IBC2003 Conference and Exhibit Updates

Optimistic IBC

If one had to describe the overall mood at the industry's largest international show, IBC, it might be "optimistic." According to an unofficial survey of both attendees and exhibitors by this editor, business is better both on the broadcast and manufacturer's side.

After two days of visits and interviews, exhibitors tell of increased sales, new products and optimism for more to come. This year's show has a high number of new product introductions, many reflecting the increased marriage of IT and broadcast.

Attendees are here to seek solutions, often keyed to new digital plants and "Greenfield" installations. Technologies showing high interest include automation, post tools, and storage.

Despite claims to the contrary, we seem to be back in the thick of formats, if you can call optical versus solid-state formats.

Panasonic's solid-state storage technology received an enthusiastic endorsement from Thomson with that company's announcement that it would build into Thomson Grass Valley cameras Panasonic's technology. Ikegami also showed products capable of using the Panasonic solid-state storage.

Sony presented its working line of optical storage systems, from camera storage to editing desks.

A quick survey of attendees from the show floor revealed no clear-cut winner. Each approach seems to have supporters. It will be interesting to follow the two company's approach to promoting their formats to users. Woops, I forgot, they are not formats. At least, that's what the manufacturers are saying.

The next round of news will unveil new product sales. From this standpoint, Sony may have the initial upper hand with a line of hardware now ready. However, with 1GB cards now available, albeit expensive, Panasonic may be the turtle in the rabbit versus turtle race.

It's sure to be fun to watch. Stay tuned.