Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-01-26 Abby Gregory Graystone, Appraisal Logistics Continue Partnership January 26, 2012 444 Views “”Graystone Mortgage””:www.graystonebankmortgage.com/ and “”Appraisal Logistic Solutions, Inc.,””:http://www.gotoals.com/ have announced the continuation of their standing partnership. Currently, Appraisal Logistics facilitates compliance and risk management for Graystone, ensuring the quality of its lending transactions.[IMAGE]Appraisal Logistics specializes in compliance management for appraisal independence, and the company handles an estimated $250 million in loans for Graystone each year. The partnership between the two entities was initiated when Graystone, like all lenders, became subject to the appraiser independence standards contained within the Dodd-Frank Act.Commenting on the next phase of the relationship between Graystone and Appraisal Logistics, Graystone’s president, Bob Rader, said, “”The rules have changed. Today’s lending environment demands the next level of service and expertise from any industry partner. We need an appraisal management company that can ensure 100 percent compliance while delivering quality appraisals.””Rader went on to add, “”We evaluated numerous firms providing appraisal management services and ultimately partnered with Appraisal Logistics because they deliver the level of communication and industry expertise that we need to run an efficient, productive and successful mortgage lending operation. We leverage Appraisal Logistics’ guidance daily, processing more than 100 orders a month on average.””Echoing Rader’s statements, Appraisal Logistics’ CEO, Frank Danna, noted, “”Using a third-party appraisal management company allows a mortgage lender to outsource the risk of the entire process to better use their own internal resources. Lenders do not need to build an internal risk management department, affording cost savings that are not just on a per loan basis. We are proud to provide Graystone Mortgage with this essential industry service.””
Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires In college, Shumpert played four seasons with Iowa, which was also where he got his coaching start as a graduate assistant helping with wide receivers and special teams in 2016-17.Related LinksThe Kliff Kingsbury-loves-Kyler Murray narrative growsMichael Bidwill: Cardinals will continue leaning over their ski tipsCardinals’ Patrick Peterson to Antonio Brown: ‘Hit my line’The Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship was first introduced ahead of the 2015 season. It was created to provide more opportunities to incorporate diversity into the Cardinals’ coaching staff.McKinney will join the staff following three seasons as the defensive quality control coach with the Miami Dolphins.He was also an intern with the Cleveland Browns in 2014-15.His college experience includes five years coaching at Division II Bentley as a special teams coordinator, linebackers coach and defensive coordinator in 2013.He was a linebacker at Towson, an FCS school, earning All-Patriot League honors as a junior and senior in 2000 and 2001. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact New Arizona Cardinals defensive assistant coach Rusty McKinney. (AP Photo) The Arizona Cardinals added Don Shumpert to the offensive coaching staff and Rusty McKinney as a defensive assistant coach on Tuesday, the team announced.Shumpert will help fill the offensive staff as a participant of the Bill Bidwill Coaching Fellowship, following other participants Levon Kirkland and Terry Allen.Shumpert was an assistant with the New York Giants last season and spent time as a wide receiver in the NFL with the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs. 0 Comments Share
09Feb State grant approved for Lumberman Park updates Categories: News The Village of Wolverine is in line to receive a $289,500 state grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to help with renovations and improvements at Lumberman Park and Trailhead, state Rep. Peter Pettalia announced today.House Bill 4078, legislation that allocates the MNRTF grants, recently passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support and is now before the Senate. The funds come to the MNRTF through state-owned mineral resources development, largely oil and natural gas, and their use is restricted for public land acquisition, natural resource protection and public outdoor recreation enhancement.“The first step toward awarding the grants has been made in the House,” said Pettalia, R-Presque Isle. “Every slate of recreation and resources improvement projects that get funded each year improves the Pure Michigan experience for local residents and visitors across the state.“I congratulate the Wolverine officials and supporters whose hard work is making a difference at Lumberman Park.”The $393,700 project at Lumberman Park and Trailhead will modernize and make accessible this critical part of the North Central State Trail by upgrading toilet, shower and dump station facilities, and adding trail connections, signs, an accessible fishing pier and a looped walking trail with a pedestrian bridge over the Sturgeon River.MNRTF grants are provided through the development of state-owned oil, natural gas and mineral resources, and awarded to assist local governments and the Department of Natural Resources with public land acquisition, natural resource protection and public outdoor recreation.This year’s grants total more than $24 million and will be awarded to 69 projects in 40 Michigan counties.
State Rep. Lee Chatfield invites residents of the 107th House District to join him during local office hours throughout the month of April.“Since taking office, I have conducted monthly office hours in every county I represent,” said Rep. Chatfield, R-Levering. “I believe government needs to be more accountable, and that starts by being accessible, listening to people’s concerns and answering their questions.”His office hours schedule is:Friday, April 24thEmmet CountyJulienne Tomatoes421 Howard St. in Petoskey9-10:30 a.m.Cheboygan CountyDixie Saloon Restaurant401 E. Central Ave. in Mackinaw City2-3:30 p.m.Monday, April 27thChippewa CountyPenny’s Kitchen112 Spruce St. in Sault Ste. Marie9-10:30 a.m.Mackinac CountyDriftwood Restaurant590 N. State St. in St. Ignace2-3:30 p.m.No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Anyone unable to attend may contact Rep. Chatfield’s office by calling (517) 373-2629, via email at email@example.com or through his website at www.RepChatfield.com. Categories: Chatfield News 07Apr Rep. Chatfield announces April office hours
Categories: News,Steven Johnson News The Michigan House today unanimously approved state Rep. Steve Johnson’s plan to ensure those who have been exonerated of a crime would receive the compensation due to them from the state.Johnson’s plan would benefit exonerated Michiganders such as Richard Phillips – who spent more than 45 years in prison after a wrongful conviction, then returned to society with no support system to help him get back on his feet. Dozens of other Michigan residents could be in similar situations because the state’s fund for compensating wrongfully convicted individuals is about out of money.“The fund is essentially bankrupt, and we have an obligation to ensure people like Richard Phillips receive the compensation they are lawfully due,” Johnson, of Wayland, said after the House approved his plan to add $10 million to the fund. “I am glad to see the bipartisan support needed to right this wrong and ensure this fund has reliable, adequate funding well into the future.”In 2016, the Michigan Wrongful Compensation Act was signed into law. The fund is supposed to award an individual exonerated of a wrongful conviction with $50,000 for each year unjustly spent in prison. But the fund currently has less than $500,000, which will likely be totally depleted upon the first few claims by exonerated prisoners.Phillips is awaiting an expected payment from the state after serving time for a murder he didn’t commit. Wayne County officials dismissed charges against him in 2018.The 72-year-old has sold artwork and scrambled to stay afloat financially after decades in prison.“After 47 years, everything was gone. I didn’t even have identification,” Phillips told the House Appropriations Committee recently. “And then I didn’t have any support. So when I got out…I pretty much had to go it alone. I hadn’t done anything wrong to deserve that kind of treatment. I was a citizen, just like any of you. So don’t think that it can’t happen to anybody – because it can. I’ve lived through it.”Johnson’s bill directs $10 million from the general fund to cover the Michigan Wrongful Imprisonment Fund shortfall until next year’s budget is finalized. The measure also ensures that the Legislature receives regular reports about pending claims and the balance of the fund to prevent future shortfalls.House Bill 4286 advances to the Senate for further consideration. 12Mar Michigan House approves Rep. Steve Johnson’s plan helping those wrongfully convicted of crimes ###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesMay 28, 2014; VA Office of Inspector GeneralPursuant to the president’s order of last week, the Acting Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs issued an interim report on his findings about the waitlists and deaths reported to have occurred at the VA hospital in Phoenix (the Phoenix Health Care System). The report is blistering:“While our work is not complete, we have substantiated that significant delays in access to care negatively impacted the quality of care at this medical facility.”“To date, we have ongoing or scheduled work at 42 VA medical facilities and have identified instances of manipulation of VA data that distort the legitimacy of reported waiting times.”“Our reviews at a growing number of VA medical facilities have thus far provided insight into the current extent of these inappropriate scheduling issues throughout the VA health care system and have confirmed that inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic throughout VHA.”“To review the new patient wait times for primary care in FY 2013, we reviewed a statistical sample of 226 Phoenix HCS appointments. VA national data, which was reported by Phoenix HCS, showed these 226 veterans waited on average 24 days for their first primary care appointment and only 43 percent waited more than 14 days. However, our review showed these 226 veterans waited on average 115 days for their first primary care appointment with approximately 84 percent waiting more than 14 days.”“While conducting our work at the Phoenix HCS, our on-site OIG staff and OIG Hotline received numerous allegations daily of mismanagement, inappropriate hiring decisions, sexual harassment, and bullying behavior by mid- and senior-level managers at this facility.”As scathing as those findings are, the Acting IG pointed out that while evidence of inappropriate scheduling practices in the VA was “systemic,” some specific instances may have been corrected by VA managers. In addition, the report did not specifically attribute any deterioration in patients’ medical conditions or any deaths to the reported delay because more information would be needed from a review of medical records.Here, however, is the most damaging statement in the entire report:“The issues identified in current allegations are not new. Since 2005, the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) has issued 18 reports that identified, at both the national and local levels, deficiencies in scheduling resulting in lengthy waiting times and the negative impact on patient care.”This interim report notes that the previous 18 reports from the OIG alone, not counting additional reports such as a major analysis last year from the General Accounting Office confirming the OIG findings, were given to the Secretary of the VA and to Congress. The inaction of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government in response to report after report after report is truly inexcusable, especially given the rhetoric from politicians of all stripes about appreciating and honoring U.S. military veterans.Some people will use this report, along with the avoidance by the White House and the VA leadership of speaking out on this issue until just this month, to slam the entire VA bureaucracy. That would be all too typical for political debate in this nation—and all too clearly wrongheaded. Despite dunderheaded VA leadership and managers, there are tens of thousands of VA personnel who are as dedicated as anyone in the nation regarding the needs of returning veterans. Whacking those people because of the managerial incompetence of some VA managers and higher-ups would be a disservice to the demonstrated commitment of the vast majority of VA staff to public service on behalf of veterans.Some other people, more understandably, might see this report as a widening of the door through which General Eric Shinseki, the VA Secretary, will find himself booted sooner or later. But these practices have been investigated and documented for nearly a decade without corrective action and thereby allowed to fester and metastasize, which suggests that kicking out Shinseki, deservedly or not, won’t in and of itself correct the problem nor absolve other political leaders who are guilty of grossly inadequate oversight and management.Will the final report of the Acting OIG of the VA merely become the nineteenth OIG report to reach the VA and Congress without necessary action? Or will it spur the executive and legislative branches this time around to fix the dysfunctional parts of the VA system, remove the cobwebs from the VA bureaucracy, and add a much-needed dose of competent, accountable management that is prepared to take action when the VA system runs off the rails?—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share34Tweet2Share1Email37 Shares“James Blake serving” by Kyle TsuiJune 20, 2017; New York TimesRetired professional tennis player James Blake and New York City have come to a resolution regarding his excessive force claim against the city. In 2015, a plainclothes NYPD officer slammed Blake to the ground after mistaking him for a suspect in a credit card fraud case. Rather than proceed with his threatened suit against the city for excessive use of force, the former tennis star has settled with New York in exchange for the creation of a legal fellowship with the agency that investigates police misconduct.The fellowship will be funded by the city for six years and will pay a fellow at least $65,000 per year (over the two-year fellowship). In this position, the lawyer will serve as an outreach resource to neighborhoods with relatively high numbers of complaints against police, with the goal of more thoroughly investigating cases and navigating people through the process. The average investigation took 140 days in 2016. As Mayor de Blasio said, it will “deliver on the transparency and accountability civilians and police officers deserve.”Police misconduct and excessive force is clearly a hot button issue right now, and many believe that justice is not being meted out fairly to civilians involved in excessive force cases. In 2016, 55 percent of cases were not completed because the agency could not reach the people involved or the complaint was withdrawn. That seems to indicate that, at least in some cases, the costs of following a complaint to its completed investigation are prohibitive or exceed the expected benefits of a substantiated complaint.To be certain, not all of those cases would have resulted in substantiated allegations. According to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, in 2016, the substantiation rate was 23 percent, or 516 substantiated claims against officers. It is unclear whether that rate is of fully investigated complaints or all complaints filed. In the latter case, it suggests that there were 2,243 complaints in 2016, if the former is the case, there were almost 5,000 complaints in 2016. Blake’s new fellowship is a unique partial solution to the problem of incomplete cases.As noted above, the process of filing a complaint and seeing its investigation through to completion is a costly endeavor, both for the city and for the aggrieved. The investigation process involves giving a statement, collecting evidence and witness testimony, and perhaps most importantly, time. Anything that can make understanding the process and seeing it through less costly is a win for those who have been victims of police misconduct. Those who have been wronged should not be dissuaded from seeking justice. This fellowship will lower the cost of access to a complete investigation.In James Blake’s case, the officers did not report the mistaken arrest, which is against policy. Had he not the profile he has, it may not have been brought to the public, or even investigated. His stature and resources separate him from a victim from, say, an impoverished area of Manhattan. This fellowship will play a small part in making sure that separation is not a barrier to justice. It is disheartening to think that as many as 600 people might not see their cases substantiated because they cannot finish the process.To its credit, New York City has made concerted efforts to improve its follow through on complaints. It is working to improve its response time, and collect evidence efficiently. The 140-day process in 2016 was 224 days in 2015.An under-the-radar aspect of this case is Blake’s invisible philanthropy. He donated a chance at a large court award or settlement to victims of excessive police force. By settling, he also saved New York the cost of litigating or negotiating a full settlement. Blake can’t write this off. Opportunity cost is not tax deductible. However, seeing a complaint to its end will now be easier for those who wish to pursue it. Justice should be a public good.It is possible that Blake felt his chances of winning in court were slim and so he settled for something more palatable to New York. That seems unlikely, given the very public nature of his grievance and the city’s quick action to apologize. And all of that is beside the point. There is now another tool helping in the fight against misconduct.This fellowship won’t solve all of the problems in the criminal justice system, but it does solve one of them—for the next six years, at least.—Sean WattersonShare34Tweet2Share1Email37 Shares
Share45Tweet22ShareEmail67 Shares“Thoughts and Prayers Don’t Save Lives, student lie-in at the White House to protest gun laws,” by Lorie SchaullFebruary 21, 2018; New York TimesIf there’s one thing that should come out of this past week, it’s that the generation currently in high school is willing and able to exercise their civic muscle with eloquence and focus. But the responses they’re getting may inadvertently answer some of their questions about why adults left them to take their chances in the line of fire created by an out-of-control gun culture.A group of students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the site of last week’s shooting, went to Tallahassee, the state capital, yesterday to urge lawmakers to impose new restrictions on guns. They had spent the night nearby in a civic center on cots, just a week after the shooting, wondering how their voices would be heard. And what they heard was relatively shameless.Florida’s Senator Aaron Bean, a Republican, was stopped by reporters as he rushed into the building. When asked for comment, he said, “I’m really, really sad. It’s a very sad situation. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about that. It’s already tough enough being a teenager, without worrying about things like that.”But was he willing to vote for gun restrictions? “It’s just too early to say.”Instead of committing to support the restrictions on semi-automatic weapons that the young people sought, Senator Debbie Mayfield, another Republican, told the young people who had just lived through the trauma, “We can’t stop crazies.” Afterward, sixteen-year-old Amanda De La Cruz lamented, “I want the ban on semiautomatic weapons. I don’t care about the crazies.”Richard Corcoran, Florida’s Speaker of the House, vowed to them to unveil what he said would be the most sweeping gun reform package in the nation’s history by week’s end. Nevertheless, when 16-year-old student Alondra Gittelson asked, “I just want to know why such a destructive gun is accessible to the public—why that gun, the AR-15, that did so much damage, how is an individual in society able to acquire such a gun,” Corcoran responded that he was against banning the military assault-type weapon used in the attack that killed 17 of their classmates and teachers.“I think that if you look,” he said, “it’s widely used in multiple different hunting scenarios,” he said. “I know people who go out and they’ll do boar hunts and they’ll use them.”“I understand your question,” Corcoran added. “And we’ll look at it, but I’ll just be honest with you: Me personally, I don’t believe that’s the solution.”By the afternoon, hundreds of supporters had joined the students and the tone grew more demanding.“Shame! Shame! Shame,” they shouted outside Governor Rick Scott’s offices. Outside of Corcoran’s, they chanted “Face us down! Face us down! Face us down!”In other communities across the country, similar actions were taking place. Students back in South Florida walked miles from their own high schools to Stoneman Douglas for a rally. At other schools—in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Phoenix—thousands left their classrooms to stand silently for 17 minutes. In those places, too, messages went out to students about their right to speak, even in the most extreme situations. At Needville High School outside Houston, administrators threatened to impose a three-day suspension on any student who protested. “Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative,” Curtis Rhodes, the superintendent, said in a statement posted on Facebook. “We will discipline no matter if it is one, 50, or 500 students involved.”Meanwhile, at a special “listening session” held with President Trump, the president made several commitments, including taking a serious look at arming teachers and other school staff. “A gun-free zone to a maniac—because they’re all cowards—is, ‘let’s go in, and attack.’” The students, of course, were asking for fewer guns in their schools—not more.—Ruth McCambridgeShare45Tweet22ShareEmail67 Shares
Share39TweetShareEmail39 SharesImage Source: Seth AndersonNovember 8, 2018; New York TimesIn 2010, Michelle Alexander, now a New York Times columnist, wrote The New Jim Crow, a book that detailed how the backlash against the civil rights movement led to a revised form of Jim Crow, preserving racial inequality not through segregation—as the old Jim Crow did—but through a racially selective war on drugs and the rise of mass incarceration.The data on that history are clear. US incarceration rates, once within international norms, jumped off the charts in the 1980s. And, while dipping some of late, the numbers remain high. For instance, as of 2012, the US imprisonment rate was 700 people per 100,000—it is still the highest in the world today at 655 per 100,000—while most nations with similar per- are below 200 per 100,000, and many are below 100 people per 100,000. For Black men, the US imprisonment rate as of 2000 had reached an astonishing 3,457 men per 100,000; as of 2015, that number had come down to 2,613 men per 100,000, still more than five times the imprisonment rate of white men.This racial disparity was by design. As former Richard Nixon domestic policy advisor John Ehrlichman, who helped launch the “war on drugs” and the related mass imprisonment push, told Dan Baum of Harper’s a couple of years ago:We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.Now the war on drugs and mass incarceration—while still powerful forces—are winding down, but a new threat is looming with “the seeds of the next generation of racial and social control” contained within the reforms.What is this new system? “Bail reform,” Alexander explains, “is a case in point.” Earlier this year, as NPQ covered, California voted to abolish cash bail. But most racial and criminal justice groups opposed the final bill, because the new regime will create a presumption of detention when it goes into effect in October 2019.The incoming California system, like similar efforts in New York and New Jersey, relies on risk assessment algorithms to advise judges whether a person should be released. “These advanced mathematical models,” notes Alexander, “are based on factors that are not only highly correlated with race and class, but are also significantly influenced by pervasive bias in the criminal justice system.”What might this new form of surveillance and control look like? Alexander explains:While you may be set “free” from jail, an expensive monitoring device likely will be shackled to your ankle—a GPS tracking device provided by a private company that may charge you around $300 per month. Even now, four corporations earn a combined $200 million in revenue for their e-monitoring services.While “free,” your movement may be limited, making it “difficult or impossible to get or keep a job, attend school, care for your kids or visit family members.”Entire communities could “become trapped in digital prisons that keep them locked out of neighborhoods where jobs and opportunity can be found.”If the current reforms go awry, it wouldn’t be the first time. Mandatory sentencing laws were originally promoted by progressives as a tool to reduce racial disparities. “While those laws may have looked good on paper,” Alexander writes, “they were passed within a political climate that was overwhelmingly hostile and punitive toward poor people and people of color, resulting in a prison-building boom, an increase in racial and class disparities in sentencing, and a quintupling of the incarcerated population.”How do we get out of this box? The path involves focusing more broadly on building communities through “quality schools, job creation, drug treatment and mental health care,” rather than high-tech management and control.—Steve DubbShare39TweetShareEmail39 Shares
Telenor-backed Norwegian hospitality industry specialist Otrum has struck a technology sales agreement with German cable TV technology specialist WISI whereby Otrum has integrated WISI’s Chameleon, Tangram and compact OH headends into its set of offerings. Otrum provides internet, digital signage, movies and linear TV delivery for hotels via its own sales networks in EMEA and, via sales agents, around the world.“WISI’s TV and broadband network solutions have an excellent world-wide reputation and perfectly fit with our approach to product development. Together we can provide our customers in the hospitality industry around the world with smart technology solutions to serve hotel guests the richest media and entertainment experiences,” said Kjetil Dybing, product manager at Otrum.
Crispin OdeyThe finance company owned by Rupert Murdoch’s formerson-in-law, Crispin Odey, has agreed to sell almost all of its minority stake in the Sky Deutschland.Odey and Odey Assett Management had initially resisted BSkyB’s offer to buy the outstanding shares in the German pay TV platform. However, it has now confirmed that it will offload 97% of its shareholding – of about 8% – in the company, which is now part of the wider BSkyB-backed Sky Europe operation.Ahead of the Sky Europe deal, Odey’s holding in Sky made it the pay TV firm’s second largest shareholder, behind 21st Century Fox.In July Odey said BSkyB’s offer for its shares undervalued the business, but has now relented.“Odey Asset Management LLP has agreed to tender at least 97% of its shareholding in Sky Deutschland AG,” the finance firm said in a statement.
Finnish service provider DNA has become one of the first cable operators to make a 4K ultra HD service available on its network.DNA is broadcasting the Eutelsat Hot Bird 4K1 demonstration channel in test mode, with the broadcast content viewable by visitors to Helsinki’s Samsung Experience Store on a Samsung curved UHD TV.The demo channel is encoded in HEVC format.
UK TV technical standards body the DTG has introduced support for the forthcoming Freeview Play connected TV service in the latest edition of the D-Book, the official document for digital-terrestrial TV technology guidelines in the UK. D-Book 8 includes a set of technology foundations for the new service, according to the DTG.Freeview Play is to be based on a technical specification that combines Freeview HD with the pan-European HbbTV standard for hybrid broadband-broadcast services. Elements include a consolidated cross-platform, enhanced metadata stream, rules and guidelines on the UI and presentation of content and players, navigation principles including one-click access to live TV and the prominent display of core content across both linear and non-linear environments and simple on-screen branding. According to Digital UK’s guidelines, it should also provide opportunities for Freeview broadcasters to launch on-demand services alongside those provided by public service broadcasters.The technology platform for the first profile of the platform is based on a common HTML5 application environment, a broadcast profile based on D-Book 7, including MHEG, the incorporation of DVB-DASH adaptive bit-rate streaming, an aggregated source of metadata providing forwards and backwards EPG with links to player content and a search API across both on-demand and broadcast content. The second profile is based on D-Book 8, includes HbbTV 2.0, Microsoft PlayReady DRM and other functionality.“The D-Book 8 is a milestone for digital terrestrial TV in the UK, laying the groundwork for a new generation of connected TVs and set-top boxes,” said DTG chief executive Richard Lindsay-Davies.”I’d like to thank the industry for its continued hard work on standards which will maintain the relevance of digital terrestrial TV to consumers through a changing spectrum environment and its evolution into a hybrid platform.”Jonathan Thompson, chief executive of Digital UK, the body originally set up to ensure a smooth digital switchover, said: “The DTG’s development of the D-Book has been essential to the success of the digital terrestrial television in the UK. As DTT evolves for the connected age and prepares for an era of increased spectrum sharing, this latest edition will ensure consumers choosing Freeview get the best possible viewing experience.”D-Book 4 also includes measures to protect user settings when scanning for channel and service changes and adds support for the evolution of digital terrestrial TV alongside many other minor updates, according to the DTG. Smart retuning in products compliant with D-Book 8 ensures that products will retain users’ favourite channel lists, region selection and recording schedules when they carry out a retune, according to the body.D-Book 8 also includes support for over the air signalling of software updates via broadband so manufacturers can instruct set-tops and TVs to get connected for large update files, or tell users to connect their products to receive the update.There is also a requirement for manufacturers to provide an industry-agreed standard method for displaying signal strength and quality, so that customer services can respond more effectively to reliable data, according to the DTG.
TalkTalk’s YouView boxUK telco TalkTalk TV is making pay TV operator Sky’s Sky Sports and Sky Movies channels available for just £4 (€5.40) a month for three months, representing a discount of 90%. The package, which usually costs £40, is available between May 14 and May 20. Subscribers that only want the movies channels can meanwhile get the TalkTalk Sky Movies Boost for £1.50 a month for three months from May 7 May to May 13.TalkTalk is also offering its Simply Broadband service to free for one year until June 18, while TalkTalk Mobile has launched a new all-in SIM for £12 a month, which it claims to be the UK’s lowest price unlimited SIM, available on a 30 day rolling contract.
Today sees the launch of Eurosport Denmark, a dedicated Danish sports channel created through the fusion of Discovery-owned Eurosport 2 in Demark with Canal 8 Sport.The new Eurosport Denmark channel will offer the best of Eurosport content in Danish, according to Eurosport, offering football from the local Alka Superliga as well as Germany’s Bundesliga, cycling and ATP and WTA tennis. The service will feature local commentators and presenters including Brian Holm, Bjarne Goldbæk, Michael Gravgaard, Michael Mortensen and Sebastian Sørensen.Canal 8 Sport is a local sports channel that Discovery acquired the option to buy from TV4 Group and C More Entertainment at the time of TV4 Group parent Bonnier’s acquisition of C More a year ago.TDC-owned Danish cable operator YouSee has added Eurosport Denmark, along with A+E Networks’ H2, to its line-up.YouSee will air Eurosport Denmark from today, replacing Eurosport 2, Canal 8 and Kanal Sport.The cable operator will offer H2 to all subscribers throughout July after which it can be purchased as an extra channel for DKK20 (€2.60) or included as part of the operator’s Bland Selv option.
Sky’s subscriber base is expected to overtake Liberty Global’s in Western Europe in 2017, according to new research by Digital TV Research.The Western Europe Pay TV Operator Forecasts report claims that Liberty Global’s subscriber count will fall in the coming years as it tries to convert its remaining analogue cable subscribers by 2020, with some expected to be lost to other digital platforms.Sky Europe on the other hand – which comprises assets in Austria, Germany, Italy, Ireland and the UK – is tipped to grow its satellite subscriber base.According to the research, Sky’s subscriber numbers will climb from 10.44 million in 2014 to 18.36 million in 2020, while Liberty Global’s customer base will drop from 18.98 million subscribers in 2014 to 17.49 million in 2020.Across the 66 operators in 15 countries covered by the report – representing just under 90% of Western European pay TV subscribers – total pay TV subscriptions are tipped to increase from 82.0 million in 2010 to 93.1 million by 2020.However, only 36 (55%) of these operators will add to subscribers between 2014 and 2020, said the report.“Traditional pay TV operators now face greater rivalry than ever before – either from other pay TV platforms such as IPTV or satellite or from ‘free’ multichannel TV services such as DTT and OTT TV and video (such as Netflix),” according to Digital TV Research.Among the operators expected to make gains are Spain’s Telefonica and BT and TalkTalk in the UK. They are expected to add 2.18 million, 999,000, and 607,000 IPTV subscribers respectively between 2014 and 2020.By contrast, over the same period Germany’s Unitymedia is tipped to lose 592,000 cable TV subscribers, the Netherlands’ UPC is expected to lose 400,000, Sweden’s Com Hem to lose 390,000 subscribers.“Total subscription and VoD revenues for the 66 operators will remain at around US$29 billion. These operators account for about 92% of Western European pay TV revenues. Sky Europe [satellite TV subs only] will remain at the top of the revenues league, recording US$10.5 billion subscription and VOD revenues by 2020,” according to the study.
Telegram for AndroidBBC Russian is now available as a dedicated channel on mobile and desktop messaging service Telegram.The BBC Russian news channel on Telegram will broadcast the top stories from BBCrussian.com twice a day and will be available on desktops and laptops and phones and tablets running iOS, Android and Windows Phone.“We are really happy to be adding Telegram to the ever-growing list of platforms on which we reach our audiences. With its special focus on speed and security, Telegram gives us an opportunity to broadcast to the many people who use this messaging app. It is very exciting to be able to deliver the day’s best content to this new audience,” said Artyom Liss, editor, Europe, BBC World Service Languages.The news comes after Telegram added Channels – a “new tool for broadcasting your messages to large audiences” as a part of its messaging service.BBC Persian already has over 160,000 subscribers on Telegram, while the BBC said that other language services are also available on LINE, WeChat and Viber – with more to follow.The BBC claims around 5.5 million people access BBC Russian content every week, with BBCrussian.com content available via BBC Russian apps for Android smartphones, iPhone and iPod touch, and Nokia’s Series 40 devices.
Harmonic CEO, Patrick HarshmanVideo delivery firm Harmonic has signed a binding offer to acquire compression specialist Thomson Video Networks.Under the terms of the offer, Harmonic would 100% of Thomson for roughly US$75 million in cash plus up to US$15 million in post-closing adjustments.France-headquartered Thomson said that the proposed deal is consistent with its strategy to accelerate development by giving the company “greater global scale and resources”.Harmonic CEO Patrick Harshman said that the combined company would “set the bar for video innovation globally.”Thomson’s shareholders have granted Harmonic with exclusivity while it secures financing for the deal.Both companies said they expect the deal to close in the first quarter of 2016, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.Separately, Harmonic announced yesterday its intention to offer a US$125 million convertible note offering, with plans to use US$70 million of the net proceeds to pay a portion of the costs associated with the acquisition of Thomson.Commenting on the planned takeover, Harshman said: “The combined product portfolios, R&D teams and global sales and service personnel would allow us to accelerate innovation for our customers while leveraging greater scale to drive operational efficiencies.”Harmonic said that Thomson’s regional strength in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America would enhance its global footprint and claimed there is less than 50% customer overlap between the companies.The combined business would have a video-focused global R&D organisation of more than 600 engineers, a global service organisation of more than 300 professionals and a network of over 300 channel partners, according to Harmonic.
Tumblr has rolled out live video functionality, allowing users to broadcast themselves directly into their followers’ dashboards.Users can post live videos now via iOS or Android devices using the third party, live video enabled services YouNow, Kanvas, Upclose and YouTube.In each of these apps users can now turn on a Tumblr-sharing feature in their settings – though support on YouTube is currently only available through Android, with iOS to follow in “a few days”.Live videos can be reblogged by Tumblr users like any other post on the Yahoo-owned service. Tumblr will also notify users when anyone they follow ‘goes live’ with those videos automatically pinned to the top of their dashboard.The launch, which came to light after preview notices started to appear on the livevideo.tumblr.com domain, appears to be a direct response to live video moves by rivals in the social space – most notably Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope.
Wisi is due to introduce a new broadcast platform, called Firefly, at ANGA COM, which is designed to help small and regional TV broadcasters and service providers reduce distribution costs.The platform is a professional end-to-end solution – from playout to headend – that is designed to complement the delivery of video via satellite and dedicated lines.While it is aimed at small broadcasters, it also has corporate TV and video applications for corporations, such as TV services for employees located abroad, and efficient distribution of training content.It also provides options for cable network operators and enables the hospitality industry to offer additional content and video services – for example, service providers will be able to supply citizens from abroad with TV channels from their home countries that cannot be received via satellite.The Firefly solution uses HLS for cost-effective linear TV delivery to headends over the internet. HLS is an http-based protocol that provides a robust transfer of video data streams over the web.Wisi will exhibit at ANGA COM in hall 8a, stand R11