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[economictimes] Blu-ray discs get a Bangalore boost

04-07-2008, 03:35 AM
Blu-ray discs get a Bangalore boost
7 Apr, 2008, 0217 hrs IST,Mithun Varkey, TNN
The VCD (video compact disc) has always been a favoured format in India when compared to DVDs. While the VCD has the capacity to hold up to 80 minutes of moving pictures and sound, the DVD can store up to two hours of good quality video material. The DVD format has traditionally lagged behind the VCD in India. But of late, consumers are becoming more and more quality conscious and are turning to DVDs to provide them higher picture quality and surround sound. The surge in demand for DVD is driving the market for quality authoring services.

Authoring is the process of collecting audio, video, menus, subtitles into an interactive branching structure that will eventually become a playable DVD. When DVDs are authored the files are encoded into a certain format such as MPEG-2, that can be read by the DVD player. This process is known as compression.

The demand for compression and authoring (C&A) services in India, though limited, is growing. C&A services would help Indian filmmakers present their films to the home audience in the best quality possible.

Riding on this new wave of demand, Technicolor, the services division of Thomson, will launch a C&A operation in Bangalore in May. It will be located within Thomson’s 100,000-sq ft Paprikaas Animation and Game Design facility. Technicolor is one of the world’s largest film processors, with the ability to process more than five billion feet of motion picture film annually, and the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of DVDs and CDs, with the capacity to produce more than 1.8 billion DVDs and 170 million CDs annually.

Thomson’s Technicolor services division provides C&A services on hundreds of Blu-ray Disc and standard definition DVDs monthly, specialising in theatrical high-concept, collector’s editions double-disc sets, as well as television episodic series and music videos. Technicolor’s proprietary BD Jive(TM) authoring tools and Tiger AVC(TM) encoder are industry-leaders, said a Technicolor official. The new C&A facility in Bangalore is expected to be a central production hub connected to Technicolor’s world-wide DVD operations through its production network.

The Technicolor services division’s Bangalore operation will focus on serving the domestic Indian market, and it also will serve as an off-shoring location to augment the division’s capacities for worldwide DVD services.

Speaking on the market for DVD and Blu-ray C&A service in India, Technicolor C&A general manager Sumit Malik said: “The surge in demand for DVDs is driving the market for quality authoring services that Technicolor is recognised for, world-wide. The audience is now demanding DVDs with special features and director’s commentaries which are common on Hollywood DVDs.” According to Mr Malik: “Technicolor’s entry into the post-production space in India is well timed with the introduction of new high-definition content production, delivery and display technologies.”

Technicolor Content Services president Ahmad Ouri said: “As part of our expanding role in the Indian market, we feel the time is opportune to grow our C&A offering in Bangalore, especially in the light of the increased demand for Blu-ray authoring, now that the market has settled on a single format.” Mr Malik also said: “Technicolor is very committed to the Indian market and its operations in Bangalore. This is apparent by the multi-million dollar investment that is being made by us in what we call the ‘Centre of Excellence’.” According to Mr Malik, the facility is being designed for high-volume production and will scale as needed.

Over the next year, the company plans to add new services as and when the timing is right. The company sees big business from Blu-ray in future as the format war is over and manufacturers have settled on Blu-ray. Mr Malik said: “Flat screen, HDTV capable displays are flying off the store shelves in India. These TV owners have one problem, there is no high-definition content available to watch. Over-the-air broadcast of HD is non-existent and satellite HD channels will take some time. Blu-ray will fill this void and give consumers a way to enjoy their investment in HDTVs to the fullest. Sony has already launched the Blu-ray based PS3 and set-top players in India. Other manufacturers are also following suit to complement their HDTV offerings.”

“Our expectation is that Blu-ray will see a high adoption rate in the Indian market over the next few years,” he added. Technicolor is also looking to recruit technical engineers, compression experts, java programmers, interactive graphic designers, quality control (QC) technicians, project co-ordinators and client account managers for its Bangalore operations. “We will continue to recruit the best talent possible in the areas of authoring, video and audio compression, menu design, Blu-ray Java programming and quality control,” Mr Malik said.


04-07-2008, 04:19 AM
Interesting. This is certainly the market HD VMD has the best chance of capturing. They have a lot of Bollywood support and price on their side. Hopefully Blu-ray will get in quick enough and nip any potential HD VMD flourish in the bud.