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Narrowcasters join broadcasters in Las Vegas at NAB2004

Between the gambling, the shows, the celebrities, and the fine dining, Las Vegas never lacks for entertainment. However, this week thousands of visiting broadcasters, digital equipment manufacturers, streaming media experts, graphic artists and business types looking to take advantage of digital signage technology in their operations may not get to see much of it.

Inscriber’s latest InfoCaster system is one of numerous digital signage-related technologies being showing at NAB2004, the leading show for technology catering to broadcasters – and increasingly, narrowcasters. The show kicks off Saturday, April 17, in Las Vegas. Click here to view an enlarged diagram.

NAB2004, the premier event for the broadcast media, kicks off this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show will feature several major conferences and keynotes, more than 1200 cutting-edge exhibitors, and dozens of high-profile networking events. This year, many of these activities will be focused on or useful to the digital signage industry.

At a time when revenues for 10-inch and larger LCDs rose 25 percent quarter-over- quarter (Q/Q) and 101 percent year-over-year (Y/Y) in Q4'03 to a record $8.6 billion, according to analyst group iSuppli/Stanford Resources, digital display-related products are getting a bigger stage at NAB. This not only acknowledges the industry’s early success; it is a reflection of the greater expectations in the near future. LCD monitor module shipments are expected to continue to increase in the next quarter, up seven percent Q/Q and 44 percent Y/Y to a total of 16.3 million units. The flat-panel display market – which includes digital signage as well as computing and other applications – is expected to grow at a 17 percent compounded annual growth rate from 2003 to 2008, reaching a peak of $95 billion in annual sales.

NAB’S New Media Professionals Conference series will have several panels and sessions relevant to those exploring how to deploy cutting-edge digital signage technology in their business. One of these sessions is the “Next Generation Advertising” panel, which will concentrate on how to maximize sponsorship, “advertainment,” product placement and direct marketing efforts electronically with digital displays, video-on-demand, PVRs, DVDs and similar technologies. The session will open with successful marketing case studies to give hard demonstrations of the creativity digital displays offered in delivery of marketing messages. A diverse discussion panel includes Phil Beniert, CRM & e-business manager at Volvo Cars; William Corbin, vice president, interactive production, A&E Television Networks; Ross Levinsohn, senior vice president/general manager,; and Olivier Gers, senior vice president, FremantleMedia Licensing.

Another part of the New Media Professionals Conference is Monday's “New Media Visions for the Future” series. This group of three panel discussions will feature executives from Cisco, HP, The Walt Disney Company, and Sony, among others, and will be hosted by Brian Coolley, editor-at-large for CNET Networks. The session will examine digital distribution and ways to deliver a broad level of interactivity of text, video, still pictures and sound. The panel will explore how consumers may react to uses of this kind of technology and demonstrate some of the ways businesses can deploy it.

NAB will also showcase exhibitors utilizing MXF (Media eXchange Format), the new technology standard for transporting television signals as files through an IT infrastructure.

“MXF will [eventually] be used by anybody in the broadcast or content creation industry,” said Bruce Devlin, principal research and innovation engineer at NAB exhibitor Snell & Wilcox. “If you like, you can make an MXF file as easily as you can make a [Microsoft] Word document.”

When “work” is over, NAB will roll the digital revolution into a “DTV Drafthouse” where you can enjoy a pint, as well as into a Digital Media theater and an Interactive Television Pavilion for further mixing of business and pleasure.

And if all else fails, there’s always the craps tables.

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