Similar to the CES in January the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Show in Las Vegas mid April is quite huge and very well visited. Though not as packed as I had seen few years ago, popular attractions still had their crowds.
Overall, analog audio and video is a thing of the past, everything is now fully digital, high resolution, high quality, high performance and real-time thanks to vast and inexpensive processing power, high-speed network, and storage.
Online and intelligent playlists or scripts accessing the contents though databases support the full automation of radio and TV stations.
And yes, HD and 3D were the highlights at the show: While the CES (see one of my earlier blogs) demonstrated 3D TV (front-end), the NAB more emphasized on the back-end.
Full HD cameras, even 3D, with set of microphones, recording on stamp-size memory chips, wireless transmission to audio and video processing studio, anchors or actors in green (formerly blue) rooms mixed-in the content or the virtual world, broadcast live and stored on clusters and arrays of hard drives.
Lighting is moving away from the former candescent bulbs with their tremendous (and unwanted) heat to power-efficient and ultra-bright LEDs. The advantage of the letter: light is on and off immediately, no additional high-speed shutters required, no warm-up and cool-down.
Camera and microphone arms following the object, fully computer controlled in a steady move and focus.
Internet is becoming more and more the broadcasting medium of the future: All the content available — on demand — with a simple mouse click. No waiting and arranging your life to fit specific broadcast schedule; no frustration when you then had to find out the show was a rerun or got cancelled because some sports event overran.
And on a private note: Do cable and satellite companies really think that consumers want a selection of hundreds of channels? Just to learn that the four or five programmes you were really, really interested in were not offered? And in the end you start recording the shows because of scheduling conflicts and what not! And to not waste your time staring at boring if not stupid and often deceiving commercials. (What is the rocket science that companies have such a hard time providing entertaining and truthful advertisement???)
During the NAB Show quite a few sessions were offered. You could learn about (possible) trends; what will be the broadcast of the future; the demand that is seen coming and growing.
The consumers will more and more take an interactive role, will become participants. Online-games already demonstrate that quite lively! TV stations building fan communities, have their viewers respond with a live broadcast (e.g., „who done it“, or, „what will evolve from there“, etc.).
Innovative ways need to be explored, to attract sponsors, to help pay for the broadcast. I would see that in the very near future not the number of viewers are the only determining factor anymore (broadcasts for the masses), but content bringing in most revenue (broadcasts for smaller audience paying higher premiums).
To some extend this trend is seen when comparing commercial Radio & TV to public Radio & TV to subscription Radio & TV.
And I hope the educational potential of Radio and TV together with the internet is being embraced much more. Offer and help the citizens to learn — and without ideology, please! To become informed. Which TV station wants their viewers become „couch potatoes“, if not zombies… 😉
Note: Broadcasters have a responsibility to their consumers. And quite a few realize that that is not a contradiction to making money.
© April 2010 Jürgen Menge, San José