AMSTERDAM The annual IBC show finished up in Amsterdam last month with a record-setting number of attendees who browsed the aisles of exhibits and took in numerous conferences showcasing technologies in 3D, mobile TV, HDTV, IPTV and digital cinema.
Newtec showed its version of "not so mobile TV" in the IBC exhibit floor. More than 49,250 visitors had passed through the gates of the RAI conference centre by the time the six-day event wrapped up on Sept. 16, a 5 percent increase over 2007, according to conference organizers. When the show began, the world's financial outlook was fragile but steady; however, it was a vastly different and more ominous marketplace by the time they headed out of the Netherlands.
Nevertheless, while exhibitors and delegates to the show carefully monitored the fast-changing economic news, they celebrated and debated the opportunities that are revolutionizing the worlds of television, broadband and film.
Some broadcast executives came out swinging at Internet companies that are often seen as a threat to the traditional broadcast model. In a keynote address at the beginning of the show, Michael Grade, executive chairman of the ITV public service broadcast in the United Kingdom, characterized Google and its YouTube subsidiary as "parasites."
"The day they start spending one billion pounds a year on content is the day I'll start worrying," Grade said.
A WORLD FIRST
3D played a prominent role at the show, which marked a technology first when it aired an interview with Dreamworks SKG CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg in the world's first live 3D transatlantic transmission. The interview was photographed on multicamera stereoscopic equipment from 3Ality Digital and packaged for delivery by satellite service company Arqiva to Amsterdam. The interview was highlighted by Katzenberg's acceptance of the 2008 IBC International Honour for Excellence, the show's highest recognition.
IBC 2008 TV Technology Europe STAR Award Winners
16x9 Inc. (in the BandPro stand)
Shut-eye for Sony viewfinders
Algogear image processing line
LED backlighting in prompters
BU 50H and 45H remote pan tilts
OGCP-9000 Remote Control Panel for openGear
TouchStream portable streaming
XT2Web access for remote production
Graham-Patten (in the Argosy stand)
Sonarae audio monitoring
Protean Axiom 3 Gig Test Signal Generator
MD-MAX Integrated 3.2 Tbps Transport and Switching Solution
XVP-3901 3Gbps/HD/SD Universal Video & Audio Processor
Messenger IP File Transfer System
1080p 24 playout
AG-HMC151E AVCHD camcorder
DVStor with Disaster Recovery
SIP 2100 3D
Edit Set HD, with Editware edit controller and Renegade Audio mixer contributing
HVR-Z5E camcorder with MRC1
IO sharing between consoles
LDK 8300 HD SloMo
Copperhead Platform for Infinity
Katzenberg emphasized the importance Hollywood is placing on 3D, predicting that all future Dreamworks SKG films would be produced in the format. He also noted that his company is working with Luxxotica, the world's largest eyeglass company and Oakley, a sunglasses company whose founder developed the RED ONE camera, to develop "transition" lenses that would allow sunglasses to be used for 3D as well.
The show also honored 3D when it awarded the top prize at the IBC Innovation Awards to Disney's "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert."
The next generation of HDTV was highlighted by the return of NHK's Super Hi-Vision demonstration, which attracted long queues at its theatre during its five-day showing. Super Hi-Vision provides 7680 pixels on 4320 lines and was accompanied by an immersive 22.2 channel surround sound system. This year, the ultra-high resolution pictures were shown from a local source as well as from a live camera via fibre in London and from a server in Torino, Italy, using two satellite transponders.
The mood on the show floor was generally upbeat. Numerous "zones" defined by technology themes, such as mobile TV and IPTV, were popular destinations.
With the Beijing Games wrapping up less than a month before the show, the world's largest-ever broadcast event was on the minds of many.
More than 50 Thomson Grass Valley LDK 8300 cameras were in action every day at the Olympics, according to Jeff Rosica, senior vice president for Thomson Grass Valley. In total, more than 500 pieces of Thomson professional broadcast gear, from cameras to switchers, were used to cover the event.
An important feature of some of those LDK 8300s used at the Olympics, Rosica noted, included a new Super SloMo, based on Thomson's new AnyLight flicker reduction technology.
"The 8300 is a newly designed cmaera system that captures full resolution HD images natively in multiple formats and multiple frame rates," Rosica said. "It has brought uncompromised 3x super slow motion to HD for the first time and that was obvious at the Olympics."
JVC emerged from its majority ownership from Panasonic by announcing that it would support the rival to Panasonic's P2 tapeless format, Sony's XDCAM EX MPEG-2 professional video file format and SxS (S-By-S) solid state flash memory cards. The KA-MR100G docking media recorder, which also attaches to the JVC ProHD GY-200/250 series cameras. will be the first product in the line, available by March 2009.
The company noted, however, that it would continue to emphasize its development and support of the HDV tape standard. While it continued to shun the formal show floor booth format, Panasonic's presence was felt in many areas of the show as the company showcased the widespread use of its AVC-Intra format—particularly as the official broadcast equipment supplier of the Beijing Olympics—and set up shop immediately outside the NHK Super Hi-Vision theatre, highlighting its digital cinema technology.
Avid, another company that had been absent from the exhibit floor for several years, made sure it didn't do a trade show no-show two-fer in 2008 by hosting a small but crowded booth on the IBC show floor. New Avid executives, who continued to tout the company's emphasis on improved customer relations, were mum on whether they would return to the NAB Show in 2009, but added that the decision to skip this year's Vegas extravaganza was made by former executives no longer in charge.
The show also illustrated how IT technology is contributing to the demise of proprietary systems. This effect is now reaching down into traditional hardware-based technologies for broadcast, such as intercom systems.
For example, Clear-com continued its push towards IP with the introduction of its Eclipse V-Series user control panels, which allow users to connect the control panels to the Eclipse Matrix frame over their existing WAN or LAN Ethernet cabling infrastructure. This integration illustrates how IP connectivity is revolutionizing the world of intercoms, according to Clear-Com Managing Director Matt Danilowicz.
"Intercoms, audio and video routing—that's the last bastion of proprietary hardware [in this industry]," Danilowicz said. "We're proving that even these technologies are all going towards a standard IT-based world."
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Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.