Tuesday, May 23, 2006

TV isn't dead: Apple's broadcasting future

Driving to visit a friend in Four Ways, a Northern Joburg surburb in South Africa, I'm struck by what I see.

A security check point at the mouth of his well-to-do address controls the flow of traffic and people into his street, which breaks into a small town, furnished with all the necessary amenities for the community.

The analogy is not so far fetched for Apple.

Having staked its logoed flag in the terrain of desk top publisher, I-Movie auters and I-Tunes twisters, to name a few, the company has now become neighbourly to a new community.

The public delivered brand loyalty and a mass movement uptake to its poduct range, but this one consisting of professional broadcasters delivers a relevance of how television is shaping here, now and the future.

Oh yes, the Internet may have a radical transformative effect on what we watch, but television, says conference attendant Adrian Scott, from The Bakewell consultancy, will still be a force for the future.
So Apple's executive briefing to broadcasters reveals how well it's set up store in Media "Four ways" with other partners offering everything to all.

The gathering in corporate surroundings, just off its Regent's Street store, was an opportunity to see new work flows - the taking in and putting out of media.

And by default, the chance to oggle at some new professional toys.
The buzz word appears to be "partnerships" with the likes of Sony, Norcom, and Popwire all bringing a dish to the tech table.

"The real challenge though is getting broadcasters to understand what the technology can do for them", says Mr Scott.

The big beasts of broadcasting, with a strong foot in news, have until now included AVID Newscutter, BASYS, Quantel and ENPS.
But Apple's broadcast solution and new partners seeks to offer alternatives across the board.

A couple that stood out include the multiple window play-to- edit application on Final Cut. Live editing using multiple source cameras just got easier.

Whilst Norcom's add-on to Final Cut allows broadcasters to match scripts to pictures without physically counting three words to the second for a match.

Then there's Popwire, which boasts on its goody take home - a software CD - that its Compression Master 4 delivers industrial strength media encoding. I'm yet to try it out.

Whilst these innovations are specifically targeted at professionals, hence their price range; the Sony XDCam cost about 50,000 Euros, there could be a long tail benefit.

If Apple's record in the low entry level market is anything to go by, then perhaps at some point, consumers may well sample some of these broadcast solutions at tiered market prices.

Now that would be neighbourly.


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