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Workplace at NAB - a report from Workplace's Jim Brown

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Chris Kane Chris Kane | 10:25 UK time, Friday, 22 May 2009

This year's NAB conference in Las Vegas ran from the 18th to the 23rd of April. For those of you not familiar with NAB, it is a trade show organised by the National Association of Broadcasters who represent the interests of more than 8,300 terrestrial radio and television stations, (as well as broadcast networks) in the USA. Although there are similar events in Europe, notably IBC; NAB dwarfs the competition. Held in the 3.2million sq ft Las Vegas Convention Centre, the event attracts over 100,000 visitors. See photos here

Traditionally the domain of broadcast engineers and equipment manufacturers, in recent years the event has attracted a greater diversity of attendees and exhibitors. The changes in attendees apply equally to the BBC, where those attending are as likely to come from Production as Future Media & Technology or Engineering. Alongside the changing demographic of attendees is the change in exhibitor mix, with some of the larger stands these days being the preserve of the IT companies such as Microsoft and Cisco.  With the focus on efficiency and value for money, software solutions, like our own DMI, were very much to the fore.

Most of the BBC team, including Jim Brown for Workplace, were there to support our major programmes in W1 and Salford. Although two years away, much of the equipment staff will be using when they move to Salford will be ordered in the next few months, so this really was the last chance to see what was on offer, rather than what had been promised! For the technically minded, the big question was whether equipment to support an end to end 1080P High Definition standard would be available within the Salford procurement timescale. 1080P uses twice the bandwidth of our current 1080i High Definition standard and gets rid of that rather nasty flicker and blurring effect you see on fast moving images, such as Sport.
Although the trip was about informing decisions on Salford and W1, it was also an opportunity to look ahead at what might be available in the not too distant future. Every NAB has a number of key themes and this year the big push was on 3D, mobile and Internet TV.

Here's Jim's thought on the 3D experience:
"3D flat screens not much thicker than existing domestic TVs were on show, displaying images captured at a range of events, including a U2 concert. Unfortunately the viewer still has to wear those annoying 3D glasses, but the manufacturers were confident these could be built into normal glasses which would display 3D TV at the flick of a switch, although not yet! 3D is not everyone's cup of tea and a number of people reported experiencing slight headaches and fatigue after watching for a relatively short period. 3D seems to work best in domestic settings when the image appears to be 'behind' the screen and the viewing angle is not too acute, so don't expect to many of those Hollywood moments where the villain reaches out into your living room and although you know it's only make believe, you still duck."

NAB is just one of the many interesting events attended by colleagues from Workplace throughout the year and I would hope to include a short summary from a number of them in my Blog in the coming months. Feel free to comment, or let me know if there's an event you think would benefit wider staff to learn about.



  • Comment number 1.

    From reading up on all the goings on currently in the 3D market it certainly looks like this time around at least 3D is here to stay! Personally I cant wait to be be sat at home watching my favourite tv shows and the football in 3d........ no need to leave the house!


  • Comment number 2.

    Nice post. How things change in the span of a few months eh? Manufacturers have been announcing and releasing a slew of new 3D TV models and from first impressions, it does seem that they are going to be popular. I do believe that the success of Avatar in 3D medium will prove to be the pivotal point that helps drive the adoption of 3D TV technology. There already seems to be a large number of options for consumers as I have found on this particular site - Best 3D TV List.

    I'm really looking forward to the widespread adoption of 3D. It's about time that we progressed from regular 2D technology. Hopefully this will help drive more resources and effort into developing holographic displays that would enable "Real 3D" without the need for glasses.


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