For the first time I remember in the three years I’ve attended the show, an exhibitor used live video feeds in its booth. I’m sure among all the exhibitors filling four separate gigantic halls, there are others that use live content in their demonstrations, but it always struck me as weird that companies touting the latest in broadcast technology relied on taped content for their demonstrations.
So if at least one company can find a way to use live content, is it too much to ask that another unnamed technology provider at least update it’s taped content and stop broadcasting the same basketball game â€” played in 2000 â€” as part of the endless loop of content in its booth?
While high-definition (HD) services have not yet taken off commercially in the way most technology suppliers â€” or anyone else â€” had hoped, that does not mean the companies have slowed down their development efforts. One company is ready to introduce more affordable HD newsgathering platforms for local news stations â€” many of whom are still trying to figure out how to get the return on investment on the HD upgrades they have installed in the past several years, and one of the most impressive pieces of work Iâ€™ve seen to date has to be HD video on a Sony Playstation Portable screen and on an iPhone-size screen.
On the mobile front â€” another area where the technology development is outstripping commercial acceptance â€” the launch of the ICO G1 satellite has created a little bit of excitement among companies banking on mobile TV to drive future revenues. One of ICOâ€™s more ambitious mobile TV trials took place in Las Vegas a year ago and the efforts are continuing in other areas of the globe. If all goes well with checkout, trials with the spacecraft will begin in September, but the companies would not speculate when this could lead to revenue-generating operations.
There does not seem to be any single issue that will dominate the 2008 NAB show or any single idea that is creating any excitement. The show floor is packed as usual, but the attendees are not being driven to any single booth featuring the latest must-have technology that will change the future of broadcasting.
All the usual suspects can be found â€“ high definition, mobile services, compression, etc. Two of the first four booths I visited touted the latest in space-based IP, but while the technology providers continue to made impressive advances, there is only so much they can do to drive the consumer markets, one executive said. At some point, their customers â€” the content deliverers â€” need to make business cases compelling enough so the end users will begin to spend the money on the services. Until then, the technology advances will continue to just be an interesting thing to look at on the show floor.