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NAB: A day of boxes


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#1 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:03 AM

Has anyone here ever played Bullshit Bingo?

NAB Sunday is traditionally the day of the Boxes Manufacturers - Chyron, Snell, Harris. These people are actually more important than they are interesting, because they make all the high-reliability hardware that actually spouts television channels out, perhaps inserting ads and graphics, and actually lets people watch them, without which there is of course no business. With the best will in the world, though, these are not things which are terribly easy to differentiate, and therefore BS Bingo players will find a very high score amongst press releases promising highly-impactful convergentizing solutiontainment. The only reason I mention the lamentable tendency these companies have to produce ream upon ream of unreadable drivel is that this year the bit they've got between their teeth is something variously described as second screen, multiple distribution, or any other combination of fashionable language. These outfits have for some time been pushing devics that make it easier to publish the same material to, for instance, broadcast, the web, and mobile devices, but now they're actually talking about doing web stuff that actually synchronises with what's going on during a broadcast.

I fear this is actually something that'll work quite well with things like sports, where viewer participation in a parallel internet-based service might do well, displaying viewer comments in the form of twitter posts or allowing viewers to discuss things online. In most circumstances, though, I find myself becoming a bit more of a traditionalist: on one hand it's highly-advanced paradigm-shifting second-screen web enabled entertainment, and on the other hand it's attention deficit disorder. Maybe I'm being a curmudgeon because I find Twitter to be a den of trivial idiocy, but I'm not that sure about a society where people can't even watch a 45-minute TV show without blasting on about it on the internet. And I certainly don't want to be assaulted with a lower third containing the words "BUFY IZ FIT" during a gripping episode of the show about the schoolgirl vampire slayer.

About the only highlight of the day was the last ten minutes of the Panasonic press conference, during which at least nine seconds was spent discussing their new 4K camera (price, spec and availability unknown, although it is intended to use their new AVC Ultra variation on the AVC codec). Sony also announced a high frame rate camera, although the rest of their presentation was so stupefyingly boring it's hard to tell whether the crowd reaction was a gasp of awe, or a mutual exhalation of grief at the discovery that those on stage still weren't going to stop talking.

I shall deal with the Panasonic and Sony news in more detail tomorrow morning, once the effects of all that BS have entirely worn off and I'm able to consider the situation with something approaching rationality.
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#2 Chris Millar

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 12:21 AM

'the team has really done it's homework and stepped up to the plate in facilitating the paradigm shift in leveraging deliverables we're about roll out'
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