With Oct. 1 marking the date when U.K. satellite broadcaster BSkyB is set to launch its landmark 3D service, this year's IBC is set to provide the perfect platform for vendors to lay out their wares.
If last year's stats are anything to go by, more than 45,000 attendees from more than 140 countries will flock to see the stands of 1,300 technology suppliers—many of whom will be showcasing the latest stereoscopic developments.
Those boggled by the array of technologies on display in Amsterdam's RAI Centre, would do well to attend the Sunday conference session "What Caught My Eye 3D Special," which sees Adam Sculthorp, a sterographer at U.K. production outfit Telegenic, talk through the enormous range of 3D tools on show this year, highlighting those that he thinks are essential for delegates to see.
IBC organizers expect more than 45,000 visitors worldwide to the annual show in Amsterdam. The rising interest in 3D sees manufacturers such as Sony make a comeback to IBC, after a noted absence from last year's show in favor of several smaller self-arranged European events that made up its "Power of Images" tour. "The feedback from the countries who hosted the 'Sony Power Of Images' events has been overwhelmingly positive and we will continue to host these events, roadshows and masterclasses to engage with our customers and partners in the future," says Mark Bainbridge, general manager, Sony Media and Broadcast. "Our decision to integrate IBC into the wider Power Of Images program was taken based on the merits of the event as a communications platform on which we can demonstrate our 3D and file-based media workflow solutions and brand message."
Perhaps IBC is just too tempting a vehicle for Sony not to showcase its progress in 3D, where it currently claims to be the only manufacturer at the show with the capability to deliver complete end-to-end 3D solutions from lens to living room.
If you are a multinational manufacturer with branches and divisions around the globe, just having all your staff and customers in one European base once a year is worth shelling out for a stand, according to Patrick McLean, Avid Director Segment Marketing Post & Broadcast in Burlington, Mass.
"IBC is very important to us as it gives us the opportunity to meet with many of our customers in a single location during a concentrated period of time, and it gives Avid staff unparallel opportunity to talk and discuss and connect with our customers," he said.
McLean says that this year there will be a broad range of Avid solutions on display around this year's theme of openness. In this spirit McLean reveals that Avid will also attend the Final Cut Pro User Group's Super Meet during IBC, to speak with the Apple community about Avid tools and interoperability.
There will also be a chance for delegates to check out Avid's newly released ISIS 5000, a lower cost version of its Isis shared storage system designed specifically for smaller broadcasters and facilities.
According to Miranda's Neil Sharpe, IBC is one of the key ways that it keeps in touch with the market. "It offers great opportunities to discuss upcoming projects with our clients, and also allows us to widen our contacts," he said.
Miranda will highlight its Nvision 8500 routers with integrated audio processing, which eliminate timing problems while offering greater space efficiency.
For those wishing to command a greater European footfall, IBC is still an important way of evaluating the state of the industry, according to Paul Nicholls, sales and marketing manager at Phabrix, a U.K.-based provider of signal processing technology for the broadcast industry.
"With world economics forcing many companies to stay away from travelling to NAB, IBC has become increasingly a focal point to display new products and services within Europe," he said. "Only 2 percent of the 600 visitors to Phabrix's NAB stand were from Europe—enough said."
At the Phabrix stand delegates interested in test and measurement can check out the manufacturer's new Rx platform on display in the 2U rackmounted range.
"Our award winning handheld test and measurement range also has added functionality—a Dolby E option providing analysis for metering, metadata and framing and the new Ancillary Data Analyser (ADA) option for SDI signal analysis," adds Nicholls.
While 13 may be an unlucky number for some, being able to offer up an extra hall at the show is good news for the show's organizers. Hall 13 is located in the space between the new Elicium tower, the Auditorium and Hall 3. The building will add more than 800 square meters. Exhibitors include BBC Academy, Clear-Com and San Solutions. John Holton, chair of the IBC exhibition committee adds that the hall also demonstrates "a real sense of optimism in the industry."
Also debuting this year is "Connected World" in Hall 9, which will showcase the Mobile, IPTV and Digital Signage Zones, the Connected World Hub and the Connected Home of the future.
Technologies on display in this hall will include those currently impacting the broadcast industry, including set-top boxes, hybrid TVs, LCDs, netbooks, games consoles, tablets, media players, mobile phones and other consumer devices.
The keynote speakers for this year's IBC reads like a roll call of "Who's who" in broadcasting. This year's overriding theme of "challenging mindsets in a modern media landscape" and the conference's ambition to address some of the key commercial, creative and technical issues facing the industry have attracted big hitters, according to Michael Lumley, chair of the conference committee.
"In recent years the IBC conference has leapt forward as the forum which gets right to the heart of the key issues in our industry," Lumley said. "It attracts world-class speakers and delegates who recognize that it is the best place to drive forward the debate."
Indeed, the opening session of the conference on Sept. 11 asks a loaded question which some of Europe's top names will tackle: "Does public service broadcast have a future?" Sir Michael Lyons, the chairman of the BBC Trust, will outline his take on the future of public service broadcasting.
The session also includes keynote addresses by Yoshinori Imai, vice president of Japanese national broadcaster NHK, and Ingrid Deltenre, director general of the European Broadcasting Union.
On Friday, Sept. 12, the big broadcasting names continue to roll with BSkyB's chief operating officer Mike Darcey, chief executive of HBO Central Europe, Linda Jensen, and RTL's Gerhard Zeiler, all lined up to deliver the keynote "New Routes to Original Funding," a session designed to examine the various funding models for broadcasters—from ad funded television to premium subscription—and explore which model is the best way to stay afloat in harsh economic times.
Whether Darcey will reveal more about Sky's 3D service remains to be seen, but for anyone wishing to gain a greater insight into the impact of 3D on international broadcasting, this year's show is a must-visit.
Register for IBC at www.ibc.org.