Well, NAB 2006 opened yesterday to much hoopla and fanfare. The broadcasters have finally realized that high-definition is an inevitably, and are embracing it. And, not just for Prime Time. HD is everywhere from the North Hall to the Central Hall to the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center. In fact, I even spotted a countdown clock that is winding down the days, hours, minutes and seconds till the cut-off date in February of 2009 for analog signals. It’s an exciting time! I’ve already posted some of the press release announcements on Digital TV DesignLine, and will post more in the coming days and next week. Major CE companies like Panasonic and Sony are here in force with their new HD camcorders, HD studio equipment and cameras, and HD storage solutions. Panasonic, for example, is heavy into P2 technology that’s simply a memory card on steroids holding up to 20-minutes of HD content on a single small memory card – no tape, no disc – just a memory card. Really cool!
At the CBS Engineering breakfast yesterday morning (April 24th), the theme was bringing HD to the news gathering arm of CBS. As it turns out, CBS in NYC has been conducting tests since last year with signal reception and various types of HD camcorders for use in the field as presented by Mr. Robert F. Seidel, Sr. VP CBS Engineering. The presentation went into great length about tests conduced from line-of sight, out-of line-of-sight, and so forth showing that electronic news gathering trucks could easily send signals back to the Empire State Building (where CBS has its HD antenna located in NYC) from more than 35-milles without noticeable signal degradation . If I can get permission from CBS to post the paper I will. Otherwise, I suggest that you contact Mr. Seidel’s office in NYC at CBS headquarters. CBS has signed an agreement with Sony, and hopes that all of its affiliates will purchase Sony equipment.
Microsoft has a major presence at NAB touting Windows Media featuring Microsoft Vista. Microsoft hopes that Vista will be a powerful platform for the creation of audio and video content. The company was quite pleased about receiving industry-wide support of Microsoft’s implementation of SMPTE VC-1 via Windows Media Video (WMV). Microsoft also announced its collaboration with Universal Pictures to release HD DVD titles using VC-1 and iHD, which handles the interactivity aspects of the titles. In fact, Microsoft has dedicated a portion of its both to HD DVD signage and banners along with several demonstrations of this technology. Surprisingly, at the Toshiba booth (in the Center Hall), HD DVD was hidden in the back without any signage or hoopla. Go figure as I certainly can’t.
There were set-top boxes in numerous booths across all three halls from companies like USDTV, Grass Valley (Thomson), LG, Motorola, Scientific Atlanta, and Texas Instruments. One of TI’s partner companies – Media Excel, Inc. announced their new SoftStream IP-STB 3000, which is an H.264/AVC Internet Protocol Set-Top Box based on TI’s TM320DM642 Digital Media Processor, which was quite impressive. Of course, TI was also showing AWOX’s first DMA/Home Media Server reference design based on TI’s DaVinci technology using TI’s TMS320DM644x processor.
More about the show in the next Blog installment later in the week. These are exciting times for Digital TV. So, stay tuned to Digital TV DesignLine for all of the latest news and developments.