IBC Hands Out Innovation Awards

AMSTERDAM: The IBC Awards this year recognized sports, opera and a new file-based international program exchange system. The HD cinecast project of New York’s Metropolitan Opera team was among those technologies honored at last night’s awards ceremony. The effort was bestowed the IBC International Honour for Excellence, the group’s highest award.

The Met launched live HD transmissions of performances in December, 2006 to a handful of theaters with an English-language version of “The Magic Flute.” Last year’s HD series was shown in more than 800 theaters around the world, many of them sold out--a record 1.8 million tickets were sold to Live in HD events. This year, more than 900 theaters in 42 countries will carry the Met’s Live in HD transmissions.

The series has won an Emmy and a Peabody. Mark Schubin, the engineer in charge at The Met and prolific writer on all things video, was in Amsterdam to receive the award. Schubin, well-known in the industry for his preferred habiliment of brightly colored chef pants and theme T-shirts, created a buzz at the show by wearing a suit. (Schubin is pictured here in his suit accepting the award.) Met General Manager Peter Gelb weighed in via satellite from New York.

Other honorees included ESPN, for its Virtual Playbook system that uses a special version of an Xbox game from Electronic Arts. The program recreates plays on the studio floor and allows commentators to interact.

Belgian state broadcaster RTBF took an award for NumProd, a new digital workflow that combines certain elements of radio, television and online operations.

The IBC Judges Award, went to the Arab States Broadcasting Union for its multimedia exchange network over satellite project. MENOS is a datacentric program that handles program exchange among 28 broadcasters.

The IBC gave a special award to Dutch communications firm Netpresenter for creating an Amber Alert-like system for the Netherlands Police. The system pushes information out across a variety of media platforms from a single point of initiation.

Mark Waddell of the BBC was recognized for his White Paper on the compatibility challenges of broadcast networks and white-space devices. Humax Electronics and Tangent Devices took kudos for the design of their exhibits at the IBC’s trade show.