Carriers Accept Over $1.5 B in Support to Expand Rural Broadband
Mon, 31 Aug 2015 16:56:23 -0400
Ten telecommunications carriers have accepted $1.5 billion in annual support for rural broadband deployment from the Connect America Fund, which, together with the carrier’s own investment, will expand broadband to nearly 7.3 million rural consumers in 45 states nationwide and one U.S. territory over the next few years.
Today was the final day for these carriers to decide whether to accept the offer of support from Phase II of the Connect America Fund, a key Federal Communications Commission program to expand rural broadband. Most of the ten carriers are major national carriers, and their acceptance will infuse over $9 billion from the Connect America Fund into rural broadband over the next six years.
“Today we are taking a significant step forward in narrowing the rural-urban digital divide,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “Access to modern broadband is critical to life in today’s society. The financial support provided by American ratepayers through the Connect America program is an investment in the future of our rural communities that will pay dividends for all Americans for years to come.”
By design, the Connect America Fund incentivizes significant further private investment by carriers receiving these funds for their rural networks. The Connect America Fund sparks this private investment though subsidies that reduce the prohibitively high cost of deploying networks in remote rural areas, with the balance of the investment borne by the carrier.
In April, these ten carriers were offered $1,675,810,041 in support on a state-wide basis from the Connect America Fund, and have now accepted all but $174,914,534. In states where carriers have declined support, the subsidies will be awarded by a competitive bidding process.
According to the FCC’s latest Broadband Progress Report, nearly one in three rural Americans lack access to 10/1 broadband, compared to only one in 100 urban Americans. Carriers receiving Connect America Fund support must build out broadband to 40 percent of funded locations by the end 2017, 60 percent by the end of 2018, 80 percent by the end of 2019, and 100 percent by the end of 2020.
CEA Defines ‘HDR’ as it Applies to UHD Sets
Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:55:34 -0400
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has announced the industry definition for high dynamic range (HDR) compatible video displays. HDR is a new capability that promises to deliver an expansive range of brightness and shadow detail, further enhancing the viewing experience. “HDR provides a significant step-up in delivering an incredible viewing experience for the consumer,” says Brian Markwalter, senior vice president, research and standards,CEA. “We encourage manufacturers and our industry partners to use this voluntary compatibility guideline to provide greater consistency and clarity while ensuring compatibility and interoperability across the full content development to display ecosystem.”
Paving the way for the introduction of HDR-Compatible Displays, the new CEA designation is designed to assist retailers and consumers in identifying display products that incorporate the interface and processing technology needed to display the new content properly. CEA and its display manufacturer members collaborated with leading content providers and distributors as well as other technology companies to establish the new display characteristics for HDR interoperability.
Many 4K Ultra High-Definition televisions (4K Ultra HD) will include early implementations of various next-gen technologies, including HDR, wider color gamut and higher frame rates, which provide a more realistic and immersive viewing experience.
CEA’s Video Division Board approved the following definition:
A TV, monitor or projector may be referred to as a HDR Compatible Display if it meets the following minimum attributes:
-Includes at least one interface that supports HDR signaling as defined in CEA-861-F, as extended by CEA-861.3.
-Receives and processes static HDR metadata compliant with CEA-861.3 for uncompressed video.
-Receives and processes HDR10 Media Profile* from IP, HDMI or other video delivery sources. Additionally, other media profiles may be supported.
-Applies an appropriate Electro-Optical Transfer Function (EOTF), before rendering the image.
“CEA’s leading role in defining HDR compatible displays complements the work of other organizations such as the UHD Alliance that are reportedly developing HDR-related performance parameters and guidance for the video content, distribution and hardware ecosystem,” Markwalter explains.
The new HDR interoperability guidelines build upon CEA’s extensive work in supporting and promoting 4K UHD technology. Previously, CEA collaborated with its member companies to develop characteristics and accompanying logos to designate 4K UHD TVs, monitors and projectors, as well as 4K UHD cameras and camcorders. CEA also has implemented a variety of promotional efforts to help educate consumers and retailers about the new display technology.
* Note: HDR10 Media Profile is defined as:
EOTF: SMPTE ST 2084
Color Sub-sampling: 4:2:0 (for compressed video sources)
Bit Depth: 10 bit
Color Primaries: ITU-R BT.2020
Metadata: SMPTE ST 2086, MaxFALL, MaxCLL
Panasonic’s AG-DVX200PJ Camcorder to Hit Streets in October
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:27:15 -0400
Panasonic’s AG-DVX200PJ 4K large-sensor, 4/3-inch handheld camcorder will begin deliveries in October 2015 with a suggested list price of $4,695. The DVX200PJ is the first in a new generation of large sensor, multi-format professional camcorders capable of capturing 4K/UHD, HD and SD, including cinematic DCI 4K 4096×2160. The company says it offers a suite of top-end features including 4K/24p* and 1080/60p recording, a V-Log L gamma curve and integrated 13X optical zoom lens design, the DVX200PJ will excel in documentary, reality television and event production, and prove an asset as a second-unit camera in 4K filmmaking.
The DVX200PJ is optimized for 4K/HD production, with strong bokeh effects and a V-Log L curve (measured at 12 stops) emulating the natural grey-scale rendition of the VariCam 35. The camcorder incorporates a newly developed 4/3” large-format MOS sensor with high sensitivity of F11, and offers variable frame rate recording from 2fps to 120fps in 1080p mode, enhancing the camcorder’s utility in sports and VFX production.
The handheld 4K camcorder offers an array of professional features including a newly-designed Leica Dicomar 4K F2.8~F4.5 zoom lens (4K/24p: 29.5 mm ~ 384.9 mm, HD: 28 mm ~ 365.3mm, 35 mm equivalent) with shallow depth-of-field, time-code in/out, 3G HD-SDI and HDMI 2.0 (4K) video outs (4:2:2 10-bit video), dual XLR audio inputs and 10 programmable user buttons.
The new Leica Dicomar 4K zoom lens with F2.8 aperture is an optimal choice for 4K video, with the ability to produce exceptional imagery and subtle bokeh. Leica’s exacting quality standards keep the occurrence of ghosting and flare to a minimum. Since the DVX200PJ is an integrated lens camcorder, there is no need to perform flange back adjustments or shading corrections when changing lenses. Even with a large diameter lens, the camcorder’s weight and balance have been optimized to facilitate agile, mobile 4K acquisition. With superb center-of-gravity balance, the camcorder is ideal for flexible shooting applications such as mounting on today’s popular stabilized camera rigs.
Three manual operation lens rings, 13x zoom (Cam driven), focus and iris, provide a comfortable manual control similar to an interchangeable lens camera, but without the need for actual lens changes. The zoom ring’s solid feel and smooth action allow delicate ultra-slow zooming. In addition, the camcorder’s multi-step zoom control provides fast response and smooth zoom action, yielding the creative freedom every camera operator desires. The zoom control on the handle enables variable speed zoom, allowing fine zoom control even for low angle shots.
The DVX200PJ works “out of the box” with integrated lens, viewfinder and included battery.
Consumer Sentiment toward Overall Economy Drops Amidst Stock Market Volatility, According to CEA Indexes
Wed, 26 Aug 2015 16:57:42 -0400
Consumer confidence toward the overall economy and technology spending dropped in August, according to the latest data released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®.
The CEA Index of Consumer Expectations (ICE), which measures consumer sentiment about the U.S. economy as a whole, dropped 3.7 points from July to reach 170.1 in August. August’s ICE also tracks lower for August year-over-year.
“August’s drop in sentiment toward the overall economy comes in the midst of a significant stock market correction,” said Shawn DuBravac, Ph.D., chief economist, CEA, and author of the New York Times best-seller Digital Destiny: How the New Age of Data Will Transform the Way We Work, Live, and Communicate. “Despite gathering storm clouds, some indicators suggest signs of strength and resiliency. Looking ahead, consumer spending is pointing to healthy growth in the coming quarters.”
The CEA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations (ICTE), which measures consumer expectations about technology spending, dropped 1.7 points to 86.7 in August.
“Viable concerns are now present heading into the back half of the year on the trail of slowed economic growth,” said DuBravac. “Yet, historical precedence suggests that consumer tech spending shows resiliency in times of economic decay, as consumers opt to stay home and focus their consumption on tech-related categories. 2015 could materialize in a similar way.”
Making Recycling Electronics as Easy as Purchasing Them
Mon, 24 Aug 2015 10:58:45 -0400
Recycling electronics is a national issue, and it requires a national approach. The CE industry’s eCycling Leadership Initiative
aims to increase collaboration from all levels of the industry and government to get more consumer electronics recycled. The initiative has increased the amount of electronics recycled nationally each year since its inception—from 300 million pounds of recyclable electronics in 2010 to more than 660 million pounds last year, a 120 percent increase.
Two key elements to achieving this success are increasing the number of collection sites available to consumers and raising consumer awareness to their availability. In addition to sponsoring recycling locations and websites that help consumers easily locate places to recycle their electronics devices, the industry has also produced public service announcements for radio and television on the importance of recycling old electronics. To date, those announcements have reached an audience of well over 100 million people. To reach a younger audience and their parents, the CE industry worked with Young Minds Inspired to create a school curriculum for fourth through sixth graders explaining what ecycling means to them and their communities.
According to the latest research, the average U.S. household owns roughly 21 CE products and three out of five homes (59 percent) know where they can recycle their old devices. In large part due to the CE industry’s efforts, there are more than 8,500 responsible recycling locations available to consumers throughout the country. And by the end of 2014, nearly all (99.9 percent) of the recycling completed by the eCycling Leadership Initiative’s participants was conducted in third-party certified recycling facilities.
Walter Alcorn, vice president of environment affairs and industry sustainability, CEA, says, “Our electronics devices are becoming lighter than ever. So even as we see continued increases in the total weight of CE recycled—about six percent more than last year’s total—we are continuing to recycle an even greater percentage of CE than in years past.”