Industry Gears Up for IBC

AMSTERDAM: This year’s IBC convention comes on the cusp of 3DTV migration. U.K. satellite broadcaster BSkyB is set to launch its residential 3D service Oct. 1, just two weeks after the gathering.

The Sunday conference session “What Caught My Eye 3D Special,” with Adam Sculthorp, a stereographer at U.K. production outfit Telegenic. He’ll talk through the enormous range of 3D tools on show this year, highlighting those that he thinks are essential for delegates to see.

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, road shows and master classes to engage with our customers and partners in the future,” said Mark Bainbridge, general manager of 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.

For multinational manufacturers with branches and divisions around the globe, just having staff and customers in a single European base once a year is worth shelling out for a booth, according to Patrick McLean, Avid director of Segment Marketing Post & Broadcast in Tewksbury, 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.

There will be a broad range of Avid solutions on display around this year’s theme of openness, McLean said. 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.

IBC is one of the key ways that it keeps in touch with the market, Miranda’s Neil Sharpe said: “It offers great opportunities to discuss upcoming projects with our clients, and also allows us to widen our contacts.”

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 traveling 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 rack-mounted range. Nicholls said Phabrix’s handheld test-and-measurement gear now has a Dolby E option.

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 will be 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.

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.

Register for IBC at
--by Ann-Marie Corvin for TV Technology