Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Toolbox

  • Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018
Lifelike robots made in Hong Kong meant to win over humans
In this Sept. 28, 2017, photo, David Hanson, the founder of Hanson Robotics, works on his company's flagship robot Sophia, a lifelike robot powered by artificial intelligence in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
HONG KONG (AP) -- 

David Hanson envisions a future in which AI-powered robots evolve to become "super-intelligent genius machines" that might help solve some of mankind's most challenging problems.

If only it were as simple as that.

The Texas-born former sculptor at Walt Disney Imagineering and his Hong Kong-based startup Hanson Robotics are combining artificial intelligence with southern China's expertise in toy design, electronics and manufacturing to craft humanoid "social robots" with faces designed to be lifelike and appealing enough to win trust from humans who interact with them.

Hanson, 49, is perhaps best known as the creator of Sophia, a talk show-going robot partly modeled on Audrey Hepburn that he calls his "masterpiece."

Akin to an animated mannequin, she seems as much a product of his background in theatrics as an example of advanced technology.

"You're talking to me right now, which is very 'Blade Runner,' no?" Sophia said during a recent visit to Hanson Robotics' headquarters in a suburban Hong Kong science park, its home since shortly after Hanson relocated here in 2013.

"Do you ever look around you and think, 'Wow I'm living in a real world science fiction novel?'" she asked. "Is it weird to be talking to a robot right now?"

Hanson Robotics has made about a dozen copies of Sophia, who like any human is a work in progress. A multinational team of scientists and engineers are fine tuning her appearance and the algorithms that enable her to smile, blink and refine her understanding and communication.

Sophia has moving 3D-printed arms and, with the help of a South Korean robotics company, she's now going mobile. Shuffling slowly on boxy black legs, Sophia made her walking debut in Las Vegas last week at the CES electronics trade show.

Her skin is made of a nanotech material that Hanson invented and dubbed "Frubber," short for flesh-rubber, that has a flesh-like bouncy texture. Cameras in her eyes and a 3D sensor in her chest help her to "see," while the processor that serves as her brain combines facial and speech recognition, natural language processing, speech synthesis and a motion control system.

Sophia seems friendly and engaging, despite the unnatural pauses and cadence in her speech. Her predecessors include an Albert Einstein, complete with bushy mustache and white thatch of hair, a robot named Alice whose grimaces run a gamut of emotions and one eerily resembling the late sci-fi author Philip K. Dick, which won an award from the American Association of Artificial Intelligence. They variously leer, blink, smile and even crack jokes.

Disney's venture capital arm is an investor in Hanson, which is building a robot based on one of the entertainment giant's characters.

An artist and robotics scientist, Hanson worked on animatronic theme park shows, sculpting props and characters for Disney attractions like Pooh's Hunny Hunt and Mermaid Lagoon. He studied film, animation and video, eventually earning a doctorate in interactive arts and technology from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Hanson says he makes his robots as human-like as possible to help alleviate fears about robots, artificial intelligence and automation.

That runs contrary to a tendency in the industry to use cute robo-pets or overtly machine-like robots like Star Wars' R2-D2 to avoid the "uncanny valley" problem with human likenesses such as wax models and robots that many people find a bit creepy.

Some experts see Sophia as mainly a clever marketing gimmick.

"It's a good advertising tool, whatever that company produces as a business plan," said Roland Chin, chair professor of computer science at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Global market revenue for service robotics is forecast to grow from $3.7 billion in 2015 to $15 billion in 2020, according to IHS Markit. That includes both professional and domestic machines like warehouse automatons, smart vacuums and fuzzy companion robots.

Hanson Robotics is privately owned and has a consumer-oriented business that sells thousands of shoebox-sized $200 Professor Einstein educational robots a year. Chief Marketing Officer Jeanne Lim says the company is generating revenue but won't say whether it's profitable.

For now, artificial intelligence is best at doing specific tasks. It's another thing entirely for machines to learn a new ability, generalize that knowledge and apply it in different contexts, partly because of the massive amount of computing power needed to process such information so quickly.

"We're really very far from the kind of AI and robotics that you see in movies like 'Blade Runner'," said Pascale Fung, an engineering professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. "Sorry to disappoint you."

Unlike toddlers, who use all five senses to learn quickly, machines generally can handle only one type of input at a time, she noted.

While Sophia's repartee can be entertaining, she's easily thrown off topic and her replies, based on open-source software, sometimes miss the mark.

Hanson and other members of his team like Chief Scientist Ben Goertzel have set their sights on a time when the computer chips, processing capacity and other technologies needed for artificial general intelligence could enable Sophia and other robots to fill a variety of uses, such as helping with therapy for autistic children, caring for seniors, and providing customer services.

As for tackling challenging world problems, that's a ways off, Hanson acknowledges.

"There's a certain expression of genius to be able to get up and cross the room and pour yourself a cup of coffee, and robots and AI have not achieved that level of intelligence reliably," Hanson said.

  

  • Monday, Jan. 15, 2018
Telestream implements new business structure, expands leadership team
Anna Greco
NEVADA CITY, Calif. -- 

Following the appointment of Scott Puopolo as CEO in October, Telestream®, known for file-based media workflow orchestration, media streaming and delivery technologies, has announced a new corporate structure and the expansion of its senior leadership team with a number of new senior appointments.

The company is now organized in two business units, supported by shared corporate functions in finance, operations, marketing and HR. The company’s Media Workflow and Production business unit, under the leadership of its newly appointed president, Anna Greco, will focus on technologies that enable customers to manage the scale and complexity resulting from explosive growth in live and file-based content production and workflows. The business unit includes solutions for live and on-demand encoding and transcoding, live streaming production, workflow automation and orchestration. Greco is well-known to Telestream’s global customer base and has a deep knowledge of Telestream’s core technologies and business dynamics, having previously served as the company’s VP of client services.

The Video Quality Monitoring and Analytics business unit will focus on solutions which ensure that content is delivered at the highest quality, providing video data acquisition and quality assurance across live, linear, and on-demand networks. Calvin Harrison, who was formerly IneoQuest Technologies’ president and CEO prior to its acquisition by Telestream in March 2017, serves as president of the Video Quality Monitoring and Analytics business unit.

“As we get ready to celebrate our 20th anniversary, we are excited to put in place a new structure that will support our ambitious vision and growth plans for the future. With three significant acquisitions in two years and yet another year of strong organic business growth, Telestream is well poised to help advance the video industry at a time of major change. This expanded corporate structure gives us the foundation and agility we need to respond aggressively to opportunities in front of us, so we can help our customers deliver the highest possible video quality to their viewers, on any device,” said Puopolo.

New executive appointments
Susan White, joins Telestream as its new chief finance and operating officer. Prior to joining Telestream, White held CFO and VP roles at business data SaaS provider Avention, energy technology firm Aspen Aerogels, and IT management software company Novell. White brings over 20 years’ experience working with private equity-backed companies and brings Wall Street and business strategy experience to Telestream.

Chris Osika joins Telestream to serve as the company’s new chief marketing officer, on the heels of his tenure as global VP of the Digital Business Solutions Group at Sprinklr, a social media management platform for the enterprise. In this newly created position, Osika will be responsible for corporate marketing as well as product marketing across all business units of Telestream, and he is an expert at helping organizations develop and adopt business models that respond to emergent technologies. Previously, Osika held key market development roles within Cisco, and he is a former Accenture partner.

  • Monday, Jan. 15, 2018
ARRI Rental opens satellite office in Brooklyn
ARRI Rental Brooklyn Haus

ARRI Rental, a provider of camera, lighting and grip equipment, has opened ARRI Rental Brooklyn Haus in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Situated in the heart of Brooklyn’s studio landscape, with locations such as Broadway Stages, Steiner Studios, Silvercup Studios and Kaufman Astoria Studios in immediate proximity, Brooklyn Haus functions as a traditional camera rental facility, as well as a gathering place for production and crew, with meeting rooms, entertaining spaces and a café.

“By opening Brooklyn Haus we not only underline our long-term commitment to support New York’s bustling production community and its members,” said Lisa Harp, president of ARRI Rental US Camera, “but also create an inviting environment for networking, exchanging ideas and listening to customers.”

ARRI Rental in Secaucus, New Jersey remains the rental headquarters for North America, providing the full spectrum of services for camera, lighting and grip rental.

ARRI Rental’s chief executive Martin Cayzer commented: “Brooklyn Haus epitomizes our global focus on customer experience; we are locating where our clients are shooting and need us there to support them. Having a presence in New York City will bring day-to-day efficiencies for our clients and—just as importantly—give them a sense of who we are and what we stand for by providing a home-from-home in this vibrant, creative and exciting borough. That and great coffee, of course.” 

  • Friday, Jan. 12, 2018
Shanghai Media Tech upgrades mobile production units with Grass Valley 4K/IP solution
Grass Valley's Kayenne Video Production Center
MONTREAL -- 

Shanghai Media Tech runs the full gamut of production activities: pre-production, broadcast, post-production, network operation and maintenance, application development of new media and more. To match its breadth and depth of services, the China-based media company chose Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, to provide a fully comprehensive, total 4K/IP solution for its OB van and EFP systems. Shanghai Media Tech’s mobile production units are equipped for any live program or sports event as Asia’s largest all IP, 4K UHD OB vans.

“Transitioning our full system for the future of broadcast, 4K and IP, was a challenging task given the number of solutions we needed to upgrade in our OB vans,” said Yuanyue, team manager, Shanghai Media Tech. “Grass Valley’s total 4K/IP solution made the transition easy, as all of the solutions from camera to multiviewer were seamlessly integrated from the start. The entire system is designed to adapt to our changing needs and evolving industry trends, so we felt comfortable investing in this solution for years to come.”  

Each OB van and EFP system is outfitted with multiple LDX 86N High Frame Rate/HD/3G/4K Software Upgradable Camera Platforms, Kayenne Video Production Center, GV Korona K-Frame V-series, GV Node Real Time IP Processing and Routing Platform, IPG-3901 Densité IP Gateway and GV Convergent IP/SDI Router Control & Configuration System.

Shanghai Media Tech purchased a total of 44 LDX 86N cameras, which feature native 4K UHD CMOS imagers that provide outstanding dynamic range performance, and the unique DPMULTRA technology that provides alternative switching to native HD pixels for global shutter operation. This investment gives Shanghai Media Tech the ability to capture razor-sharp live images with vivid colors and very low noise. For all types of programming, including live events and sports, the LDX 86N offers the highest sensitivity in both single speed and high-speed operation.

Kayenne K-Frame and GV Korona K-Frame V-series are also capable of handling varied content types. Both solutions offer multiformat support including 1080p and 4K UHD, providing Shanghai Media Tech with increased production flexibility. The Kayenne K-Frame also offers premium performance with the largest I/O footprint in the market, multiple multiviewer capability and up to 9 M/Es, accessible across two suites. At only 3 RU, the K-Frame V-series is ideal for compact mobile production spaces, providing enormous power but requiring no compromise on enterprise features. The switcher is modular in design and is available in 1, 2 or 3 M/E options.

Rounding out the 4K/IP system are Grass Valley networking solutions—GV Node, GV Convergent and IPG-3901. GV Node includes integrated processing, routing, aggregation and multiviewing in an all-in-one platform. GV Convergent provides next-generation network control, including multilevel routing for the proposed SMPTE ST 2110 essence-based flows and in-depth visualization and control of the IP fabric. The complete control system is both infrastructure and signal format independent to adapt to unique facility needs and allow the Shanghai Media Tech team to make real-time modifications through an intuitive interface and custom system configurations. In combination with these solutions, the IPG-3901 gateway provides a robust feature set for normalizing variances in IP signals sent to GV Node and allows for distribution beyond Local Area Networks. Together, GV Node and IPG now offer the transfer of information with a distance of up to 40km between ports.

“In providing services in so many fields themselves, Shanghai Media Tech knows the convenience and ease of one-stop shopping, getting everything you need all in one place,” said Somu Patil, VP of sales, APAC, Grass Valley. “Through unparalleled integration and innovation, Grass Valley’s full IP/4K solution will help Shanghai Media Tech efficiently provide its total range of services to its customers now and in the future.”

In Spring 2018, the vans will be ready to roll with the new system in place.

  • Monday, Jan. 8, 2018
GoPro expects revenue slump, slashes workforce
In this Thursday, June 26, 2014, file photo, GoPro CEO Nick Woodman celebrates his company's IPO at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York. GoPro is cutting staff and expects a sharp decline in fourth-quarter revenue after facing weak demand for cameras during the 2017 holiday season. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

GoPro is cutting staff and expects a sharp decline in fourth-quarter revenue after facing weak demand for cameras during the holiday season.

The disappointing outlook sent shares plummeting nearly a third to an all-time low of $5.04 in morning trading Monday. By the close of trading the stock had recovered somewhat, ending trade at $6.56, down 96 cents. The company went public at $24 a share in June 2014.

The camera maker expects $340 million in revenue, marking a 37 percent drop from a year ago and falling far short of Wall Street estimates for about $472 million, according to an analyst survey by FactSet.

It is also cutting its workforce by more than 20 percent to fewer than 1,000 employees.

"Despite significant marketing support, we found consumers were reluctant to purchase HERO5 Black at the same price it launched at one year earlier," said CEO Nicholas Woodman.

As part of the restructuring plan, Woodman will cut his 2018 cash compensation to $1. It was $800,000 in 2016, in addition to his bonus.

The San Mateo, California, company will also stop making aerial drones, citing tough competition and regulations.

  • Monday, Jan. 8, 2018
Fear not the alphabet soup of TV features being unveiled at CES
LG's David Vander Waal demonstrates the AI Signature OLED TV during a news conference at CES International, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- 

New TVs are coming with an alphabet soup of features designed to get you to spend more.

There's OLED and 4K, with a dash of HDR. How about QLED and QDEF? Samsung, LG and other TV manufacturers are showcasing new models at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas this week — all with acronyms to set their sets apart.

Fear not. Here's how to translate the tangle of great-sounding upgrades into plain English.

HD, 4K, 8K
Translation: High definition has 1,920 pixels across and 1,080 vertically. UltraHD, or 4K, has twice as many in both directions — 3,840 across and 2,160 vertically, which gives you four times as many pixels. 8K, primarily promoted by Sharp, offers 7,680 pixels across and 4,320 down.

8K sets are mostly for show for now — with video limited to the occasional experimental broadcast.

The choice between 4K and HD is still a real debate. It all depends on how far away you'll sit from your TV and how big it is, which we explain with this handy tool at http://interactives.ap.org/2015/tv-buying-guide .

OLED
Unpacking the acronym: Organic light-emitting diodes.

Translation: Diodes are circuit elements that can emit light under certain conditions; OLEDs do so using a layer of material based on carbon, which in a technical sense makes them organic. Sets using OLEDs, primarily made by LG, tend to be pricey because these screens are difficult to produce.

Pixels, the individual points that form an image, are self-illuminating and can thus be shut off individually. That means images can have truly black areas — rather than just very dark. Sets also cut down on light spillage in scenes where bright and dark colors are side by side; you see sharper contrast. OLED sets also have a wider viewing angle than regular sets.

But OLEDs aren't as bright as other displays and can suffer "burn-in" if a static image is left on screen for too long.

MicroLED
Unpacking the acronym: Micro light-emitting diodes.

Translation: Just as with OLEDs, sets with MicroLEDs have self-illuminating pixels, but the material used is slightly different and isn't organic. Samsung says MicroLEDs are brighter than OLEDs and offer the same benefits of high contrast and deep blacks, without burn-in.

Samsung is unveiling a 146-inch MicroLED set this year. Questions surround their ease of manufacturing and ultimately, their price. Don't expect to see mass-market availability of this kind of set any time soon.

LCD
Unpacking the acronym: Liquid crystal displays.

Translation: In an LCD screen, the most common form of display, a thin panel of electrically controlled liquid crystals selectively blocks light or lets it through. The light that makes it through passes through red, blue or green filters to form a full spectrum of colors.

The knock on LCDs is that they must be "backlit" by a light source. Don't be fooled by what are labeled "LED" TVs. These are still LCDs, backlit by LEDs. Because there aren't as many LED sources behind the pixels as there are pixels, there is still some wash of brightness where bright and dark meet and less than complete darkness in dark shots. Still, many manufacturers tout "local dimming" or special control of the backlights to reduce light spillage.

HDR and HDR10
Unpacking the acronym: High dynamic range using 10 digital "bits" to represent color gradations

Translation: Everyone who's ever used a camera has seen what happens when you under- or over-expose a photo. Either the bright parts wash out the dark parts or everything is too dark. HDR aims to include both the brightest bright parts and the darkest dark parts without letting either dominate the image.

An industry group calls for HDR TVs to display about 1 billion variations of color and brightest brights that are 20,000 times brighter than the darkest parts of the screen image.

Video needs to be streamed in HDR format for you to see the improvements. Some online services are offering new Hollywood hits and their own TV series in HDR, but a lot of video hasn't been adapted yet.

Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HDR 10 Pro
Unpacking the acronym: Advanced versions of "high dynamic range"

Translation: Dolby pushes the color envelope further using 12 bits of color depth to offer 69 billion color variations. Video also comes with hidden instructions for compatible TV sets to calibrate HDR frame by frame. By contrast, standard HDR and HDR10 offer one setting for the entire video, which may not reflect what's best for each scene.

No TV sets can yet handle the 12-bit range, although some use a 10-bit version of Dolby Vision. Sets that incorporate Dolby Vision pay a royalty to Dolby for the technology.

Not wanting to go there, Samsung developed something called HDR10+ that offers frame-by-frame HDR but sticks to 10 bits. It's an open standard, one supported by such major brands as Amazon, Panasonic and 20th Century Fox.

Meanwhile, LG announced Monday it is doing something similar — and calling it HDR 10 Pro.

Quantum dots, QLED, QDEF and Q-whatever
Unpacking the acronym: It's complicated

Translation: Quantum dots are tiny particles that emit sharp colors based on their particular size. Because the size can be finely tuned, the colors can be very accurate. Also, because they give off color, there's no more need for filters — at least that's the promise. Today's quantum dot sets still do use filters, though because of fine-tuning, they represent reds and greens better than other sets and reduce the amount of power wasted when light gets filtered out.

Beware of the stuff that comes after the Q. While Samsung calls its version QLED, it doesn't mean it uses OLED screens. Rather, Samsung's QLED sets are backlit by standard LEDs and have the same problems with light spillage that other LEDs have. QDEF is Hisense's version, also with light spillage. Quantum dots that actually function like OLEDs, eliminating the need for backlighting, is still a ways off. We'll get filter-less quantum dot technology before then.

  • Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018
Sony cameras, FUJINON lenses team on end zone close ups for Monday Night Football
Sony HDC-4800 4K outfitted with the FUJINON PL 20-12-120mm Cabrio lens
WAYNE, NJ -- 

Close-up cameras covering the goal line have moved from the nose-bleed seats to level with the main coverage ‘game’ cameras during ESPN’s Monday Night Football. ESPN, working with longtime partner Fletcher Sports, is using Sony HDC-4800 4K ultra-high frame rate cameras with FUJINON PL 20-120mm Cabrio lenses for goal-line close ups for each Monday night broadcast. Because ESPN’s NEP EN-1 truck uses all Sony cameras, the Sony 4800 cameras easily integrate into the complement, enabling the director to cut to the 4800s live.

For Fletcher Sports, a company that has worked with ESPN since 1991 on the development of specialty cameras, the most exciting part of the Sony 4800/FUJINON lens combination is that cameras once considered “specialty” can now enhance the quality of live-game production in real time.

“In the past, a lot of the 4K and high-frame-rate camera systems, once you get up to the ultra-high frame rates, are pretty much there as just a replay tool,” said Fletcher Sports Program Manager Ed Andrzejewski. “Now with the camera quality that Sony brings and the lens quality FUJINON’s brought on for the 4K cameras, specialty cameras can be cut in live to your regular production.”

Previously, high-speed cameras used for replay shots were placed higher up in the stadium, which required a longer lens. “Now, with the cameras at the same level as the main game cameras, ESPN needed a wider angle lens,” added Ed Andrzejewski.

A variety of lenses were tested prior to the Monday Night Football season opener, and the FUJINON PL 20-120mm Cabrios fit the bill thanks to their wide angle, clarity, and speed. The zoom range enables camera operators to zoom out to capture every player on the field and, in the same shot, zoom in to determine if the ball crossed the goal line.

The FUJINON PL 20-120mm Cabrio zoom features an exclusive detachable servo drive unit, making it suitable for use as a standard PL lens or as an ENG-Style lens. It features flange focal distance adjustment, macro function, and is LDS (Lens Data System) and /i metadata compatible. The lens weighs just 2.9 kg and features a T stop of T3.5 end-to-end, a 20-120mm focal range. It covers a S35-sized sensor (Super 35 format) on a digital cinema-style camera. The lens is also fitted with a nine-blade iris to capture the most natural looking imagery possible. It comes equipped with all the lens data outputs that are required by today’s cine-style shooters. FUJINON’s PL 20-120mm Cabrio offers optical precision and zoom performance in a robust, lightweight, and affordable package.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018
Timothy Shoulders named president of Grass Valley
Timothy Shoulders
MONTREAL -- 

With the beginning of a new calendar year, Grass Valley, a Belden brand, will be guided by a new president, Timothy Shoulders, a member of the Belden team since 2011.

Shoulders was appointed president effective January 1, transitioning from his previous role as vice president and general manager of Belden’s global Industrial Cable business. Prior to that, he gained valuable insights into the broadcast industry as leader of Belden’s global Broadcast Cables business following a successful stint in the company’s Enterprise Connectivity platform. He combines his background in accounting and finance with a passion for efficiency to manage a complex global manufacturing network and serve as a champion for lean manufacturing principles. Shoulders will report directly to Roel Vestjens, president, Industrial Solutions & Broadcast IT for Belden. Former president Marco Lopez has left Grass Valley to pursue other opportunities.

“Tim’s ability to successfully drive the Belden Broadcast and AV business as well as the Industrial Cable business over recent years makes him the right person to lead Grass Valley as we look ahead to an exciting time of growth and continued transition in the industry,” said Vestjens. “He has a unique ability to influence internal processes that enhance the customer experience by reducing or eliminating barriers to effective communication. An open and collaborative relationship with our customers is critical as we navigate business and technology changes in the market together.”

Shoulders has an extensive background in finance and accounting, including managing corporate finance functions and forecasting and reporting for large, diverse businesses. During his time with Belden, he’s led numerous M&A projects, integrations and cross-business initiatives, gaining expertise in the Belden Business System, a foundation of guiding principles and processes that lead to measurable efficiency. He will be based in Grass Valley’s worldwide headquarters in Montreal.

As he brings his own skills and perspectives to the role of Grass Valley president, he remains focused on the company’s core mission of empowering customers to create, control and connect content wherever, however and whenever it is consumed.

  • Friday, Dec. 29, 2017
Utah Scientific president Tom Harmon to retire, will be succeeded by Dave Burland
Tom Harmon
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- 

Tom Harmon, president of Utah Scientific, has announced his retirement after 15 highly successful years at the helm of the company. Dave Burland, current chief operating officer and executive vice president of finance, will assume the role of president, and Harmon will remain active with Utah Scientific as chairman of the board. The changeover will be effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Under Harmon’s leadership, Utah Scientific has expanded its global leadership in video routers, master control switchers, and related control software and built on its reputation as the thought leader in those areas. Harmon oversaw many technology milestones as president, including the latest advance in SDI/IP hybrid routing, the recent launch of the industry’s first enterprise-scale, single-link 12G routing switcher, and the first no-fee, 10-year product warranty in the broadcast industry. Also, during his tenure, Utah Scientific was a three-year winner of Frost & Sullivan’s Global Customer Service Leadership Award in the video switcher category. Today, with its line of hybrid IP routing solutions, Harmon has positioned Utah Scientific to help broadcasters make a smooth transition to IP-based operations.

“It’s been a fantastic ride, with the best team in the industry,” said Harmon. “And I can’t think of a better professional to take over the reins than Dave. After more than 20 years of working closely with Dave, he really understands what makes our company tick, and I’m completely confident he’ll be able to take Utah Scientific to new levels of success in the coming years. I look forward to working with Dave, the board, and the rest of our executive team to ensure a smooth transition.”

“Tom needs no introduction in the broadcast technology community. Over his 40-year career, he has not only earned the admiration and loyalty of his team members, but he’s respected by chief engineers and key industry influencers across the country,” said Burland. “During his tenure here, Tom has shepherded Utah Scientific through plenty of changes in the broadcast landscape — from analog to digital media and now the migration to all-IP workflows. We’re delighted that he’s agreed to stay on as chairman and continue to serve as a valuable consulting resource for our team.”

Burland is a 28-year veteran of the broadcast industry, having served in senior management roles for Quanta Corporation, Dynatech Video Group, and Vela Corporation prior to his 16-year tenure at Utah Scientific.

  • Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017
Apple apologizes for secretly slowing older iPhones
In this March 9, 2015, file photo, Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus during an Apple event in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Apple apologized for secretly slowing down older iPhones, a move it said was necessary to avoid unexpected shutdowns related to battery fatigue.

Many customers had interpreted the move as a way to for Apple to juice demand for newer iPhone models, their suspicions fueled by the fact that the company didn't initially disclose the slowdowns or its reasons for them.

Apple also said it will cut the price of a battery replacement by $50 to $29 through next year. New batteries had previously cost $79 for those who didn't purchase the Apple Care maintenance plan.

"We apologize," the company said on its website . "We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades."

The replacement plan begins in late January for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later that requires a new battery.

Apple said it will also issue an update to its operating system early next year to give users a better understanding of the health of their battery, so they can see if its condition is affecting performance.

Hostile customer reaction was swift after a report this month uncovered the intentional slowdown in speed tests. Only then did Apple acknowledge that the slowdown was due to a fix it rolled out last year. Shares dropped 2.5 percent Tuesday — also dinged by analysts predicting lower-than-expected demand for the iPhone X — and only partially recovered by Thursday.

At least five groups seeking class action status, involving consumers in Texas, Illinois, California and New York, have also sued the company in the wake of the slowdown revelation.

Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, said Apple found itself in a tough spot by having to explain what it did to cope with the reality that all lithium ion batteries degrade over time.

"The error — if anything — was not being more transparent," he said. "They were legitimately trying to make people's iPhones last longer."