & Blu-ray rentals went up 30%, but brick and mortar dropped almost 40% and subscription rentals nose-dived to 48%.

That all suggests the end of blank and pre-recorded optical media is nigh, along with the players that support the media.

Yet Blu-ray discs sales rose 23 % Y-Y overall. DEG says 2.4M Blu-ray players were sold in USA in Q1 ‘12 and 2 million new UltraViolet accounts were opened. UltraViolet provides a secure locker for keys to register users to open and view movie/TV files on almost any platform. If your customer buys a Blu-ray disc, they get a key for that DVD to watch it whenever, wherever.

Taken as a whole, we'll be selling Blu-Ray for some time to come. Not forever, but no need to worry for next couple of years. In  general, the Digital Entertainment Group reports for Q1 2012 home video spend rose 2.5% year-to-year($4.45B). That's the first year-over-year gain in USA two quarters. So, in Europe,  when the consumer market lifts, you can still expect Blu-Ray to lift with it.

Go DEG Q1 2012 Report

Gartner: CE Market to Hit $2.1 Trillion in 2012

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According to Gartner WW consumer spending on CE and technology services will spend $2.1 trillion in 2012-- with products bought including mobile phones, PCs, digital media and services.

CEThe 2012 forecast is $114bn more 2011 CE spending, and Gartner projects such a growth trend will continue over the next 5 years with an annual WW growth rate of $130bn. By 2016 the analyst predicts global CE spending will total $2.7tr.

"The three largest segments of the consumer technology market are, and will continue to be, mobile services, mobile phones and entertainment services," Gartner says.

The mobile device segment accounts for 10% of the total 2012 CE market-- being worth $222bn, a total set to reach around $300bn by 2016.

Mobile services (including apps and e-text content) consumer spending should reach $18bn in 2016 before growing to $61bn by 2016, as customers prefer spending on digital content than using retailers.

Gartner forecasts entertainment services (including cable, satellite, IPTV and online gaming) spending will total $290bn in 2016, up from $210bn in 2012.

The analyst remarks "consumers are willing to pay for [digital] content they deem 'worth it'," but ad-supported business models should also find success in services such as personal cloud storage, social networking, information searching, VoIP and online media streaming.

Go Gartner Says Consumers Will Spend $2.1 Trillion on Technology Products and Services in 2012