5Qs About NAB 2016: Bob Kovacs

Themes, memes and dreams
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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.”)

Bob Kovacs, writer, editor, reporter and video producer:
Q1. How many NAB Shows have you attended?
B.K. I first attended the NAB in 1984, but missed a couple years. I’ll guess and say this is my 30th NAB. More than half of those, I worked as a journalist for IMAS/NewBay.

Q2. What, in your opinion, were the main themes of the show this year?
B.K. The two main themes I’ve noticed are ATSC 3.0 and 4K/8K video. However, anyone who went down to the five-digit booths in the Central Hall had to be knocked out by the insane assortment of video production equipment. In addition to pricey, high-end broadcast and production products, there was an explosion of low-cost great quality cameras, tripods, lights, recorders, lenses and camera support equipment. (Not the least of which is UAVs.) So at the high end, there’s ATSC 3.0 and 4K/8K cinema production, but there’s also a tremendous democratization of video gear for people who work on a shoestring.

Q3. What were some examples of these themes?
B.K. There were plenty of ATSC 3.0 demos around the halls and nearly all transmitter manufacturers are showing ATSC 3.0-compatible products. Camera companies at the high end (Red) and low end (GoPro) had 4K cameras that are highly popular, judging by the crowds around their booths.

Q4. Do you foresee any or all of these technologies or initiatives taking hold?
B.K. The only one of these that hasn’t taken hold is 8K. (Although the apartment-sized 8K display at the Planar booth was a “must-see.” It was astonishing.)

Q5. What technology that impressed you most at a past show didn’t see the light of day?
B.K. HiVision, the Japanese analog HD system that was first shown in the mid-1980s, looked like a dead certainty for high-end applications. However, there was never any interest in the U.S. Parts of it ended up as digital HD, but far different from what was shown so many years ago