NAB 2017: Change is coming on all fronts


In late April in Las Vegas, the entire digital ecosystem attends the NAB Show. This includes executives from broadcasting, digital media, film, entertainment, sports, telecom, post-production, educational facilities, advertising, military, government, retail, VR and AR and many other expanding sectors.

According to the latest research released at the show, the broadcast and media market is currently worth just over US$50 billion a year. The new report from IABM DC, the joint venture between the IABM and Devoncroft Partners, found that 55% of broadcast and media companies are pushing 4K and Ultra HD while a further 35% have no plans to introduce it. Technology is emerging as a key concern though the industry with 95% of media companies seeing interoperability between software systems as critical for the future.

The transition to IP is uppermost in the minds of all media companies.

Significantly, 67% of end users are currently unaware of the initiatives surrounding interoperability. According to the IABM end-user research, 85% of media businesses are likely to use the cloud in the next two or three years, with 28% already using it. While this marks a decisive push towards IP transition, 75% also considered cyber security as a critical issue. Moving content on to accessible networks is seen as a major danger: the resistance to change can be summed up in the familiar refrain that “no-one ever hacked SDI”.

Also at this year’s conference, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai used his keynote address to argue that many of the FCC’s existing media regulations were outdated and not matching market evolution.

The FCC is going to launch a “comprehensive review” of existing media regulations at its next public meeting on May 18. “The last thing that broadcasting needs is outdated rules standing in its way,” said Pai.

Meanwhile, at the NAB Future of Cinema Summit, Artificial intelligence emerged as a key driver in areas such as virtual reality and gaming.

There was also discussion about the promise and technical hurdles of HDR (high dynamic range) imagery, meaning a wider range between the whitest whites and blackest blacks. This has already rolled out on a limited number of cinema screens, as well as through support from major TV set makers.

"Filmmakers are really starting to explore what's possible in HDR. It's getting pretty exciting," said Sony CTO Don Eklund. “The bad news is the ecosystem that has developed around the consumer displays is pretty uneven," he added.


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