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IBC 2008 Review: Walking the Floor

IBC is a great party event, and Saturday, Sept. 13, was the biggest of all, the IBC Party, with everyone invited, stilt walkers, bands, wasabi nuts, balloonatics, and more. But you're never far from a drink even on the show floor, and there was beer on tap at the outdoor exhibits, too.

Meanwhile, back in technology, Nagoya University showed free-viewpoint TV, which allows you to "move the camera" even after a scene has been shot, but you need to shoot the scene with 100 cameras to begin with. It's making its way through standardization committees. They also had a 3D capture and display system using what looked a lot like 19th-century zoetrope technology.

Speaking of 3D, aside from the undecideds, there seemed to be two types of people at IBC this year: those who think stereoscopy is imminent everywhere and those who don't. One of the latter asked me why one of the former was taking his stereoscopy road show to India, which, he said, has a low penetration of even ordinary TV. I noted that just 10 percent of India's households is 100 million people.

Softel was already announcing stereoscopic subtitles(!), and they weren't the only subtitling company thinking about them. Similarly, SysMedia had voice-recognition subtitling, something that Ninsight offered, too. Binocle 3D is a French company that deals only with stereoscopic TV.

The no-glasses-needed Philips stereoscopic displays were all over the show, in sizes ranging from 8- up to 56-inch, not counting a wall made up of multiple displays. It offered a 3D effect, though not as great as Sony's (the latter requiring glasses). Vuzix iWear showed tiny-LCD glasses that made viewers think they were watching much larger displays, something research they provided said would make mobile-TV viewers want to watch for longer periods (they can offer stereoscopic images, too).

Vizix, in the IBC Mobile Zone, which, along with the IPTV Zone, had the smallest booths at the show; maybe eight of them would fit in NAB's smallest booth. Newtec offered an
example of what they called "not so mobile TV," a 1950s-era set in a wheelbarrow. Conversely, DiBcom's tiny USB digital-TV receiver was so tiny, it could have disappeared under an Popsicle stick.

Speaking of small, some people were taking pictures of the several TV production and uplink "trucks" built into Mini automobiles. SISLive, the BBC outside production branch, had one and offered a dig at a competitor by showing an ITN uplink truck (tiny by American standards) stuck in mud with a large crew trying to push it out. Of course, a Mini is gigantic compared to a Smart car, and that was what GE's Satlynx built its uplink into. That's
small, but it couldn“t compare to AVL Technologies' Model 9066 Carry-On uplink. There's a backpack option.

A few more tidbits: On2 said its VP8 codec wass twice as efficient as MPEG-4 AVC. DVB-T2 is, depending on parameters, 50 percent more efficient than DVB-T (and, to the digital transmission alphabel soup, IBC this year also added TMMB and AT-DMB). NXP's very large booth consisted of a reception desk, a large wall, and a single flat-panel display showing 120 images per second.

There was a time when systems integrators were largely based in the United States. This year, there was a large booth for one based in Russia, and the show's best giveaway, rolling boxes for literature collecting, with long handles attached, came from Visual Connections, a Czech systems integrator.

Got CDs or DVDs with scratches and gouges rendering them useless? Azuradisc offered products to fix them. C&T Group's Dolphin remote control had a motion sensor to follow the way it's waved. Nippon Television had virtual TV production in Second Life, where camera-operator avatars shoot performer avatars, and viewer avatars watch (engineer avatars, of course, weren“t mentioned).