A look back at NAB 2012
What an incredible NAB this year.
My first NAB was the last time the show was held in Dallas (what year was that? Must be over 20 years ago) and this was the busiest NAB I have ever attended. Not from the point of view of the number of people cramming the aisles, but from the level of activity and business.
There were some interesting new trends and products on show, but the key takeaways from NAB for me were the following:
- Despite industry surveys to the contrary, all the vendors I spoke with are seeing reasonable growth in the technology sector within broadcast. There is a degree of well-founded optimism in the industry again (except at Avid, where doom and gloom prevail).
- 3D was much less evident than in previous years. It is my belief that the technology industry (particularly the set manufacturers) tried to create demand within the production community, and the producers and broadcasters have now found that there is a tricky business case for 3D. Interestingly, Sony were showing a prototype glasses-free 3D set, and whilst the 3D image was effective, it was difficult to watch without feeling dizzy.
- 4k is making more of an impact in sports for acquisition, as it provides the director with options for subsequent pan, zoom and crop for use in highlight packages. However, 4k through the production and distribution chain is a long way off.
- There are still too many vendors chasing too little business. There were 1500+ exhibitor at NAB and this is about 4-500 too many for the industry to comfortably sustain. It’s always great to see small, innovators, but does the world really need another DA? There will be a great deal of consolidation over the next 3 years, and a number of large companies exiting the sector (e.g. Harris?).
- Apple’s absence from the show floor was perhaps no real surprise given their shenanigans over Final Cut 10, and perhaps this sent a message to the industry that they are really not interested in broadcast and professional production. I know from conversations that I have had recently that many CTOs have removed Apple’s Final Cut from their roadmaps.
- Some companies considered as providing equipment at the ‘value end’ of the industry are becoming much more mainstream. Blackmagic Design introduced a 2.5k camera body for under $3000, and it generated a real stir. Not yet a significant threat to Sony, Ikegami, Red, etc, but that’s their direction of travel. Also, For-A have really upped their game and their switcher line is looking much more attractive to broadcasters who would previously have bought Sony or GV.
Big companies, look out below! They are coming to get you.