NAB WrapUp: Top 10 Stories out of the Show

By Ken Kerschbaumer

The 2007 NAB convention didn’t offer any truly earth-shattering introductions, pointing to the maturity of HD, tapeless and IP technologies, the three dominant forces at NAB for more than a decade. Panasonic’s P2 format hit 64 GB per card, Sony’s XDCAM HD made the leap to 4:2:2, and Omneon’s ProCast is pushing file-transfer speeds to the limit for the Olympics and beyond. So what were the top 10 storylines at this year’s show? Read on!

10) White Space Silence
We found it more than a little distressing that the NAB decided not to use the world’s biggest gathering of over-the-air broadcasters as a rallying point for what we consider to be a major issue: corruption of White Space spectrum via unlicensed devices. Many of the nation’s top news outlets, both print and electronic, are hungry for interesting stories on the first Monday of NAB. If delivering video to mobile devices over the air is worthy of a press conference so is a White Space issue that could destroy the industry.

9) Sure Shot’s Natalie Michele
There’s a lot of talk about how the sports industry will cost-effectively produce smaller events in HD. We think Sure Shot’s 40-foot HD truck, complete with six Thomson HD cameras, a Kalypso switcher, and satellite transmission capabilities could be a sign of the future.

8) Kahuna Success
The Snell & Wilcox Kahuna production switcher has yet to find a place within the mobile sports production community but there is some light at the end of the tunnel thanks to deals with Sinclair Broadcast and Raycom Media. With more than 70 stations set to use the switcher it won’t be long before a growing contingent of technical directors have familiarity with the Kahuna platform.

7) The Maturity of MPEG4 and JPEG2000 Gains
MPEG4 continues to make gains both as a platform for HD and SD distribution to consumers and also as a means of backhauling signals. Also on the horizon? JPEG2000.

6) No Apple, No Avid
The decision by the industry’s two top nonlinear editing companies to not exhibit at NAB was a buzz among exhibitors and attendees. It definitely impacted this year’s traffic as a certain segment of post-production professionals stayed home. Most exhibitors said that if they were Avid they would have exhibited to assuage fears of the company’s future and if they were Apple they would have exhibited to assuage fears of the company’s long-term commitment to the professional marketplace.

5) EVS Support of Apple, Avid
Despite the lack of an official presence both companies did have a presence on the show floor. The EVS booth was one of the busiest at this year’s show and for good reason. Interoperability with Avid and Apple editing systems brings a new level of functionality to a server system that, traditionally, was a bit of an island unto itself.

4) The Olympics Buzz
We spent a day hosting an inside look at the new technologies and workflows being deployed for the 2008 Summer Games but news of Olympics deals were everywhere as companies great and small brush up on their Mandarin and apply for Visas.

3) 3D HD
Vince Pace and the folks at Pace 3D once again wowed us with 3D HD images that included some tremendous underwater footage, NBA action, boxing, and even some Missy Elliott. More importantly, we heard people from the south hall to the north hall who believed the technology was more than just a gimmick.

2) Mobile Video
The Open Mobile Video Coalition offered up some nice demos of mobile video. We were also impressed with Harris and LG Electronics adding an IP layer to the MPH system that allows for mobile VOD, PPV, and targeted advertising.

1) All Pictures Great and Small
For us items two and three point to what NAB 2008 will be remembered for: this was the show where broadcasters realistically demonstrated technologies that extend over-the-air broadcast and satellite technologies out of the living room and into new environments. 3D HD pointed to a broadcast future that will extend onto the big screen. The mobile developments proved the extension of broadcast to the little screen.

For everyone in the industry these are exciting times. And there is little doubt that sports content will be at the forefront of all future developments.

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