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Dream or Nightmare?

For some strange reason, I was dreaming about the NAB convention. Maybe it was closer to a nightmare.

Anyway, I'm seeing all these new products at the show, but they aren't related. There's a new saddle for horses, and the latest from Vegamatic and Gingsu. All of this is alongside transmitters and editing systems. It must have been something I ate.

This year's NAB was certainly something all right, but exactly what I'm not so sure. Touring the Sands was schizophrenic. First, I was in the Discreet booth viewing an NLE application, then seemingly in the next booth was a satellite dish, and next to it was a tiny software company. Then, only a few steps away, was a company offering everything from cable encoders to satellite and cable STBs. Whew! It helps to have multiple personalities when touring this show.

To help bring some organization to the convoluted and often disjointed event, Broadcast Engineering brought together some of the industry's best engineers and writers to help paint a clearer picture of the event and the industry. These experts will help all of us better assimilate what was really new and innovative. Ten writers were assigned to cover just the convention floor technology. They'll provide a first-person report on both events and technology. You'll learn what was new and, just as important, what may be coming.

Three things struck me as standouts at this show. First, was the positive atmosphere, as I discussed last month. This shouldn't be underemphasized. I believe we'll be seeing the result of this upbeat mood in both purchases and advertising in the months ahead.

Second was the mixed messages in the halls. The Sands sticks out as the least “NAB-like.” While there were the traditional production and broadcast vendors, there were plenty of less-related exhibits too. There were many new exhibitors that could have been (and are) seen at other non-broadcast shows. I found this much like CES, where you can go from car stereos to home automation in the blink of an eye. It works for them, and NAB is betting the new eclectic mix will work for us.

Finally, this year's new products were real. Yes, I know you've heard that 100 times from vendors, but the majority of what I saw could be bought right off the floor and immediately used. This is a direct result of manufacturers finally realizing that vaporware hurts their image, and customers don't want to unknowingly be used as guinea pigs or be baited along for months (sometimes years), waiting for something new.

So, clarity with all this confusion is just ahead. Dozens of articles, hundreds of new products, thousands of words, tens of thousands of characters — whoa, I'm getting way too excited here.

Just read on. And let me know your thoughts about this year's NAB. I'll be putting some of your letters in upcoming Reader Feedback columns, so hit the SEND button now to

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