NAB, or The National Association of Broadcasters, is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations. Each year the association has a convention which has become the self-proclaimed largest electronic media show in the world. Media professionals simply call it NAB.
The convention is an opportunity for exhibitioners to introduce the state of the art in technology and for media institutions like the FCC to deliver the state of the union, as it were, of the wide world of production, broadcasting and new technologies.
The event encompasses the entire world of media, television, radio, broadcasting, production, post-production, and the internet. It is the trade show where Tech Talk and Geek Speak fill the halls and leave the mere mortals (Average Joe electronics consumer), scratching his head among the flashing lights, wondering where to begin.
Well, I did my best to wade through the mass of media and machinery, and here is some of the cool stuff I found.
In the Broadcasting front, TEC (Television Engineering Corporation) was on hand to introduce the Evolution, the company's latest answer to the 'roaming satellite'. (www.tvengineering.com).
Electronics Research, Inc. erected an impressive display to showcase high band auxiliary antennas (www.eriinc.com). Their latest product, the multi-channel SLIMWing VHF Television Panel Antenna. For those of us who thought rabbit ears were a thing of the past, antenna's are far from being obsolete.
Miller (www.millerprods.com) was one of several exhibitors on hand showing off their camera hardwares. The longest line at the convention was to the Ultra HD TV System Theater (www.nhk.or.jp). Maker NHK offers a HD TV with thie world's first 22.2 mutlichannel sound system and 4320-scanning Line System. (In English, picture quality four times better than high def and 3D sound).
YouTube is the most popular upload server these days. However, the Quebec based company BUG.tv (www.Bug.tv) offers an alternative for Mac-based broadcast automation, for projects big and small, for individuals as well as television stations. Similarly, exhibitor Level 3 Communications prides itself as 'the way to deliver content', with a wide range of delivery services within most electronic and digital avenues. (www.level3.com/content)
If there is a prize to be won for product visibility, the honors would have to be split between our hosting organization's 'DTV Answers' campaign and the royalty-free stock footage company Artbeats. DTV Answers (www.dtvanswers.com/) is the official NAB website designed to raise consumer awareness to the impending change in the network television broadcasting signal from analog to digital, currently targeted for February 17, 2009. The campaign included young women, riding around on Segways, handing out fliers. No one could miss them.
Artbeats (www.artbeats.com/) seemed to outfit practically everyone with their huge black and red shopping bags. Like many of the exhibitors, they enticed attendees to visit their booth by giving away great prizes. The bags with the red and black filmstrips were on every arm, including mine. Highly visible and very practical for collecting literature from the scores of exhibits spanning conferences rooms in the Renaissance Hotel, the Hilton Hotel and the entire Las Vegas Convention Center.
For those of us in the enetertainment industry, I discovered CrewsDirector (http://www.crewsdirector.com/). This online service is essentially a production manifest at your finger tips. Its services boast 'management for production schedules, book shoots, update calendars, to view projects and connect with other professionals." Its website appears to be a great compliment to Backstage West and Mandy.com, creating a hub where talent, production and production management can all find each other.
Away from the massive exhibition floors, dozens of rooms throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center were occupied by the NAB Conferences, comprehensive workshops and educational seminars. This year, attendees had fifteen different disciplines within which their could take a crash course or a refresher course in everything from practical, hands-on skills with the latest High Definition Cameras to exploring newer venues like Podcasting and IPTV.
Super Sessions were all day seminars, usually accompanied by breakfast or a luncheon, that offer 'high-level perspective on present and future technologies.' Various aspects of production, advertising, broadcasting, and new media and formats are explored, first introduced by a keynote speaker, then explored and discussed further by a panel of experts who lend their unique perspective through their own practical experience.
NAB 2007 is the third largest convention so far, at 108,000 plus registration. The international attendees make up 25% of that number, representing 141 countries. It has been estimated that And the great city of Las Vegas is hoping to host an even larger turnout next year.
Photos: Daniel George / 2Bros Photography