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IBC 2013 Confronts Rapid Change

AMSTERDAM—IBC enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2012, with 50,937 professionals attending from over 160 countries. This figure was up by 1 per cent from the previous attendance record set in 2011.

Exhibitor numbers also went up last year, with 75 more companies booking floor space than the year before, and the final figure of 1,440 exhibitors almost brings it closer to the show’s pre-recession bookings—which led to 1,451 companies exhibiting in 2008.


IBC takes place at the RAI Centre in Amsterdam, Sept. 13–17. So what to expect in 2013? Now in its 45th year, the first thing to note is a slight shift in date. The Amsterdam techfest now takes place during the third week in September at the RAI centre, rather than the second. This year the conference runs from Sept. 12–17 with the exhibition open Sept. 13–17.

According to the organizers the dates were pushed back to ensure that exhibitors had enough lead time in September to get their stands together, although presumably they must be mindful of the fact that consumer electronics show IFA takes place in Berlin the week before.

IBC however, is still a key platform for companies old and new to outline their strategy and introduce new products. And this year is no different.

“I anticipate that we will leverage IBC as a platform to unveil our vision, direction and strategy,” says Charlie Vogt, Harris Broadcast’s new chief executive officer, who joined the company in July.

Following its acquisition last December by the Gores Group, all eyes will be on Harris’ next move at IBC.

“At the show we will showcase the products that align with our vision and direction,” Vogt said. “We will demonstrate an ability to build solutions around IP-enabled building blocks, whether IPTV or mobile TV in Algeria or transmission solutions over IP in the Netherlands.”

Prior to Harris, Vogt spent nine years as president and chief executive of telecom gear manufacturer Genband, leading the company through a series of acquisitions. While he doesn’t mention further acquisitions to come at Harris, this is his speciality, encompassing six acquisitions while at Genband, and expanding the company into 50 countries.

“I have spent the past 10 years innovating and implementing IP technology go-to-market strategies—strategies that I am convinced the broadcast industry will be faced with over the next decade,” Vogt adds. “Joining Harris should send a loud message to the broadcasting world that our investors are fully committed to innovation and growth. Our goal is to simplify, focus and double-down on the technology areas that align with our trends and customer requirements.”

Grass Valley, another broadcast manufacturing stalwart, says that its strategy is “to lead in the application of IT technology in a way that delivers on the rigorous requirements of broadcasters,” according to Mike Cronk, senior vice president of marketing for the San Francisco-based company.

How this relates to what’s on show at IBC this year will be evident in a number of new products, according to Cronk. First, there is GV Director, a new, “software-based production switcher paradigm.” GV Director integrates video server, switcher and graphics into one powerful platform.

In its camera line, meanwhile, Grass will demonstrate the LDX series, which, according to the company, is the first line of cameras that supports a software license model. Cronk adds that this application of IT technology will enable customers to manage expenditures in “a flexible manner.”

Also at the show will be the brand new version of GV’s award-winning control-room automation solution, Ignite, which promises a wider range of third-party support and the fastest NRCS update capability “of any product on the market.”

Stratus, Grass Valley’s application framework for nonlinear production and Edius 7, the latest version of the firm’s “anything in/ anything out” NLE, will also be shown. “Edius brings to reality real time 4K editing and support for popular third party hardware such as AJA and BlackMagic,” says Cronk.

Expect 4K to be a dominant theme of IBC 2013—readers will note that the words “stereoscopic” and “3D” are notably absent from this preview. This year many exhibitors are focusing on devices that complement or complete ultra HD/4K workflows.

Blackmagic Design plans to showcase its latest UltraHD live production solutions. Also, following the launch of the firm’s much-anticipated 2.5K cinema camera last year, news spread at the NAB Show this year of a new affordable 4K model—the Production Camera—and visitors may just get a glimpse of this model, which is due to start shipping in September.

Elsewhere, the firm recently announced an update on its ATEM 4.1 software, which allows users to save and restore full or partial switcher states on all ATEM Production Switchers, plus adds 1080p 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94 frame rates for the ATEM Production Studio 4K model.

AJA Video has also brought out a complementary line of products that together facilitates recording, automation, 4K acquisition and playback, and manageable 4K editorial.

At IBC, AJA will demonstrate new solutions for motion picture professionals and television engineers— as well as its recently released AJA Ki Pro Quad digital video recorder, Hi5-4K and ROI Mini-Converters.

Sony will use the event to share experiences from some its key 4K projects over recent months. Expect to hear about (and see) the company’s work for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 in Brazil, where it has also been trialling 4K live production workflows, as well as its work on shooting and recording part of this year’s Wimbledon Championships in 4K.

“IBC 2013 is a landmark event for Sony as it offers us the opportunity to meet with many of our customers and debate the future of the broadcast industry,” said Olivier Bovis, head of AV Media for Sony Europe. “In addition to discussing our vision for a world beyond definition, it gives us the chance to share learnings and explain how we have overcome the challenges of filming some of the world’s largest events in 4K.”

At the IBC Conference meanwhile, expect keynotes from the digital elite, including the U.K.’s general manager of Twitter, Tony Wang, and Werner Vogels, chief technology officer at

Also find out what some of Europe’s leading broadcast engineers from ZDF and TDF are investing their company’s money in during the Thursday session, “The Next Wave of Technology.” And, in keeping with the current ultra HD theme, SMPTE will present “Beyond HD: The Technology Landscape for Future Broadcasting,” which will see senior figures from media companies and technology suppliers providing a practical view of the technology systems, as well as a look at the future roadmap for UHDTV.