NAB 2016 – Oliver Johnson’s Overview of the week

May 3, 2016   |   Parule

National Association of Broadcasters, Las Vegas April 2016

An entertaining week in Las Vegas at the invitation of the Satellite Industry Group

The inaugural set of satellite specific sessions took place at NAB last week.  Despite being core to the broadcast industry in the US, and worldwide, since the beginning the satellite industry hasn’t traditionally had a presence at the show for the conference segment.

The inaugural sessions focused in particular on the data and broadband elements of broad (and narrow) cast from the skies.  I was pleased to be invited as a result, not least since I hadn’t been to Las Vegas before.

There’s plenty to come from the next generation of satellites about to blast off.  The number of spot beams and how controllable and directional everything is will make for orders of magnitude improvements in the next few years

The biggest news at the show itself this year was probably ATSC3.0 and the upcoming US reverse auction for spectrum.  Both were addressed by Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC at his keynote

Apologies for the photography

nab pic

PILOT – will they lead the industry to the future?

Perhaps the presence most directly related to broadband/internet was NAB Labs becoming PILOT.

“PILOT is designed to create a coalition of broadcasting and technology stakeholders, such as new media broadcasters, measurement and attribution companies, advertising partners and technology enablers. Among other goals, PILOT will drive creation and implementation of new technologies and solutions for the media industry through working groups and committees.

“As the definition of what it means to be a broadcaster broadens, it is critical to work with traditional and new media partners on innovations to better meet the needs of future generations of consumers,” said NAB Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Sam Matheny.

“PILOT will build these partnerships among visionaries who share the goal of tackling the challenges and opportunities facing the broadcast industry in the 21st century. I am especially happy to have John Clark leading this effort and look forward to working with him to build an engaging future.”

Is the broadcast industry looking for a Netflix killer? Who’s to say they won’t find one, it wouldn’t be the first time a seemingly rock solid position and business model was undermined by unforeseen developments.

It’s unlikely though.  There’s still lots of money, future and space left for broadcast and plenty of development in that area to keep anyone busy and well rewarded.

However the goals stated show an awareness of the landscape ten years or so out when spectrum for broadcast will come under pressure worldwide as well as providing some forum to address the broadband opportunities today. They may be worth engaging with by more players from the broadband world.

Lots of kit at a huge show (with killer air-conditioning)

Other than that there were football fields worth of drones.  And more drones and then some drones.  With gimbals.

nab pic 2

Virtual reality was the other noticeable show hot ticket.  Along with ‘OTT’ and ‘end to end IP’ the ‘VR’ acronym was the most noticeable.