Getting to Las Vegas on Friday night allowed me to attend sessions and classes over the weekend before the official opening of NAB, and it was well worth it. This weekend alone I was able to learn about stereopsis and how we perceive our 3-D world as well is issues facing the creation of 3-D video. We heard what it took to convert the movie Clash of the Titans from 2-D to 3-D in just eight weeks. Attendees saw a live demo of a 3-D camera and how the different adjustments affect the stereo picture.
In another session, we learned about progress on EAS and CAPS and what the 180-day window means as well as when it will begin. CAPS will address alerting all kinds of devices and EAS is now just a part, but a very important part, of this much larger national alert system.
We also learned about ATSC M/H and the issues involved in deploying it and how to address coverage issues. Some of the results from the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC) testing that was performed last year and into this year were presented and showed that Mobile DTV should work very well in most areas and presented ideas on what the problems were when it did not work as expected.
Merrill Weiss presented his conclusions about the cost of converting all 210 TV markets to Single Frequency Networks (SFN) as is proposed in the FCC's broadband plan and was suggested by the CEA. Apparently it would be much more expensive than they thought.
On opening day I attended six different classes or sessions here at NAB that addressed subjects such as A/V sync problems, loudness issues and how to measure it, a new idea on why you would not want to lock your SFN transmitter to GPS, issues concerning DTV coverage problems with VHF and how to address them, as well as a method to squeeze more power from 8VSB amplifiers to increase coverage with crest factor reduction. I also attended one class on Apple Motion and how to work in 3-D within it. I learned a great deal, and the presenter, Mark Spencer, is a great teacher.
In one session I learned about lip sync in the transmission chain and the studies that show viewers' tolerance for audio and video being out of sync. It also covered how STB manufactures only recently started to address this problem in their designs. We found out about a document from the CEA called CEB20 that addresses A/V sync. Everyone involved, from electronic designers to station engineers, should read it as it will help the station engineers to better understand the issues involved. It available from the CEA for $60, and I am told it's well worth it. This session had Patrick Waddell from Harmonic and Graham Jones.
Everyone should attend at least some of the sessions offered at NAB. Even if you can't attend many, but not all, proceedings are available in book or CD form and many, again not all, of the sessions are available online at NAB's Online Learning Center.