5Qs About NAB 2016: Alan Popkin

LAS VEGASTV Technology asked a cross-section of NAB Show-goers a series of five questions regarding what they considered the main themes, evidence of those, whether or not these initiatives will take hold, and what promising technologies from past NAB Shows did not see daylight. (A complete list of quotes from respondents and links to their full 5Qs is at “NAB 2016 in 21 Quotes.”)

Alan Popkin, director of engineering & technical operations at KLCS-TV/DT:
Q1.How many NAB Shows have you attended?
A.P. 35

Q2.What, in your opinion, were the main themes of the show this year? 
A.P. Video over IP, drones, VR, 4K, CDNs and ATSC 3.0. The order depends on which aisles you walked down.

What were some examples of these themes? 
A.P. Most of the manufacturers have finally agreed that AIMS (2022-6) for video over IP is the direction the industry should move. This level of cooperation was vital for this emerging technology.
Drones of every shape size and purpose took up a lot of floor space. While it is an agile and relatively inexpensive camera platform it may be overused as was the “nervous camera” look of a few years ago. The audience will decide.
VR was in a lot of booths, some of them unexpected.
It appeared that equipment manufacturers have devoted a great deal of R&D and marketing resources to try to enable 4K production.
There was a CDN vendor around every corner.
While ATSC 3.0 is still not a standard it may be broadcastings last best hope.

Q4.Do you foresee any or all of these technologies or initiatives taking hold? 
A.P.Drones have already become ubiquitous. VR utilizing cellphones will probably have a rapid marketing effort in games. Not sure how it will be utilized in broadcast. Video-over-IP looks to still be a few years out. It is at the same stage SDI was in its infancy. Larger facilities and trucks will probably be the early adopters. In smaller file-based facilities, there is so little SDI left, it may not pencil out for the ROI. A lot depends on the future ability to leverage this transport layer in virtualizing a facility. CDNs are already her—it remains to be seen if there is enough marketable content and bandwidth to keep them all in business. ATSC 3.0 will be an expensive and complicated gamble for broadcasters. If the timeline stretches out too long for deployment, it may be the next 3D TV.

Q5.What technology that impressed you most at a past show didn’t see the light of day?
A.P. The now infamous 3DTV was a technology in search of an audience. If you recall, it was everywhere a few years ago on the show floor. The industry invested heavily in this losing endeavor. While the technology was impressive, the lack of a business plan ultimately led to its demise. I had thought that datacasting in ATSC 1.0 would have found a purpose, but it, too, has mostly been relegated to the scrap heap. Lack of use cases that had a revenue stream killed this technology.