Show: Day One (20 th of May, 2003)
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The exhibition is taking place at the ExCel exhibition centre in London, third time in a row.
It is a new exhibition center at the Docklands area of London, near the Millennium Dome and London City airport. (This airport is basically for business jets, but it's a bit weird to see a Boeing-747 flying over your head within a city! Right above Excel)
Some may disagree, but for me, it was better at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, where the exhibition took place before 2001. That has been much more convenient to get there, and so much cozierĊ
Some people - arrive at Excel in London's famous and stylish Cabs.
Personally, I don't find the Cab/Taxi prices in London reasonable and acceptable (10 times higher than in my city), so I get there by public transport,
ike majority of people. In theory, (like the Reed Exhibition Company claims) it is 15-20 minutes to travel from downtown. In reality, it takes nearly a hour (!!!), unless you fly a 'copter. Cheaters! Back in 2000, it was so good to travel from the Earls Court tube station, just a pleasant walk. And plenty of cozy small hotels nearby to choose from.
So, the visitors to London, who don't have a car there - have to use the DLR, Docklands Light Rail -
- the only public transportation available to the Exhibition. What is really interesting - that the trains don't really have a driver.
The operation is done automatically. It is kind of strange to sit in front of a train, not seeing the driver ahead of you. Actually, there IS a DLR employee on the train, but he/she stands deep inside the car. On the way, there are interesting views of some houses, yachts parkedĊ I guess, Docklands are OK for rich people with a yacht. :) But not for the exhibition.
When you get out of the train - there is a walkway right to the entrance. As you can see, this year - there is another Expo going on, along with Mediacast. It is called Wine and Spirits Fair 2003. In fact, there are lots of banners of Wine Expo, and only one about MediaCast.
No doubt, drinking wine is more popular than watching satellite TV.
Ahead is the bridge, equipped with elevators, really stylish.
On the right - there is a view to the Millennium Dome.
It was built for the Millennium celebrations. There were some cabaret-circus-style "Millennium Shows" inside, during 2000-2001. Lots of half-naked gymnasts with burning torches, and dancing ladies. Moulin Roughe. :) After those celebrations - the show closed down, and it wasn't clear how to use the Dome. There were rumours that it was sold to some Japanese, for unknown usage. Anyway, I got carried away. There's no time to waste.
OK, I proceed further, the entrance, registration deskĊ Oooopps! Like I thought - the exhibition is MUCH smaller now. In 2002, there were three halls occupied, now the Show is the size of 2 halls.
It looks, time isn't good for the companies, even for big ones.
Nokia doesn't have a stand this year. Yes, they were the pioneers back in the 1997 with the only one receiver on consumer market, but now it isn't good time at all for them. At the Dubai GEMEX Exhibition in March they didn't have a separate stand, exhibiting together with Eurostar company. (This year, the Eurostar had sneaked to the Echostar stand somehow. See below.) Though, at the Dubai Show the Nokia have shown a new box with BlueTooth technology, able to download pictures from Nokia phone with digital camera.
Spectacular? Maybe! Practical? I don't see any use in it, sorry. And design is cheap. (The picture is taken at GEMEX, I remind you that at the MediaCast they were not present.)
Also, there are no Technisat (Germany/Luxembourg, known for the SkyStar-1 card) , Aston (France, known for their XENA/Simba receivers, and the only SECA-compatible receiver at the market) companies. I wish I could see them. Wrong time?
Echostar (Netherlands) is here, but they didn't present anything new. No new models since EchoStar 7000 with Hard Disc Drive was introduced in 2001, and EchoStar 7000 Viaccess in 2002. Of course, they don't do R&D themselves; it is done in Korea by Ha**** company (as well as production). Those Koreans now do have some interesting models to offer, for example: digital satellite receiver with CI, HDD (Personal Video Recorder with a Hard Disk), and DVD player embedded. Interesting? Apparently, Echostar didn't want to distribute it. Strange. And it is even more strange, that the Echostar is giving away some Eurostar (famous Middle East distribution company with 10 shops in Dubai only) leaflets. Guys, I am confused.
Humax didn't take part, too (!!!). It is the biggest company in the market, so they MUST be here. Last year, they were absent, too, but at least I was informed that there is special dealers' gathering at some hotel at South Quay. It is possible that it is same situation in 2003 - I am not a Humax dealer, so I could miss the invitation. Last time I saw them in Dubai in March.
Now you can see how to write 'Humax' in Arabic! :)) And I can guess what could be the reasons to be absent at the MediaCast. No revolution models for consumer market, too! As for the long-awaited Humax 8000 - I have to admit that it is a craĊ - did I say that? - waste of time. That receiver was first presented two years ago. And it is still not in production!!! All the dealers have the exact prices, features, specs. Only stock is missing. Why? There is a little glitch - Humax can't produce a stable software. So stable, that it would be able to work for few minutes in a row without interruption. :) People say, Humax technicians have even contacted another company (leader of PVR business, we will be examining their stand later) for help with software. .. Same result.
What else to say. We do own a pre-production sample of Humax 8000. Too raw. For example, Humax 8000 can record to the disk (the free space disappears), but there is a little problem - it can't play recorded files! I don't mention that the remote control doesn't have 'VCR' buttons (Play, Rew, FF, etc), so for these features you need to enter a special menu and press digit from 0 to 9 on a numeric part of the remote.
Not so user-friendly. Anybody disagrees and believes in Humax name? Then prove it , we'll be happy to sell that sample for 540 Euro, or 400GBP. Be the first consumer in Europe to have it!
Well, that'll be enough for a first day. Sorry, not so optimistic.
Next day I will write about something more positive: poly-foam lens dish (no reflector!), new device that makes dish installation a child's game. Also, we will talk about Dream Multimedia, Channel Master dishes, new receiver with Linux open source OS, new LNBFs, and other interesting items.
Proceed to the
Part 3. Second day
Sergei Ogourtsov, SAT.COM.RU
Posted by: Zuhos