A little video screen embedded inside a magazine? How it's done …

August 20, 2009 by Dave Haynes

The TV network CBS got a little attention this week with reports that it planned to advertise its fall lineup, in some markets, with a teeny video screen actually embedded into some targeted issues of Entertainment Weekly.
It’s a gimmick, and it has already paid off a bit in terms of attention it might not otherwise get. It’s mostly a “Yeah, whatever” moment for me, but I was curious about the technology.
According to CNET, the little screen will be driven by an embedded video chip made by an LA-based company called Americhip, with the gadget capable of storing 40 minutes of video ads.
Here are some more details about the Americhip technology: the screen, which is 2.7 millimeters thick, has a 320×240 resolution. The battery lasts for about 65 to 70 minutes, and can be recharged, believe it or not, with a mini USB cord–there’s a jack on the back of it. The screen, which uses thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD) technology, is enforced by protective polycarbonate. It’s a product that has been in development at Americhip for about two years, spokesman Tim Clegg told CNET News.
The Financial Times has also poked at this and came up with some added detail:
The video, which will play on a screen about the size of those found on mobile telephones, will appear in copies of the Time Warner magazine sent to subscribers in the New York and Los Angeles areas.

Entertainment Weekly has a circulation of 1.8m, but it had not been decided how many copies will contain the video ad.

One magazine industry executive with knowledge of the technology estimated that running one video ad in 100,000 copies would cost in the low seven-figure range. That would translate into a cost of several dollars per copy. By contrast, a full-page colour ad in Entertainment Weekly costs about 9 cents a page per copy.
Now in the context of a magazine having to pay several dollars extra for a video screen, that’s a big nut. From the perspective of merchandisers looking at ways to add some motion to displays, a few bucks is nothing. Hmmmm. 
Americhip has a slightly weird Website, including a MULTISENSORIZE!!! jingle. There is a PDF file about Americhip’s environmental policies, but all it says about electronics is that it is ROHS compliant (which I think it would have to be anyway). There are endless other, worse offenders, but it does seem odd in these green days to produce electronics that will be looked at once or twice and thrown out.  

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