As they head to the National Association of
Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas next month, top engineers from
station groups are looking for technology that matches the new economic
realities of the broadcast business. The days of buying expensive studio
cameras and proprietary editing and storage systems are over, they say.
As groups consider how to complete upgrades of their news operations
from standard-definition to high-definition production, they are
increasingly looking for IT-based, non-proprietary solutions.
groups are also looking for efficiencies in graphics and master control.
Some now have centralized approaches that hub most functions at one or
two stations, and others are thinking about outsourcing master-control
Top of mind for everyone is the threat to broadcasters'
spectrum that the FCC's broadband plan represents. At NAB, several
groups will help promote new mobile DTV technology as the most efficient
way to deliver video to cellphones and other portable devices. Mobile
DTV insiders suggest that several groups could announce business deals
with wireless carriers, a crucial step to commercializing the
Click here to read what Gray, Belo, ABC and Scripps are in the market for.
The big thing at this year's National Association
of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas:
3D technology. The need to go 3D was
amped up by the stunning success of James
Cameron's film Avatar, which used stereoscopic
3D effects to create a highly immersive
film experience. Just after Avatar
reaped huge box-office dollars over the holidays, ESPN
and Discovery, in partnership with Sony and IMAX,
showed up at CES in January and announced they were
working on two new 3D networks.
Offering 3D will take plenty of
new equipment and
technology, both of which will be a focus for networks
at this year's NAB. The convention is lending a hand by
providing its Content Theater for the third year. There,
creators will talk about designing stereoscopic 3D effects
in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and DreamWorks'
How to Train Your Dragon, while ESPN will host its own
session on how to produce sports content in 3D.
networks have plenty of other needs, from
the mundane-automated quality control equipment and
cheap storage-to high-end and customized gear.
NAB runs from
April 10 to 15, but networks are making
their plans for the show now. Says Bob Zitter, HBO's
chief technology offi cer: "Typically, we have pre-NAB
meetings with major suppliers so that by the time we're
at NAB, we're only looking at items we've already been
turned on to."