Perspective on Nab 13

April 2013

Perspective on NAB 13

The National Association of Broadcasters (“NAB”) 2013 conference has come to a close, but the discussion of what was seen and perhaps not seen will continue for some time.

With more than 92,000 of our closest friends in attendance, the importance of this conference to businesses all along the content production and distribution value chain around the world is evident.

Indeed, the conference is about far more than just broadcast as the products and services exhibited on the show floor and the wide range of conferences and educational seminars taking place seemed to exemplify the metamorphosis that is occurring today in the development, production and dissemination of content of all kinds on a global level.  In many respects, this is an extension of what CES is about, but on more of a B to B level.

Metamorphosis, this year’s official theme, is several steps beyond the NAB 12 theme of the great content shift, as the industry continues rapidly on its maturation curve as it relates to the world of digital.

In years past, we have provided general observations of the conference in a post NAB newsletter.  But, just as noted in Perspective on CES, we have decided to devote a newsletter to the conference.

As with most major shows, it is impossible to see all of what is presented, so we are reporting our views on select topics.  These include 4K aka UHD, cameras, second screens, autostereo, brighter projection and large LED displays.

4K aka UHD – Ultra high definition is the new official term for 4K, although both were used extensively and sometimes independently throughout NAB.  In fact, it seemed that UHD was everywhere as businesses of all kinds on the value chain are developing product and service tracks within existing businesses to offer 4K products and services, from image capture to the cloud.

Although some workflow functions are not yet evident, such as 4K professional displays, as we learned from several of our knowledgeable sources, expect more pipeline solutions to come on stream as the format develops.

With a penetration rate of approximately 75% of US TV households having a flat panel HDTV and slightly more than half having more than one, the replacement cycle should cross the 4K value chain as content developers head toward UHD as a means of future proofing their content.  This will become especially important for feature films, broadcast and the various over the top services.

Cameras – 4K was certainly prevalent from the many camera manufacturers exhibiting at NAB this year.  Blackmagic Design, For-A, Canon, Vision Research and Sony were notable for both range of product and features.

Perhaps the most unique camera, though, was the Pivothead 8MP camera that is built into a pair of glasses with the lens located at the bridge and the electronics on the side pieces.  While there were other small camera systems, such as those from Go Pro and Panasonic’s helmet camera, the Pivothead was the most unique that we saw.  At some point, this may tie together nicely with Google Glasses or a similar product.  For now, it can be used for a first person perspective in image capture.

The Sony F-65 with both 4K and 8K capabilities has been around for a while, and it seems that the F-55 is now coming to market.  Blackmagic featured its cinema 4K camera as well as a pocket cinema camera.  For–A was noteworthy for its FT-ONE, but it was the ultra high sensitivity camera that operates in very low light, with an emphasis on the “very,” that set the company apart from the rest.

The ability of the Vision Research Phantom Flex4K camera to record at up to 1,000 FPS is also noteworthy for a variety of reasons including its support for high frame rate movie projects and for visual effects work.

Second screens –I moderated a panel at Second Screen Sunday entitled There is an App for that….Or is There?  The consensus is yes.  The focus of the panel was “special purpose” or “multi-function” apps and what the right second screen strategy is, if there is even a one size fits all point of view.

The second screen concept was very prevalent on the show floor from the several companies that provide dynamic ad insertion, server technology, automated content recognition (ACR) and various tracking technologies related to social media.

This technology and the use of second screens is in its infancy in terms of its development cycle, but there is no question that the concept will continue to evolve, its definition even changing perhaps, and it will grow in popularity and in penetration in the coming years, making interactive advertising and social TV an important business.

Autostereo – There was a noticeable lack of 3D on the show floor after many years of being high profile,  3D appears to have leveled off and while still important, is not on the trajectory of even a few years ago.

The Dimenco display, seen at the Dolby booth, continues to be the best autostereo display.  As noted in Perspective on CES, we expect autostereo to be even more prevalent next year from a variety of manufacturers.

Brighter projection – The week before NAB I attended the Christie demonstration of its laser projection system, a technology that brings brighter images to the screen, with an emphasis on 3D.  At that event, Christie presented demos of content at both 3 & 14 foot lamberts.  The extra detail was significant in the latter as would be expected.  At NAB 13, Christie presented content again at 3 & 14 FL, but this time it was on a traditional digital projector and the images were presented side by side, enabling even the untrained eye to see a major distinction between the two.

Brightness at the movie theater is critical if theaters are going to remain competitive as it relates to picture quality which continues to improve rapidly for home viewing.  We have not seen the Imax supported Laser Light Engine System yet, but look forward to an opportunity to do so when the product is ready for launch.

Large LED displays – A premise we presented in Futuring High Framerates and again in Perspective on CES, was that in time, 5, 8 or 10 years hence, a large 40, 50 or 100 foot display would be available at a reasonable price and that display might replace digital cinema projection systems in theaters.

While the laser projection technology may be disruptive, still to be determined, one of the best very large LED displays at NAB was from Leyard Optoelectronic Co.  Walking through the exhibit hall, we were drawn to the Ultra HD LED Video Wall due to its size and the quality of its image.  Its seamless design makes this product a contender for future displays in arenas, major attractions and in time at the local theater.

Several other manufacturers had LED displays and most were compelling from both an image quality perspective and that of size and shape of the display itself.

As for The Shindler Perspective

Intel Studio Xperience™ – I was honored to be interviewed by Steve Waskul of Waskul on Tech and Waskul Entertainment as a part of the Intel Studio Xperience™ at NAB 13.  We discussed my views of what was exhibited on the show floor as well as my perspective on business issues in creative and technology companies.

Digital Hollywood – Once again, I will be moderating two panel discussions at Digital Hollywood Spring.  The first, on April 30, 2013 is on Cross Platform Content and panelists include notable Wall St. analysts.  The second panel on the same day is very relevant in today’s world of content production and is entitled The Blockbuster Strategy – Hollywood’s Billion Dollar Creative Edge – The Making of an Entertainment Franchise.  Panelists are from leading companies on the blockbuster value chain such as AMC Theatres, Sony Pictures, Imax and The Third Floor.

Amplify Roundtables UTA – On May 1, 2013, I will be returning to the Amplify Roundtables Leading Edge Technology Series event hosted by United Talent Agency to moderate a panel, entitled Monetizing Web Content, a hot topic and one of concern to a broad range of companies.

This panel is a follow up to the Hollywood Today — Hollywood Tomorrow? event also produced by Amplify Roundtables and hosted by United Talent Agency.

Second Screen Sunday – Once again MESA, the Media & Entertainment Service Association in conjunction with the 2nd Screen Society put on a great event on the day before the NAB Conference.  I moderated There is an App for That…Or is There? with panelists from Blu Focus, Civolution, Magic Ruby, mPortal and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  In case you were wondering, the answer is yes.

Check speaking engagements on our website as well as my Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIN posts for announcement of future engagements.

Trends in the Marketplace and Other

Trends in the marketplace – The prevalence of Smartphones in the US and in most developed countries is the topic of IDC’s Smartphones To Dominate Global Cellular Shipments In 2013, with China leading the global market through 2017 and with the US in position #2.

Never Looking Back – Electronic payments through credit and debit cards are soon to be dominant through Smartphones, Square and other mobile based technologies that have taken their toll on the cash register as it rings its last sale.

Comics reflect reality – Companies who do not track the changes in the demographics of their customers, their supply chain and the marketplace as a whole are doomed for failure as depicted in this comic.

Binge viewing has been a topic of discussion at several of my recent panels, based in part on the Netflix release of all episodes of House of Cards at one time.  The concept of binge communications is addressed in this comic that reflects reality.  I suspect that you know at least one person who fits that description.

Please feel free to send your feedback on what you read here, pro or con or other matters of interest to you.

For The Shindler Perspective, Inc.



Marty Shindler

Chief Executive Officer


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