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Re: IBC 1996

I wholeheartedly agree with Neil Feldman's assessment of the disagreement
between Philips and Spirit at IBC. Nothing is gained by knocking the
competition: the great supposed benefit of a trade show is the chance to make a
comparison. Indeed, this fight started with a suggestion by Cintel that
potential buyers should make a fair comparison between the two machines.

There were faults on both sides: Philips continues to claim (in its press
conference as well as on the booth) that Spirit is a "true 2k x 2k device" which
it clearly is not; and if the reports are accurate then their demonstrations set
out to trash URSA Gold, even as used at Tape House in New York. Cintel, for its
part, launched accusations in the trade press which, if nothing else, lowered
the tone of the debate.

As Neil said, it is the price/performance ratio that is central to the argument.
Around 300 post houses around the world have proved that you can make a profit
out of a telecine suite charging around $500 for an URSA Gold. Spirit offers a
whole new set of facilities for the future, a new way of working, and an image
quality which is different but good. For this you have to charge around $2,000
an hour.

Post house chiefs, their colorists and their marketing people have to decide
which price/performance ratio gives them the creative and business edge for the
future. Some houses - like Command Post in Toronto - have chosen Spirit; others
- like 4MC in Hollywood (which has ordered 8 URSA Golds in 1996) - have stuck
with the Cintel solution. Competition is good; arguments which threaten to
become personal (remember that many of the Philips marketing and sales staff are
ex-Cintel, and John Dowdell was Cintel's star demonstrator for years and the
launch customer of the URSA) is not good.

Dick Hobbs