NAB Wrap Up, Part 1

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention is over. They’ve torn down the booths and shipped all the equipment and left-over swag back home. They’re now setting up for the Water Quality Association Convention and Exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center. I guess you’ll still hear about streaming but in a whole different context.

I’ve been going to NAB in Las Vegas for quite a while. Unlike many people, I’m not there to shop or report (okay, maybe a little). I get out of the suite and make the trek to learn and get a feel for what’s happening. I also get to see other parts of our industry—mostly upstream from my world of editing.

Convergence or Divergence?

Over the years, NAB has been transforming. It has grown into a segmented show with clusters of exhibitors with varied labels like “Connected Media” and “AI/Cloud Campus.” Of course, there were the familiar “Post Production/Workflow” and “Acquisition and Production” clusters, but also the “In-Vehicle Experience,” “E-Sports Experience” and a “Road to ATSC 3.0.” (ATSC 3.0 is the next generation of over-the-air broadcast standard.) There was even an “IP Pavilion,” a “Podcasting Pavilion,” an “Advanced Advertising Pavilion” and, naturally, “Destination 5G.”

Attendees are just as varied, so when you walk the floor as I did for three days, you might pass by an exhibitor showing off robotic camera pedestals, hoping you represent a TV station. A little farther down the aisle, you might come across a booth showing a wireless follow focus system. The staff in that booth hopes you’re in cinema production and not representing a TV station.

Panasonic press conference was all about live production.
Panasonic press conference was all about live production.

And then you might see another exhibitor who could bridge both broadcast and non-broadcast but decided to focus displays on just one part of the market segment.

 Under glass P2 4K – no timeframe, no price.
Under glass P2 4K – no timeframe, no price.

For example, although Panasonic showed a P2 4K prototype under glass, their main focus was on live production equipment. That said, I enjoyed a trip into their HDR display section to see both their consumer HDR display and a prototype of a new LED HDR display.

Consumer and prototype HDR displays in the Panasonic booth.
Consumer and prototype HDR displays in the Panasonic booth.

Sony was also about live production and have transformed some of their non-broadcast production gear into broadcast. By that I mean they showed FS-7 and FS-7 II cameras built up for electronic news gathering (ENG).

Using a massive 8K “Crystal LED” display system, Sony announced a firmware update to the Venice cinema camera.
Using a massive 8K “Crystal LED” display system, Sony announced a firmware update to the Venice cinema camera.

However, they also announced new firmware for the Venice camera—adding higher frame rates. And they showcased various HDR displays from consumer to on-set and in-suite.

NAB is a lot to take in over the three-and-a-half-day exhibition. That was just a general look at what the floor felt like to me. Next time: Reacting to the exhibits, and asking the question, “Where are we going?

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