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BEC Tackles Multiplatform Landscape

The six-day Broadcast Engineering Conference at the NAB Show features technical papers addressing the latest opportunities and challenges that face broadcast engineering professionals around the world.

LAS VEGAS—The life of the broadcast engineer has become more complicated than ever, thanks to the advent of multiplatform delivery systems (broadcast, Web, mobile), wireless AV, video drones, ATSC 3.0, and too many other tech advances to list here. This is why the NAB Show has expanded the annual Broadcast Engineering Conference from its previous five days to this year’s six, running from Saturday April 5 to Thursday, April 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This year’s BEC will look at how broadcasting is changing in a hybrid world of media consumption. “As we evolve into a multiplatform world for broadcasters, the conference will look at hybrid broadcasting from industry and consumer perspectives,” said John Marino, vice president of technology for NAB. “Papers in the BEC will also focus on operational matters such as workflow, sports production and delivery, and security issues.”

The 2014 BEC Sessions’ lineup is packed with cutting-edge technical presentations that will cover these topics and many other subjects that matter to broadcasters.

The conference opens on Saturday April 5 with the annual all-day Society of Broadcast Engineers Ennes Workshop, where speakers will cover the tips, tricks, and rules of broadcast engineering budgets; designs for 4K broadcast infrastructures, UltraHD Slo Mo at the Super Bowl, video drones, and broadcast facility “best and worst” practices. John Poray, executive director for SBE, will mark the organization’s 50th anniversary (to the day), with a presentation of archival photos commemorating the evolution of the society over the past five decades.

On Sunday, the conference will include an ATSC 3.0 update, transmission solutions for all-digital AM IBOC radio, making TV programs using IP networks, and 4K to 8K upconversion.

Monday, April 6 will see ROAM Consulting President Peter Putman address “Wireless AV Connectivity – It’s Here!” at 10:30 a.m. in S225. “The focus is on using various wireless technologies to carry display and audio technologies, such as wireless HDMI from cameras, Blu-ray players, tablets, phones, and other sources to televisions and monitors,” Putman told TV Technology. In doing so, he’ll be explaining and comparing wireless AV standards such as 802.11n, 802.11ac, 802.11ad (Wireless Gigabit), Wireless High Definition Interface, and Wireless HD (60 Ghz).

“Most of these standards are flying under people’s radar, but with the rapid growth in popularity of tablets, smartphones, and other BYODs yet to come, wireless high-bandwidth connectivity of these gadgets is a must,” said Putman. Also on tap during Monday’s BEC are automatic live subtitling, OTT, hybrid radio, virtual set-top boxes, adaptive stream and video clouds.

On Tuesday, BEC attendees can get up-to-speed on the future of sports video production, radio/streaming audio quality, broadcasting in the unlicensed WiFi bands, metadata, and future-proofing DTV transmission facilities. On Wednesday, topics will include remote monitoring advances, the Emergency Alert System, and a day-long RF Boot Camp, among others.

SBE will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, April 5, the opening day of the BEC. SBE Executive Director John Poray will review the association’s history, including this photo from the 1977 SBE Board of Directors taken at the spring meeting of the board, held during the NAB Show at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel. SBE president at that time was Robert Wehrman, fifth from the right. At 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in S227, Minnetonka Audio Software’s Oliver Masciarotte will delve into “Loudness Management Is Settled… What’s Next?” According to Masciarotte, “with CALM compliance largely completed, experience has shown that current standards and recommended practices do not address all the situations present in the real world,” he said. “The nature of diverse content styles and sources, myriad delivery platforms and the ‘artistic intent’ of content creators has yet to be addressed, though standards are changing to adapt.”

On Thursday, the BEC will touch upon media asset management, cloud-based digital workflows, security, cellular bonding, broadcast content protection, and IP networks. Again, these are just some of the many, many topics that will be packed into the BEC’s six days.

“Engineers today are more busy than ever; therefore their time to keep up with industry developments is very limited,” said NAB’s Marino. “The Broadcast Engineering Conference is structured to cover the most important issues, technologies and applications that will help busy engineers understand how broadcast technologies are evolving.”

To register for the Broadcast Engineering Conference, visit www.

James Careless is an award-winning journalist who has written for TV Technology since the 1990s. He has covered HDTV from the days of the six competing HDTV formats that led to the 1993 Grand Alliance, and onwards through ATSC 3.0 and OTT. He also writes for Radio World, along with other publications in aerospace, defense, public safety, streaming media, plus the amusement park industry for something different.