Broadcast industry set to descend on Las Vegas

Signs of spring are everywhere. The calendar has turned to March, Major League Baseball’s spring training has begun in Arizona and Florida and temperatures are edging higher by the day.

But, for the broadcast industry, there is no surer sign of spring than the realization that this year’s NAB Show is just around the corner. Yes, it’s time for stragglers (like me) to book flights and hotels, and prepare for the world’s biggest trade show for broadcasters.

As always, NAB will occupy the Las Vegas Convention Center. This year’s dates are Apr. 14-19, with the exhibits opening on the Apr. 16. While seasoned veterans surely know their “must see” destinations, here are a few highlights that are worth considering in your scheduling.

ATSC Tech Zone – Located in the North Hall (N4036), this exhibit is dedicated to new and emerging ATSC standards. Technologies featured include Audio Loudness, Non-Real Time, ATSC 2.0 and 3.0, Mobile DTV and broadcast 3DTV.

StartUp Loft – For those specifically interested in spotting the next big thing, this attraction in the South Hall lobby is well worth a stop. The StartUp Loft features products and services that have just hit the market from a wide range of creative, entrepreneurial firms.

Technology Pavilions – As always, NAB has created targeted pavilions to address specific product and application needs. This approach is critical at a show as large as NAB, where wasted steps mean wasted time. This year, there are new technology pavilions covering Cloud Computing, Mobile DTV and Apps.

To navigate the LVCC efficiently, it’s critical to identify the product categories that interest you most, and to see them all while in the appropriate hall. While there are exceptions to every rule, here’s a quick thumbnail of where the major product areas can be found:

North Hall — Management systems

Central Hall — Acquisition/Production, Pro Audio, Radio
North Hall (upper level) — Distribution & Delivery, Online Video,Content Market
North Hall (lower level) — Post Production, Display Systems
Outdoor/Mobile Media will be located in the space between the Central and South Halls.

The National Association of Broadcasters is expecting over 1,600 exhibitors, including 520 from outside the U.S. and nearly 200 first-time participants. That translates to over 750,000 square feet of exhibit space — roughly 14 fully packed football fields. Needless to say, this is not a one-day show. I strongly recommend some advance planning, which is actually pretty easily accomplished at Oh, and bring your walking shoes!