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Mediacast 2002 Report [27 May 2002] 27600 views

(Page 1 of 2)

Land of confusion...

The sky was bible black when I reached ExCel buildings on Thursday afternoon.
The show this year stretched over three days and yet, due to absurdly chosen opening hours, was barely 20 hours long in total. Knowing that most manufacturers and retailers in this particular market niche, are small family businesses, setting the show to the middle of their working week perhaps wasn't the happiest choice after all. I could be wrong, but to me it seems the show receives less and less interest every year, and yet the hosts don't seem to have learnt from this repeated lesson. Yours truly just about made it on the last day before discovering his lunch break visit would be shorter than he thought, as Mediacast closed their doors, in true bankers style, at 4pm precisely.

The Convergence, a term proudly used to advertise the Mediacast show this year, would have been a more appropriate name for the show on the opposite side of the Excel hall; where the annual London International Wine & Spirits Fair was held. It opened longer, was staged more generously, and had a visibly more vivid nature.

Having said all the above, many manufacturers and authorized dealers decided to skip Mediacast this year anyway. Nokia, Technisat, Kathrein or Triax, to name but a few, didn't book their space at all.

Rather than maintaining crashed prototypes on the stand for three days, Humax organised a short meeting with their distributors in one of London's hotels. The Korean manufacturer presented a working version of its last year's PVR 5000 box, but since the model name and number is already taken by a "budget" PVR from Echostar, Humax decided to rename their product the PVR 6100.

Some makers and exhibitors this year seemed to be highly confused about their being at the show and, oblivious to the current market situation, flooded their limited space with DTT receivers. Others seemed definitely hemmed in by the coordinators - entertainingly Canal+ Technologies stalls were in the same area as the NDS stands, both booths positioned appropriately to the situation, with their rear and shaded sides to each other.

EM Technologies from Korea decided to invade the market with range of receivers already popularised and known in UK as GbSat. The full Hisat team, lead by Tony Hiscox himself, promoted GbSat on the other side of exhibition floor.


SG 2001 Following bizarre rules Jaeger's DiSEqC 1.2 motors and positioners were identical to Gentact's range (a closer look at promo material from Gentact revealed their SG2001 motor was in fact manufactured by Geotrack!). All together, the two of them share not only the same OEM product but also the same address in Taipei.

I could go on and on with similar examples, but this is not exactly what you expect to read about today - so to the point - let me tell you some good news:

The Attack of the clones

Lethargic last time round, the Danish manufacturer Force decided to shock everyone this year with additions to the D-Master series. With their trademark "Volvo 73' dashboard" exterior kept intact, the D-Master family now features long awaited S/Pdif digital audio connectors at the back, and new remotes (of noticeable Echostar descent).
New models include:

1144S - with 2Ci and 2 embedded Viaccess card readers
1145S - with 2Ci, embedded Conax and Viaccess.
1155S - with 2Ci, embedded Conax, Viaccess and modem.
1188S - PVR box with 2CI, embedded dual Viaccess readers and 60 Gb silent Hard Drive.
1189S - PVR box with 2CI, embedded Viaccess, Conax and 60 Gb silent Hard Drive.
1199S - PVR box with 2CI, embedded Viaccess, Conax, 60 Gb silent Hard Drive and modem.
The latter three are also available in a cable version. All new D-Masters can optionally match Bang & Olufsen TV remotes.

Strong/Fraccari tandem flooded their stand with endless examples of SRT 41XX, 43XX,44XX and 45XX families and all possible variants of Canal+ Set Top Boxes with embedded Mediaguard, Conax, Viaccess, or both of the latter together. Being busy providing more and more MediaHighway STB's to homes around Europe, Strong presented the retail market with a redesigned SRT 4355 Evolution and SRT 4356PVR - a new version of last year's 4355 PVR. This time the designers of both boxes kept them in unchanged for the years "strongish" style (not a negative thing by any means).
SRT 5356 PVR

Micronik Multimedia Micronik Multimedia of Germany demonstrated the good looking and loaded Movie Net 1500 - an interactive PVR Set Top Box with wide range of possible modifications, including xDSL connectivity, Video on demand over IP and the new 500, 800 and 900 Multi Access Modules. These modules, for use with Movie Net 1500, can now record and play MP3's (500/500+ range), record Mpeg2 from external analogue sources (800/800+ range) and from digital sources via firewire connectors (900/900+ modules).

On the large carousel stand Middle Eastern Fortec Star parked ther whole armada of identicaly looking receivers with simple and intuitive OSD known from Manhattan's 55XX series. From a simple, small and motorized FTA box - DVB 786, to the feature packed, embedded Irdeto machines with fearsome labels like FSIRCIP 5800HA and FSIRCI 5800 HDD.

Manhattan showed new additions to their Starlight range. The1000 - 3000 models, already available to the market, will be followed by versions 7000 through to 9800. The new boxes will have two CI's, digital audio output, S-Video connector and 40Gb hard drive. They will also feature a standard positioner and embedded Irdeto, Conax or, 'uh-aren't-we-obvious' Multicrypt. During Mediacast, Manhattan also launched a Digital Multimedia Recorder - a combined DVD player, PVR and dual CI/Irdeto embedded motorized satellite receiver all in one. The DVD will play VCDs and SVCDs as well as MP3s. The price of DMR 2000 is to be revealed later. Although DMR 2000 premiere was announced by Manhattan, the product itself could already be found in the newest Fortec Star's "summer collection" catalogue...
Manhattan Starlight
Manhattan DMR 2000

On one of the biggest exhibitors this year - Samsung - proudly presented an assortment of 703 Set Top Boxes with embedded conditional access, the handsome SPVR 801Ci featuring dual tuner and 40Gb hard drive, as well as the 9400 and famed 9500 series. Deep in the massive stand there was also space for few new items, the SDR 9600W, a 40Gb PVR box for European market, and the SDR9900 OT Via Ci with embedded Viaccess and OpenTV EN2 middleware. Taking a sneak peak at 9600W I couldn't help noticing few nice touch ups to the OSD, like an improved signal level indicator on the channel bar. Samsung also displayed their version of a Multimedia Recorder - DVD and PVR in one.

SPVR 801
DVD HDD Recorder






Our Reviews in
foreign languages

Micronik TVBox 1200S [SDTV Polish:]

Digiquest P2000 [SDTV Polish:]

Digiquest P2000 [SatIL Hebrew:]

Samsung 9000 Via CI [SatIL Hebrew:]

Force DMaster 1122s [SDTV Polish:]

Force DMaster 1122s [SatIL Hebrew:]

Technisat Technibox Cam 1 Plus [SatIL Hebrew:]

GbSat 2CI 20 [SatIL Hebrew:]

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