City of thieves - deja vu

I'm back from IBC. Another trip to the City of Thieves - and it lived up to its reputation, but more about that later.

The IBC has become a truly international exhibition, one with a few attributes that NAB would do well to adopt. Not the least of which is a civilized exhibition schedule and refreshments in many of the booths. The show opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. Also, the IBC show organizers treat the press like human beings instead of like flies at a picnic.

The IBC isn't a show that's big on new product announcements. Much of what's shown is the actual embodiment of products that were announced at NAB, but really weren't real. By IBC time many are actually shipping. IBC has also turned into a show where deals are announced. You've probably heard about the acquisition of Pluto by Avid. Leitch bought DPS. Avstar became iNEWS, and the list goes on.

At NAB, the keyword was streaming. At IBC, the keyword was broadband. With Europe's focus on digital television instead of HD television, the integration of data, and now broadband delivery, has been far less controversial. The result has been the development of a wide range of products, features and services. From simple media delivery to full interactivity via terrestrial, satellite and cable, Europe has gotten its collective act together with regards to datacasting. America would do well to follow suit or risk getting left behind.

I mentioned the City of Thieves in my introduction and Amsterdam again lived up to that reputation. By the way, lest my European readers be offended by the characterization, the term is what the Amsterdam Police Department uses. I know firsthand.

Many of you may recall my previous experience of being robbed in front of the Crown Plaza Hotel in Amsterdam a couple of years back. Well, this year wasn't as catastrophic but infuriating nonetheless. I had hidden some gifts from my friends at Tektronix, SGI, Harris and the Grass Valley Group in our exhibit booth. The next day, I went back to the booth to pack them for shipping back home. Sure enough, I'd been ripped off. They left the IBC tote bags, guess they already had enough of them. They only took the good stuff! Other exhibitors had similar experiences.

Some local cab drivers were operating their own scam. Twice I found them instructing me on how a 20 guilder fare from a 50 guilder note equals 20 guilders change - always provided in two 10 guilder notes. New math, right?

On a more positive note, one characteristic that sets IBC apart from NAB is the party scene. Canal boat tours, trips to the beach and exquisite parties in impressive historical museums are often part of IBC. NAB's version of culture is Plastic Paris, Cement Caesars and Naugahyde New York. However, nothing I've attended previously at IBC holds a candle to one soiree at this year's convention.

To protect the guilty, I won't mention the company's name. Some said that clothing was optional, but that applied mainly to the hired female staff. Naked it wasn't. Almost naked it was. Wild and crazy it was. And next time you're thinking about serving fruit, you could consider (or not) how this company "served up its refreshments." I can only leave this to your imagination. After all, this is a family magazine.

BTW, I'm looking for a full-time technical editor. Broadcast, video and web knowledge is required. And, you have to be able to communicate well. If you're interested, drop me a note.