Sunday, April 20, 2008

Play with Me? Widgets, Gadgets, Video, NAB

You might be wondering why I posted a widget that said play with me earlier on this blog.
It was a cat. I could have just as easily posted a video, as others have posted video here in the last week.

How did I do that? Did I have to log into the blog software to post my virtual pet or a video? No. I never went to this blog administrative page to post the pet. I found the pet on another website and sent it here. (I was testing a website by IAC, when I ran across the pet widget.) I clicked on "add pet" to my blog (along with my login and password) and it was already posted. Look at the previous blog entries for the cat.

The ease of use to distribute audio and video on the Internet and portable devices is maturing. If you can send a virtual pet, you can send video anywhere.

No, it's not all simple or reliable. The problem is usually the creator of the "distribution" device or widget (gadget, or "app" application) hasn't made it easy for "us" to put up video on multiple websites, blogs or on portable media devices.

Hang on, last I looked I found 900 video widgets or gadgets on Facebook, a popular social networking website. Last I played with them, many were one click distribution networks in their own right! Presto, I put up a Live TV channel on my Facebook profile page. ( A profile page is akin to your own personal home page or personal website. The social networking websites provide tools to let you connect and add things in a very easy manner. That's the short definition. You need to join a social network with video to understand this.)

Why are some of these things not working?

It might be a media company or content producer that didn't think through all the details about how they would distribute the files across the Internet. (That's a job for companies at the show like Akamai, Limelight, etc, called CDN's or Content Distribution Networks. On a smaller scale, you need a computer and an Internet connection.)

What does this have to do with the NAB?

At the NAB SuperSession on Social Networking, we got a glimpse of mashups and how content is coming together and getting distributed on the Internet. (I do have a list of the three favorite social networking sites from each panelist which I will post.)

Social Networking websites are not just for sending notes, emails, or exchanging photos or resumes. They are video distribution networks, so to speak, but video distribution is promoted or discovered on individual profile pages in a social network.

Are you confused? About half the people reading this blog might be. More than half of you may not have watched video on a social network. You might not be a member of a social network where video is just part of the social network experience.

Some discover videos on profile pages, others discover it on widgets, gadgets which are portable applications. Let's say I find a channel I love from Norway. In a second, I can click on "add Norway Channel", and viola, it's on my profile page. Guess what, my friends who follow me might note that I added the "Norway Channel" and they watch too.

In the meantime, if these widgets or gadgets sound greek to you, you're not alone. If social networking sites don't interest you, you're not alone. It might not interest you, but darn it, it's part of your broadcast life and there's no way to get around learning about it to stay ahead.

Folks are finding video on the Net on the profile pages of others who are on a social network or by recommendations from friends. A Facebook executive told me that 70% of the folks on Facebook discover video from another Facebook member on their profile page.

If you want an example, review the website from the CEO/Founder Dmitry Shapiro who was on the panel with me. His url is You can also connect to me at Facebook, I have a few video widgets and gadgets on my profile face.

Still confused about widgets, gadgets, applications, video aggregation sites, content distribution networks, blog video, blog audio, social networking video, that's okay.

I am confused too. The social networking video gurus you met at the NAB are confused too. (They may not admit it!) They may see a path to the future of video, but they can't give you a map.

The way the world is discovering video is changing daily, and with that media companies are changing too, and so are you and I.

It all boils down to providing content to listeners and viewers the way they want it, where they want it.

That's pretty simple to understand, and if you understand that, you can call yourself a video social networking guru too.

See you on the Net

Peggy Miles

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

“Where content comes to life” is the NAB trademarked angle on this year’s show. NAB also presents the vision of moving from “broadcasting to broader-casting.” What does that mean? I have my take on this. To me it means broadcast execs need to have a broader view of what business they are in and what they need to do to compete successfully into the future.

David Rehr asserted that the “broadcast model is not dead.” Next generation broadcast executives like ION Media’s Brandon Burgess are taking up the charges both industry and corporate leadership to help make this so. On my Super Session panel (“New Devices, New Opportunities”), Brandon asserted that if broadcasters are reliant primarily on the traditional advertising supported broadcast business model, they will not be maximizing their opportunities in a fast changing digital media world. He contrasted the slow-paced, bureaucratic culture of the broadcast industry balancing fiduciary obligations to share holders to manage risk with the highly innovative and trend shaping technology-based entrepreneurial companies. His implicit conclusion is that the competitive battle is as much between clashing corporate cultures and affinity for risk and innovation as it is with between digital and traditional media technologies.

The NAB’s “broader-casting” mind bent is a step in the direction of taking broadcasters’ collective and trying to lead them into the land of the paradigm shift. Broadcasters are making moves, but these are not necessarily being executed against some grand, integrated and insightful strategy. Instead, it seems like the industry is moving more in a series of one-off tactical moves. Walking the show floor, peaking into some of the sessions and reading the company names on attendee badges all makes you realize that broadcasting has already become not only broader casting but a slow moving eddy in a fast paced river of change.

Industry leaders like NAB’s David Rehr are committed to creating possibilities for broadcasters. Next generation broadcast industry execs like ION Media's Brandon Burgess speak to a broader vision at the industry level but also set an important example by walking the walk at their own companies. Broadcasters, as noted in another post (see, have significant advantages in a world where content comes to life and the goal is broadercasting. But turning those advantages into business success requires excellent strategy and both well timed and executed tactical implementation.

Is this industry up for it? Part of the success formula will involve recognizing how the “broader” audience is changing (again see my BIA post) and strategizing on how broadcasters keep their advantages relevant. This year's NAB Show advanced the ball by presenting some key sessions, new speakers and again showing the reality of changing and converging industries on the show floor. I overhead two young tech professionals on the exhibit floor talking. One said to the other, "You know, this show is really the place to be to see not only the moving parts but understand how it's all got to come together." Fair enough. And no time to waste!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Attendee NAB Secret! Thursday is the best day to go exhibit hopping!

Thursday is a great day to find a little time to drop by exhibits and catch up with people that were busy earlier in the week.

It's the best day to go booth hopping. It's usually a little slower as some folks have to leave the floor to check out of their hotel or make travel arrangements. Other may have decided that's today's the day to play a round of golf!

Even though everybody is a little tired, it works out great. Many attendees hit the most popular booths early in the week and they won't be as busy today.

Thursday. It's one of my best days!


Video Interview – Gary Adcock and the AJA IO HD

Richard Harrington, author of Producing Video Podcasts looks at the AJA IO HD.

VIdeo Interview – The Litepanels Micro

Mark Weiser, author of Producing Video Podcasts looks at the popular Litepanels LED lights which get scaled down in size and cost for lightweight shooters.

Thursday@NAB08- Time to Go Home

Aw!-- I have an afternoon flight and now back at the hotel packing.  Our last supper was at an old favorite when we visit Vegas-- Pamplemousse Restaurant  just off the strip at 400 E Sahara Ave.  Why this french restaurant is named after a grapefruit is beyond me since there is nothing on the menu to suggest this.  We have been coming here for the last 12 years and the original chef owner turned over the kitchen to a new partner last August and we wanted to give it a spin.  We were not disappointed to find the best of the rest and some new creations to sample.  Lunch was at the restaurant 106 stories high at the top of the tower on The Stratosphere.  I think it is so named for the high prices rather than the altitude but in fact prices at lunch time are much lower and I enjoy the daylight view from 1000 feet up.  By the way-- this is a rotating restaurant so there is no bad seat and you get a 360 degree view.

As I change hats from blog contributor to blog reader (I don't want to miss any last day activities), I want reflect on the show.  As the theme this year indicates it is all about the content for sure but there is more to content then creation.  A big common theme on the show floor and the sessions was asset management especially as it relates to transformation of linear tape archives to file based online and near-online storage.  New assets are much less of a problem but even here if care is not taken to associate rich meta-data you will not be able to easily find the content when you need it.  

Another aspect of  content is delivery, and although 85% of US households have a multi-channel provider such as cable or DTH satellite, there are some 70 million primary and secondary OTA sets suggesting that 70% of the about 100 million households are have a vested interest in OTA reception.  The DTV transition will leave some unknown number of these 70 million sets unusable unless they connect to cable, satellite, or get a converter box and suitable antenna.  It is the suitable antenna part that worries me-- my own experience is that my secondary sets with monopole built in antennas are perfectly suitable across all the local Vs and Us but with a converter box I can only get the Vs.  Some research suggests my experience is not unique so it may represent a good opportunity for secondary outlet sales to existing cable and DBS subscribers and lots of angry calls to Congress from the OTA only households who don't want to invest in an expensive outdoor antenna installation.

The last observation with respect to content delivery is energizing OTA for delivery to non-traditional delivery platforms-- especially mobile platforms such as cellphones.  With an estimated 270 million cellphones in use, even a small fraction energized for OTA delivery will vastly increase the eyeballs and the advertising revenue linked to viewership.  In my opinion, a real sleeper however is not just the advertising revenue increase, but the additional revenue that can be unlocked from transactions via the cellco's IP back channel.  I see the ability of OTA broadcasters to share in a percentage share of the payments and also transaction fees associated with video commerce.  There is also of course the ability of OTA broadcasters to offer unique interactive content that increases the audience share and the local nature of OTA gives some special competitive advantage to network based interactive content.

Bye-Bye-  Vegus until CES at least,


Wed Lunch Presentation by Ira Flatow

Wed Lunch Presentation by Ira Flatow Host and Executive Producer Talk of the Nation: Science Friday.

Wow, the week is going by fast-- so many restaurants, so little time.  But I will give up an excursion into the world of Las Vegas cuisine to trek to the LV Hilton Barron Room for the Technology Lunch.  The keynote is being given by Science Friday's Ira Flatow and this is another don't miss NAB08 event for me.

I work from home so when I am not on the phone I am listening to radio about 12 hours/day and I don't ever miss this show.  Not only do I enjoy the content but as a guest on the show in '98, it gave me by one and only on-air radio Andy Warhol famous for 30 second opportunity (notice I did not get invited back).  Check it out from the NPR archives, it is the show guest hosted by Paul Raeburn starts about Vampires but keep listening.

     Abstract at
     Real Audio Archive at

The fact that this audio is still online since 1998 is a story in itself, but back to the Wed Lunch.  I had a nice discussion with others I met for the first time at my table.  We talked about the chicken and egg  problem in getting HD Radio to take off.  The problem- people can not hear it it they don't have an HD radio and if there is no ability to sample the content, it is difficult to generate demand to purchase.  I learned that stations are doing some promotion on their main channel and in some cases directing people to web streaming of the HD content.  Of course down the road, auto OEMs will include HD in the radios and that will drive awareness and then demand.  I was surprised to discover that stations do not provide program guide of the HD channels on RDS since so many FM receivers can not display RDS text.

Samsung was the sponsor of the lunch so in the pre-IRA remarks we got a short list of new technologies to remind us we were at the Technology Luncheon:  HD Radio, the DTV Transistion, and A-VSB.  It was not lost on us that the last item was called A-VSB instead of mobile video-- but hey!-- Samsung paid for the venue.  I do have prediction however:  from a commercial success point of view it will not matter much it the anointed mobile video standard becomes Samsung's A-VSB or LG's MPH or some other variant.  If history serves, the real money will be made on licensing of patents that you can bet both sides have in progress that you will need from multiple parties to go to market.

Finally time for Ira.  He introduced himself as the guy who runs a Friday NPR show with the goal of making science and technology a topic for ordinary dinner conversation.  His address was titled: "Funny You Don't Look Like an Avatar".  He got a good back to the future laugh by putting a photo of a 1946 RCA TV with a tiny noisy low res picture followed quickly by a widescreen video iPOD.  He made the point that now that Broadcasting has progressed to HD, we are about to move back to the stage of tiny low res screens with low frame rates and uncertain coverage.

The focus of Ira's talk however was on virtual reality worlds such as 2nd Life.  It was a wake up call to remind us that the minute we think we understand where media is going, something new comes along that can we a threat if you ignore it or an opportunity if you embrace it and take control.

Although Science Friday already augments the radio show with a website and has videos, consistent with someone following the the leading edge of technology, he wanted to consider what might be beyond web based augmentation of the show.  So Science Friday is experimenting with an Ira avatar in the 2nd Life that is active during the broadcast of his live radio show.  The other listeners who are online during the show arrive in the 2nd Life Science Friday theater during the show and interact by texting messages real time to the show producers who filter them for Ira.  He is trying an additional experiment where to encourage the members of his 2nd Life audience to also interact by audio with mixed success.  It seems they really want to get their 2nd Life private and not take a chance their voice will give away their real identity.

Science Friday is in good company on 2nd Life, his neighborhood includes NASA and a university among other serious institutions.  It seems they all want to experiment with new media encounters.  A clue as to what might be driving interest by institutions is a realization that they need to grab the attention of the next generation by appealing to today's kids and teens if they want to hold onto them when they become adults.

In addition to Ira's overview of 2nd Life, he mentioned initiatives by Disney with "Club Penguin" and activities by Nickelodeon in a VR world.  I don't recall the source of a forecast but he mentioned an expectation that by 2011 half of all teens will have experience with VR world participation.

Ira closed with some food for thought-- he posed the question what will happen to those kids who live an increasing large proportion of the life in a VR world and perhaps this 2nd life  is more important to them then real life.  When they grow up and find they need to shift to real life to support themselves and walk in the streets of the physical world, will they be able to handle it?

I have part of the answer and it goes back to Ira's funny two slides of the 1946 TV and iPhone.  And my contribution to predicting the future is:  they will take the VR world with them and it will be available via wireless broadband on the next generation of portable personal multimedia device.  By the way, some people are making real money selling services and goods in VR world, so perhaps they will also find ways to use the 2nd life for financial gain as well.


VIdeo Interview – Matrox MXO 2

Richard Harrington, author of Producing Video Podcasts looks at the Matrox MXO 2 for the Mac. It works with Final Cut Studio and the Adobe Creative Suite.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

improvements for the end user

As a mobile unit engineer I find myself wondering the floor looking at what everyone has to offer and thinking about if we or our clients can benefit from it. I was thinking about everything I saw today and what a common theme might be, I realized just how many work flow and user experience improvements have been made. The Telex KP32 LCD intercom panel that allows the user to customize a color scheme for each operator might sound like an minor improvement. However, now the operator can easily identify what type of communication path each button has. Also, the ergonomic improvements of volume control on each channel will be a big hit with the operators.

Panasonic, Sony and EVS all showed work flows that easily transfer content to either Apple Final Cut Pro or Avid NLEs. This cuts the transfer and ingest time, making a much more efficient work flow. Panasonic & Sony showed longer storage for the P2 and XDCam. Sony's XDCam has a 30 second buffer to allow you not to miss anything while changing discs (I’m assuming you don’t drop the disc and watch it roll around).

Thomson Grass Valley showed an improved Encore control system that greatly enhances the speed of programming the router and increases flexibility. It may not be the great new technological leap that would make the front page, but by making it faster and more flexible for the engineers to configure a facility, we will all benefit.

The variety of modular solution to our needs from a variety of manufacturers is quite impressive. When looking at Evertz, Cobolt, GVG, Miranda, or Harris (there are more, but I didn’t see them yet) I was struck that each manufacturer seems to offer a solution to almost every problem. Up/down/cross conversion, embedding, de-embedding, distribution, multi-viewer and the list goes on and on. They all have products to meet your needs. This allows you the end user to choose whose feature set, price point or architecture (they are all slightly different) meets your needs.

MTV on the Exhibit Hall Floor

Hot Topic at the show?

Video transcoding - - -that's hardware and software that converts source video from any platform to another platform or standard.

Those of us in Digital Media have to send more and more live and on-demand video to a number of locations, the Net, mobile phone, satellite and more.

When MTV wants to covert their digital video, whether that's over the air, video to the Internet, mobile, satellite or to plain old cable, they were explaining how they do that. Stewart Frey, MTV Networks - VP of Applications was showing how it's done with Media Excel, an exhibitor over at C2951. They’re using Media Excel to do this on a global basis.

Stewart Frey is on microphone, and James Meeker from Media Excel is standing next to him.
We'll be watching.
See you on the Net
Peggy Miles

Video Interview – Red Scarlet Camera

Richard Harrington, author of Producing Video Podcasts looks at the Red Scarlet camera.

Wednesday General Session- Alvin and Heidi

Wednesday General Session- Alvin and Heidi

Had a great meal last night at Roy’s. I know it is a chain but they don’t have a branch in my Boston hometown so it is a treat to enjoy them when in Las Vegas. My wife loves the fish but I don’t eat seafood but it is the beef short-ribs that I crave. Went to sleep early so we could both get up in time make our way to LV Hilton to hear Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi “shock us” back from the Roy’s experience to the world ahead.

With some help from David as a moderator and host, Alvin start with a history lesson. He reminded us that our institutions have been shaped by the industrial age—including our media of today. While he acknowledged the powerful impact media has had on society, he said he would address instead how society, and our new information age, is, and will continue to be, impacting media. As we leave behind the industrial age we have to recognize that many of our institutions such as work, school, media, government, etc—were designed to work well in a mass production age. His example was that schools were, and continue, to be designed to turn out assembly line workers rather than free thinkers.

With regard to media, he noted that our conventional linear media is also designed for a mass audience who passively takes in what is dished out. Although we have some emerging interactively in media today, he suggested we are only seeing the tip of the berg. Drawing on some new vocabulary invented in his books, he talked about the rise of the “Prosumer”. By that he meant the combination of professional and consumer to describe how we once used outside professionals and institutions to do things we now do today. An example is home photography. In the past he had to but film at a store and then send off the exposed film to be developed and printed into hard copy. Now with digital cameras we skip the steps and do it all ourselves. Other examples, included taking our own blood pressure versus having to go to the doctor.

The extension to media is obvious—user generated content and direct consumption bypassing conventional distribution channels and business models.

Another term from his books—“Demassification”. My understanding is that some many narrowcasting outlets for information and given the tendency for the editor to shape the news to support an agenda, we have pockets of people who limit their info source to only a small cluster of like opinion and fail to understand multiple points of view and the big picture. Alvin and Heidi made a plea for mandatory and extensive media literacy education in our public schools to teach people who to be better media consumers and better informed members of society. He concluded his prepared remarks with a topic dear to me—dealing with and managing complexity.

A fair part of my consulting practice is in the consumer electronics industry and working with manufacturers and service providers who put the gadgets in the hands of consumers. Alvin extended his general statement that in the 21st century we are experiencing more complexity in everything we are doing including our CE devices—often the complexity is counter productive. He called this “surplus complexity”. I still use PowerPoint 3.0 to prepare my slides because 99% of the additions to the more recent editions just slow me down and get in the way (yes- I do own the modern version but only use it to read files people send to me).

In my interactions with colleagues and clients in the consumer electronics industry I preach that those firms who find the optimum way to deliver features people want without adding complexity will be the winners. Or to state it in another way, with software defined devices any competitor can add features but to make the features valued to create competitive advantage people need to learn how to invoke the feature without long unproductive training sessions or manuals people don’t read.

Remember the clock on most VCRs that blinks 12 noon through-out the life of the product?

Do you know how to program the address book in your phone?

Well finally after two days in sessions, I am looking forward to walking the show floor.

As Alvin said: “Welcome the rest of the 21st century”


College Students, what do they think of the NAB?

Hi, Peggy here again. I'm slipped into casual shoes because my feet were killing me. I have my "business meeting" shoes stuffed in my computer bag so I can do a switch later. I'm in yet another line, but at least my feet are comfortable.

You never know who's in line with you. It's a great time to ask someone you don't know about the show. I met Billy Gedney, a college student from Corona, California who is currently attending Riverside Community College.

I asked him to send me an email on his experiences here, and wondered if he'd drop me a photo. Viola!

Content is king, now more than ever
By: Billy Gedney

With some of the new major announcements this week at N.A.B show, the annual convention for the National Association of Broadcasters, it becomes easier to see a more focused requirement for content to be king.

The first is a company that makes a product that deserves an unofficial 'best of show' is Redrock Micro. The second is a software company's team that made advancements in content delivery over the web that deserves another unofficial "best of show' is Adobe's Flash team.

Redrock is a company in Texas that creates cinema lens adaptation kits for High Def and HDV (an hybrid High Def format that records in lower quality on Mini DV tapes) cameras. This allows name brand cinema quality lenses to be used with low cost HD cameras.

In October, Adobe's Flash player abandoned its proprietary format and adopted the MPEG-4 codec H.264. This change allows for content producers to make low bandwidth, high quality video streams and small file size, high quality movie files to be played under an existing platform. This new format's implementation came to life this week with Adobe's presentations on the format wars, mobile devices and Flash Media Server under the 'New Media 2.0 Production' workshop track, which allowed content creators to see first hand from Adobe designers how theses advancements affect them.

The significance and impact of these two advancements make content king, now more so than ever, because it dramatically reduces the cost for someone to enter the film creation and distribution market. No longer does one require a studio's financial backing to bring content to consumers; it just requires presenting a message or story worth telling in a compelling manner. It, simply put, is the beginning steps towards breaking the monopoly in the capitalist microenvironment of the movie production industry.

We are finally seeing the realization of the shakeup that we were told HD would bring to the film industry by creating a more accessible playing field.

These advancements truly illustrate the goal that the planners of the N.A.B show set forth and that is to bring content to life."

Billy Gedney is a college student from Corona, California who is currently attending Riverside Community College where he is preparing to transfer to USC to further his technological and video experiences by studying at the Marshall School of Business."

I'll be looking forward to his insights about broadcasting in the future. I'll see if he'll be my friend on Facebook.

If I remember correctly, he writes for a paper or newszine too.

The future generation of media professionals are at the show. It was a pleasure meeting Billy. Billy, you did a great recap. You'll be going far in media. Remember me when you're famous.

See you on the Net!

Peggy Miles

Sneak Peek at NBC Olympics Live Video Website! You have to see this!

This is unbelievable. I think we’re really seeing Internet Video take center stage. I just saw a sneak peek of some of the advanced features for NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Olympics. I can't wait to see the Olympics on the Net!


The guys behind Microsoft Silverlight explained how their platform works with interactive video elements, can display live video from a number of sources, and add a boatload of bells and whistles. It works across browsers and most platforms.

This is live and on-demand interactive video that will be “beamed” out to millions of Internet users around the world for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.

Tom Honeybone (Senior Director, Silverlight Business Development) and Mark Ramberg (Senior Business Development Manager, Silverlight) showed me a preview page where you see about 4 live feeds which will come from different locations at the Olympics.

Once you select a feed, of course, it’s live, but you still see the other live screens minimized on the page.

You may have seen something like this on, but we’re moving into a totally different live viewing experience now.

The small picture-in-picture live screens are good enough to watch in that size, or you can click to the full screen.

That’s just the start.

There’s an interface to guide you to Olympics videos by interest, by sport, location, most-watched and a number of other variables. The way they do that is something you have to see for yourself, since it’s impossible to explain a video navigation screen here.

NBCi is thinking ahead and will be using metadata to change the viewing experience.

You won’t have to click and click and click to find the video or information you want, it’s customized to your viewing preferences, by sports time, content available, and other preferences.

If anything is going to win consumers over to your video on the net, it’s an easy to use website, easy to find videos and good looking Internet video.

The video quality is of great importance to NBCi, and you’ll see video in near high-def quality.

I saw an example of a news alert that pops up. Does this sound like old news!? It’s NOT! The alerts pop up on the live video, click, and you’re off to your next destination.

Finally, we’re seeing hotspots showing up on major media websites.

What’s so important on this? You are clicking on live Internet video and off you go. Let me see if I can explain the experience. If you’re watching full screen video on your computer, phone, portable media device, you can interact with the the live video, and you do not have surf to another web page to get more information. If you click, the information displays (pops up) in a section of your video screen. There’s no need to go to a list of hyperlinks, or open up a web page to do so. It’s so easy to use!

You’re going to see this everywhere, starting out with the major media websites.

A lot of these interactive features we have talked about for years. In 2008 you’ll see this up on the Net on a massive scale, supporting millions of video viewers from around the world. NBCi gurus, I have to give it to you, you are really putting a lot on the line to offer this up to the world live and interactive.

The only thing that might be coming out that could beat this might be interactive video during the Presidential election. We’ll see if if that comes to pass and can beat the NBC experience.

I’m betting on CNN as the place to go for live video coverage during the election. I’ll l be tracking down Tom Gerstel who I know from CNN in the next day. It’s probably too early to get him to tell me what they will be doing. NBC has exclusive video coverage of the Olympics. I won’t even guess how many websites will have live video on election day.

See You on the Net! Now, I don't have any doubts.

Peggy Miles

Coming Up: MTV is getting their Internet video to the net, to mobile phones, here and there, so I’ll let you know about their method from MTV Networks VP of applications Stewart Frey. He was talking all about it at the Media Excel booth.

Coming Up: Jim Long from NBC News in Washington DC also hooked me up with a couple of gurus from NBCi I have a couple of emails from them. I’m off to their booth to see something else. All I know is it’s a box! That could a number of things. What else should I see?

Coming Up: I just chatted with Sandy Malcolm, Executive Producer Video, Live. I'm looking forward to moderating the panel tomorrow with her and our other digital media friends.

Wednesday April 15, 2008 - Broadband TV World @ NAB
1:50 - 2:40 The Billion Dollar Question: How Will Broadband Video Make Money?

Room 219/220The popularity of digital video notwithstanding, the fact remains that business models for making money from broadband video on the Internet are sketchy at best. If the video must be free, are short ads at the beginning or end of video clips and banner ads really the best way to grab viewers? Are the networks maximizing revenues with the advertising on their websites? And are all networks ready to follow Fox’s example and share revenue with their affiliates from their Web and mobile content? Are the networks maximizing revenues with the advertising on their websites?

Matt Kaplan, VP Creative & Client Services, PermissionTV Paula Reinman, Director, Marketing, Microsoft TVSandy Malcolm, Executive Producer, video -

Lance Ware, Chief Technology Officer, Technicolor Electronic Distribution Services
Michael King, President, Abacast Inc.
Emily O'Halloran, Senior Executive, Digital Advertising Lead, Accenture
Moderator/Host: Peggy Miles, President, InterVox Communications

Video Interview – Adobe Media Player

Richard Harrington, author of Producing Video Podcasts interviews Deeje Cooley from Adobe.

What are consultants thinking about the NAB?

I ran into Holland Cooke behind his computer at the NAB. You'll find consultants and reporters hanging out in conference business center, the press room, and typing frantically in sessions.

“Content Makes Cool Gadgets Hot” says a huge banner atop the Las Vegas Convention Center.

To the National Association of Broadcasters’ credit, their annual convention is no longer about broadcasting, and 100,000+ attendees came to Las Vegas from all over the world to swap ideas about “new delivery, new content, new opportunities.”

The conference agenda presumes something Talk Radio consultant Holland Cooke has been preaching-out to anyone-willing-to-listen:

1. We are following – not leading – listeners to new platforms.
2. It’s all we can do to keep-up.
3. Our considerable, yet perishable, advantage is our engagement with existing cume, and with advertisers.

"Vegas-simply-being-Vegas demonstrates radio’s opportunity," Cooke figures. "My first night there, I ended up guzzling beer with a couple pals from a certain radio network." No names…what happens in Vegas stays there.

"In a loud crowd at Harrah’s packed Dueling Pianos bar, I was struck by the considerable new value (long tail) of’:

*** 1970s content which attained critical mass on AM radio way-back-when (i.e., “Sweet Home Alabama”);

*** When it’s made available on-demand (Las Vegas never closes); and

*** interactive (dueling pianists played the crowd like a Steinway)."

I didn't have time to ask Holland about HD Radio. That will have to wait until we run into each other again.

See you on the Net!


Peggy Miles


Digital Signage & Broadcasters? Where's the Money?

Jimmy Schaeffler, Chairman & CSO of the Carmel Group has a new book on digital signage at the NAB store. I wondered where does digital signage fit into this new media world. Where's the money for broadcasters? He's live on stage for the NAB SuperSession titled Digital Signage: A New Model for broadcasters in S222 right now.

Jimmy said, "Digital signage is another key area that offers opportunities for local broadcasters. Because this business group has the local ad connections, the local production equipment and facilities, the local content, and the local connections, its members are an ideal force to drive the future of local communications via digital signage."

The NAB super session titled Digital Signage: A New Model For Broadcasters, goes on until noon, in conference room S222, moderator Jimmy Schaeffler will engage CBSOuterNet’s Virginia Cargill, Microspace’s Joe Amor, ClearCHannel Outdoor’s Michael Hudes, and Jeff Curtis from Helius/HughesNEt, as well as digital signage writer and consultant, Lyle Bunn. Schaeffler, chairman & CSO of The Carmel Group, has just authored an NAB/Focal Press bestseller, called Digital Signage – Software, Networks, Advertising and Display: A Primer for Understanding the Business.

I'll be listening to see if these experts can give us a roadmap. Where do you start, how do you engage, who do you work with, and what are the projected profits by entering this business.

I suspect that we don't have the answers for all these questions, but see what I can find out.

Tuesday PM, Creative Storage Conference@NAB08

Tuesday PM, Creative Storage Conference@NAB08

It's all about the meta-data, or at least mostly!  I kind of feel like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate when instead of whispering in my ear PLASTICS the buzz word was META-DATA.  There was however a running theme through most of the Tuesday afternoon events that involved issues associated with digital ingest in general and meta-data in particular.  It began with a keynote from Chris Hinton, Sr Director of Technology at CNN.  Like all video news and TV operations they have a large library of linear tapes holding valuable content.  Unlike many such holders of assets they hired a professional librarian early on did what such professional do and recorded important meta-card on paper library cards.  Now as you might suspect CNN makes active use of their library but now that they are a digital shop there is a need to attack the backfiles of linear tapes and get them online and near-online in file formats.  Given the scope and scale of assets at CNN hdqs in Atlanta, the nearly same total size in branches in major cities-- e.g: NY, London, DC, etc-- not to mention get again a comparable size in smaller bureaus; this is a big and expensive job.  Trying to do the digital ingest and association of meta-data in a conventional manual matter could take hundreds of years and large $$$.  Instead they decided to automate the ingest process and decouple ingest from meta-data association.  Using multiple tape handling robots, they can load up the machines and let them run 24x7 doing the ingest and rely upon the library cards while they catch up latter to do a digital association by entering the hard copy meta-data into the computer.

The conference continued with much parallel discussion on the topic and picked up with an intense focus on the same area in a latter session with Michael Koetter of CNN and Jim Casabella of ABC/Disney.  Michael reviewed and added some details to Chris's earlier keynote and when Jim's turn came to speak he said basically "ditto".  The job was just too big to do in a conventional way.  Both Michael and Jim revealed the difficulty in getting management to fund this massive ingest effort and lamented that while most local TV stations have the only local video history of their community, it is unlikely they will make the investments to ingest the tapes before they become unusable.

My take-away from this topic was that there is an unsolved problem here and perhaps this creates an opportunity for the application of new technology and methods that can provide a business opportunity for an innovative firm.  Some ideas that come to mind are using image and sound fingerprinting technologies to automatically create content based addressable indexing to add to the electronically readable meta-data already on the tape (e.g. timecodes).  Also perhaps to read and parse any text captioning on the tapes to add to the meta-data.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tangent Devices: The Wave

Shout out to Stu Maschwitz of ProLost fame for the update!

For you Color users out there hoping for an entry level control panel (like me), it's Christmas in April. According to Stu's Twitter posting as of 19min ago:

Tangent Devices Wave is the $1,600 Color control surface. Looks utilitarian, but good bet for folks making Color their workhorse.

Utilitarian is fine with me, I just want the chance to dial in lift, gamma, and gain all at the same time. Heck, I was ready to settle for a competent Wii-mote hack.

From Tangent's website:

Affordable technology

With the Wave we bring a new level of affordability and quality to control surfaces. The design draws heavily on the experience gained from our highly successful CP100 and CP200 panel ranges. The Wave is not intended to replace these panels, it is just aimed at the more budget conscious user.

Superbly designed

Stylish enough to look good in any grading suite and compact enough to be used for on-set grading, you'll find all the controls you'd expect from a colour grading panel without compromising on the essential ergonomics. The wave features crisp, easy to read, cool-blue OLED displays and custom trackerball units based on a non-contacting optical pickup. With enough buttons and knobs to keep your most needed controls at your fingertips, the Wave will increase your productivity, leaving you to get on with what you're best at doing - being creative!

Translation: affordable = accessible to young people striving to be colorists and got a paper route to save up for that shiny new Wave. Thank you Tangent, thank you!

According to their website, you can see the Wave in action at the following booths:

MaxVision Corporation Booth SL10605

Speedsix Software Booth SL122

And for the record, my NAB 2008 New Gig Rig is:

MacBook Pro 17" HQ

Final Cut Studio 2

Matrox MXO 2

Dell 2408WFP

Tangent Wave

RED Scarlet

proactively • grinning • peter

Sony PMW-EX3 Booth C8505

Phillip Bloom has posted a great video review of Sony's new PMW-EX3:

Sony XDCAM EX3 review from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

A very well done review, I really appreciate Mr. Bloom's candor and to-the-point style. Very good of him to throw in the 35mm adapter portion, an essential aspect when considering any camera's feasibility IMHO.

Following along at Final Cut User, readers might have enjoyed the following observation:

Pricing is just ridiculous for this thing 13k for the cam and 30 k for the player/recorder WHATTTTT….Wake up Sony. I can get a RED ONE with some accessories for that combo or a Hdx900 that has 2/3 in chips.

So Richard, does this begin to answer your question? It seems that RED's Scarlet has preemptively struck at the core of the prosumer / entry-level professional camera market. Assuming, of course, that a clear field acquisition and post-production work flow evolves in time for Scarlet's arrival.

I have no doubt it will.

proactively • peter

Cobalt Digital

I was looking for a total solution for my core terminal needs and I went to Cobalt Digital to find an innovative flexible company that supports Open Gear. They have rounded out their already extensive product line to include a 16 channel embedder and de-embedder, plus a card that will do both simultaneously. The dashboard control system is now complemented by their new control panel. It is totally programmable for each users needs and allows me to customize each users panels to the functions they need. By supporting and expanding the Open Gear format, they provide a total solution for my terminal needs. By asking "what else can we do for you," they secure my future needs. I'm glad I stopped by.

Broadband Video Panel on Wed. Morning

Looking forward to our panel tomorrow morning at 9:30 in the Content Theater, "Broadband Media Workflow: Hitting the Viewing Window." We have a great group of panelists including Rob Adams (CTV), Glenn Goldstein (MTV) and Suzanne Johnson (Akamai). We did a dry run this afternoon and all the panelists will be presenting slides with actual data and descriptions of workflows used in their companies.

The session will be very practical, exploring both operational and business issues. All of these companies have made broadband-delivered video central to their success and are investing significantly to deliver on the promise. With lots of talk in the air at NAB around convergence of on-air and online assets, this session will be a must-attend for anyone responsible for broadband video operation or strategy.
-Will Richmond

Tuesday- Creative Storage Conference@NAB

Tuesday- Creative Storage Conference@NAB

Las Vegas for me is a multi-level treat.  My only gambling is driving a rental car on the city streets and hoping I don't run into traffic or get hit by a drunk.  What I do like is enjoying the food from the mirror restaurants of the many international celebrity chefs.  Last night however, we went off-strip a few blocks to La Scala for one of the best Italian meals I have enjoyed-- including Boston's North End.

Time to enjoy the other level of the LV treat and attend NAB.  Another day, another blog.  I have speaking gig this morning at the Creative Storage Conference, so I spent the night tossing and turning.  Poor wife, she was happy to see me take off at 7:00am to get to the early 7:30am start of the conference so she could get back to sleep.  I will be spending the day here in room N119-- a part of The LVCC I did not even know exists.

My presentation was within the session dealing with the impact upon storage of new developments in content capture.  More on my topic latter.  What I found interesting were two other presentations from LaCIE and Sony.  Both made the point that there is no one right storage media.  Comparisons were made between tape, hard drives, optical media, and solid-state.  In selecting the right media for the right application you need to consider performance, cost, size, and durability among other factors.  In the performance category we have long list with the top parameters being transfer rates, latency, and archival life.  A high level summary is that solid-state wins for durability and size but is too expensive to be used for archival storage.  Tape today is very cheap and best for dead storage with very long archival life.  Hard drives great for editing and supporting real time active asset management.  Finally optical media are a great compromise of long life and fast non-linear access.

You can find my Creative Storage presentation on my personal website by Wednesday morning at .  The short version is that as if the storage needs in a camcorder due to SD to HD was not enought, I am suggesting there are emerging applications that can increase the storage needs by N times more where N can run from 2X to over 20X.  Examples of the applications are capturing multiple time sync'ed videos at: 1) Multiple focal planes to increase depth of field, 2) Multiple angles to increase field of view, 3) Multi exposure settings to increase dynamic range, 4) Multiple sensors to support 3D and interactive VR, and 5) Multi-spectral (i.e. visible and I/R) to support more information.  I used a gallery of still photos to illustrate the benefits of each application.

Back from lunch now and back to the Creative Storage conference for the afternoon sessions.


What does the Red Scarlet Mean to the World?

I promise to go into deeper thought soon... but just had to post on something I (and the rest of the blogosphere) seems interested in, Red Digital Cinema. While most have chosen to focus on the 5K Epic and the 4K Red Ray, its the "low" end that's got me.

As a medium sized production shop and avid podcaster... I'd love better image quality. The Red Scarlet and its projected $3,000 price point in in my sites. I have a video interview going up later today... but the short version is this.

– This means 2/3 inch chips... cheaper to make... but good enough for most)
1-120 FPS (180FPS BURST) – Beautiful Slow-Mo... here I come
4.8" LCD 8X T2.8 RED ZOOM LENS – Nothing more to buy on this front... although a few extra accessories are there that can run the bill up.
FULL AUTO OR FULL MANUAL SHOOTING MODES – Yes it really is a consumer camera... the guy I talked to said it is being designed to hook up to consumer grade machines (see below).
HDMI and HD-SDI – For the Pros
FIREWIRE 800 and USB2 – For the iMac (yes... they WANT this)
STILL MODE – So consumers can shoot photos
WI-FI CONTROL – To run the camera from a laptop (like tethered mode with DSLR). I think its just controls and not transfer.

The date... early 2009.... the price 3K for 3K (gotta love that).

The video later today.

Off to shop and speak!

Richard Harrington –

NAB Day one

More footage to come!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Samsung A-VSB to Mobile Devices Press Conference and Demo

I made my way out of the left side of the South Hall to the Renaissance Hotel for a Monday 3:30pm press conference hosted by Samsung and their partners of Advanced VSB (A-VSB) technology designed to support DTV broadcasts to mobile devices such as cellphones, PDAs, personal media players, and automotive TVs.  A-VSB is one of two leading candidates proposed to the ATSC for adoption as an extension to the USA terrestrial DTV standard to support mixed OTA broadcasts to conventional (i.e. fixed) and new mobile TVs.  It is in contention with technology from LG/Zenith called MPH.

If my memory serves right, the first A-VSB demo was at CES in Las Vegas two years ago and the technology has advanced beyond the original two year old proof of concept in that the enabling silicon is close to meeting RF performance and battery life specs.  More importantly the A-VSB now includes standards above the physical layer to support Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) features such as meta-data and will include conditional access (CA) and DRMs.  The meta-data will support program guides and interactive TV back channel to the content provider such as for opinion polling, video commerce, and audience measurement.  The CA will support other than pure advertising supported biz models such as pay per month subscription services.

The presentation lacked technical details and no engineers were present to answer some pointed technical questions.  The session was useful but would have been more interesting if the A-VSB merits were compared to MPH and MediaFLO competition.  Even though DVB-H is not an active candidate in the USA, it is likely Echostar will use their newly acquired spectrum for broadcast DTV and given their adoption of satellite DVB, it would not be surprising that DVB-H could also be a competitor for mobile TV.

A-VSB and MPH do share the unique characteristic however that they are designed to be compatible with operation on the same transmitter carrying conventional ATSC so that a broadcaster can target both coventional fixed TVs at home and new mobile platforms.

At the end of press conference, we were treated to a bus ride about the city to show that indeed A-VSB works while in motion and conventional ATSC does not.  The demos included showcasing a variety of prototype devices including GSM cellphones, portable media players, tablet PCs, and auto TVs.

Monday Spotlight Series: Digital Innovation: What You Dream Is What You Get

Spotlight Series:  Digital Innovation: What You Dream Is What You Get
Monday, April 14, 2:30

The HP/Dreamworks session was a don't miss for me.  This is because I attended a similar topic at a CES keynote two years ago and saw a mind blowing animation sequence of secret agent penguins prior to the release of Madagascar.  I had assumed a similar treat was in store for us and I was not disappointed.  This time the sequence was a 3D experiment based upon a new Kung Fu Panda hero who will be subject of a forthcoming animated movie.  We all got 3D glasses and were treated to a wild action sequence ride up to high standards expected from Dream Works.

Beyond the demo, the actual session content was a tag team presentation by Jeff Katzenberg (CEO and Director of DreamWorks Animation who appearing pre-recorded via video-monitor),  Roger Enrico (Broad Chairman DreamWorks Animation), and Todd Bradley (EVP of the Personal Systems Group at HP).  It was somewhat of a love fest by Dream Works for HP but I guess HP paid the bill so they got to call the shot.  The basic idea presented in the session was that HP was the provider of the enabling technology that made Dream Works possible.

I don't doubt that HP has technology suitable for the need, but doubt that their contribution is so unique that it is unmatched by other HP competitors.  Non-the-less the session did drive home the point that the state of art of CGI is at an amazing level, and further than CGI animation is now the leading driver of computing power.  This is far cry from years ago when it was scientific computations that drove the need for faster computers.  Even more recently it was computer aided design and solids modeling that needed MIPS and all these previous applications are duck soup compared to the needs of today's CGI animation.


Matrox MXO 2 Drops

Why, hello there!

Just when you thought the coast was clear, along comes a portable HD-SDI I/O solution for your MacBook Pro. From Matrox's website:

Flexible workflows

Capture to a variety of codecs

Matrox MXO2 gives you a wide range of workflow possibilities by providing frame-accurate capture via RS-422 deck control to a variety of codecs including:

  • ProRes 422
  • ProRes 422 HQ
  • DV
  • DV50
  • Uncompressed HD/SD (8- and 10-bit)
  • Offline RT

Use your favorite file-based formats

Matrox MXO2 lets you work with filebased formats such as XDCAM, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX, and P2 on your timeline.

The slamming new feature is that the Matrox MXO 2 uses HDMI for it's HD & SD signal path:

HD and SD video monitoring

Matrox MXO2 turns your HDMI montor into a true-color video display you can trust, even for color grading. It’s packed with features that make it the ideal monitoring solution for Final Cut Pro, Apple Color, Adobe Premiere Pro, and other QuickTime-based applications. You won’t need to buy expensive HD monitoring equipment. In addition, MXO2’s realtime downscaling feature lets you view your HD projects on an SD monitor.

HDMI monitor calibration

Matrox MXO2 lets you adjust and control your HDMI monitor exactly like you would a broadcast HD/SD monitor. Controls for hue, chroma, contrast, brightness, and blue-only are provided. This unique control gives you completely accurate color representation so that you can use your HDMI monitor even for color grading.

Pixel-to-pixel mapping on the HDMI display

Matrox MXO2 provides 1:1 pixel mapping on HDMI monitors that support this feature. You get accurate monitoring on your HDMI display in the following resolutions:

  • 720 x 486 (NTSC)
  • 720 x 576 (PAL)
  • 1920 x 1080
  • 1280 x 720

This is certainly news for Dell 2408WFP owners. And what does this mean for the Matrox & Apple Cinema Display relationship? And does this mean I can now grade on my 55" Sony SXRD via HDMI using my MacBook Pro???

Questions galore!

All this for a reported $1595.00 USD... can anyone out on the floor confirm this price point?

proactively • peter

Happening Now...John Gage and some of his favorite social networking websites, Josh Bernoff Forrester and the students from Baylor

I'm trying to post a couple of stories I have here on blogger. I had to take a bit of a break since one of our supersession panelists Josh Bernoff stopped by. I'm in the NAB Science and Technology Office and NAB Office.

Josh is on the panel I'm moderating at 3:30 - Social Networking SuperSession in Room 222.

He wrote the book Groundswell about Social Networking and he's the VP Principal Analyst for Forrester.

Josh is hungry. I am too. We ask where to go? Janet Elliott from the NAB was kind enough to invite us to share the staff buffet lodged against one wall of their inner logistics office.

We see a work table with students and one guy. The guy has his back to us. I'm excited. I bet these are the students who will be on our panel to talk about social networking.

The guy turns around. It's John Gage, Chief Researcher & Director of the Science Office - Sun Microsystems. He's the SuperSession keynote at 3:30 in Room 222 and joining us for the SuperSession panel.

John Marino from the NAB gets us today for a minute. He pulls us over to his laptop.

He types in Josh's name in a browser. He does mine too. Oh my have to see what he's going to show off at 3:30 pm. I can't wait to play with the website after the session.

Unfortunately, I can't post the URL(s) until after the SuperSession. I can give you a better watch out what's on the Internet about you!

Students and executives on a panel, now this is going to be a blast! John Gage was so excited showing us some of the new things out there!


Peggy Miles

DTV Coverage Session

I attended the DTV Reception Issues Broadcast Engineering Conference Session at 10:30am today. It was full of interesting quantitative planning factors that one should use in predicting coverage changes post the Feb’09 DTV transition. The numbers came too fast to capture and I will have to purchase the conference proceedings so I have access to the details. My interest in this topic comes from work I have been doing with Centris (Google Centris and DTV coverage for details) to understand the consumer experience following the DTV transition. I came to the independent realization that with over 70% of OTA TVs on indoor antennas, the FCC planning factors for DTV coverage of an outdoor 30 foot high direction gain antenna would not provide a reliable predictor of coverage. As Bill Meintel pointed out in his presentation, it is the cliff effect in DTV that makes the difference. People who currently have acceptable analog performance may not find any DTV signal post transition. In fact, just before NAB I got my NTIA converter box coupons and find that while I can pick up all my VHF channels as DTV, all my analog UHF channels are not watchable in digital form with an indoor antenna. As stated by Bill, the adjustments one must make to coverage prediction to the FCC’s LR OET69 model for DTV included:
· Corrections for other than 30 foot antenna height
· Corrections for indoor coverage due to building penetration loss as a function of where in the house the antenna is located· Multipath, with separate factors for static and dynamic
· Local noise, especially at VHF
· Receiver performance variation, especially equalizer complexity

Bill gave typical, best case, and worse case data for each adjustment that should be helpful to anyone who tries to accurately predict DTV coverage.

Telestream Announces ProRes 422 Support

Thanks to NABfeed at Twitter for the heads up. This is huge news for Final Cut Studio users working with ProRes 422 as their conforming and mastering codec. Here's a snippet from the press release:

Las Vegas, Nevada, National Assn of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention, April 13, 2008 –Telestream today announced availability of Episode 5.0 encoding software which expands format support to a greater number of specific digital media workflows for Apple professionals. For high-end post-production workflows, Telestream’s high-performance Episode Engine server software adds input support for RED camera, Cineon and DPX formats. For its core content repurposing to Web and mobile workflows, the entire Episode family adds support for the latest Flash 8, Flash 9 and Blu-ray formats. For Apple’s new Final Cut Server media asset management and workflow automation software, Episode expands format choices beyond QuickTime to virtually any format.

Additional awesome highlights include Final Cut Server integration, RED Camera format support, and support for the latest Blu-ray formats. Stop by the Telestream Booth SL5405 for more details.

It appears that the future is now.

• peter

Monday Openning Session

It’s Monday time to get to work. I had an 8am breakfast with a client at The Flamingo and still time to catch the Monorail to the LVCC in time for the 9:00am opening session. The only problem is to figure out where it is. I like everything about this show except the lack of availability of conference schedule and room info. I have no idea where the session is being held and nor does anyone of the dozens in my monorail car. I looked for the info all last night on the NAB website and it was nowhere to be found. The NAB show daily has the secret hidden on page 58 so I head over the Barron Room of LV Hilton and although 15 minutes late it has still not started. While many think these awards focused general sessions to be content light, I find the list of issues and priority given is insightful. I was not disappointed. David Rehr (NAB president) leads off with mention of You Tube as an example of rapid changes the industry is facing and makes the point that although change is not always welcome, it can be the source of new opportunities that can have an upside if you recognize the change and adjust your business to take advantage of the new environment rather than be a victim. The You Tube examples shown were very funny by the way. David continued with the not surprising wake up call the DTV is coming (fast!) but he stopped short of a recipe for how to align business in such a way to gain advantage. Instead he gave the example that although radio had been written off, it has been re-invented and it actually growing. The implication is that the same is possible for TV. Examples of how radio is dealing with change were provided as food for thought as to what TV might do. One radio example is that auto OEMs are offering HD in new cars. David continued that availability, or push, is not all that needs to be done. He described a promotion called “Radio Here” to create consumer demand pull as well. Switching back to an acknowledgement of current tough times for OTA broadcast TV, David described a program of consumer education that will lead to an average of 642 exposures/household of DTV education between now and the Feb’09 transition. The unstated implication is that DTV improved signal quality and increase in OTV program choices will lead to improvement in business for broadcaster. However the home run for me was his next topic of TV to mobile devices. With 345 mobile devices as possible platforms for OTA DTV reception, to me this represents some real opportunity. NAB efforts in this regard are participation in industry groups such as Open TV Coalition to get standards compatible with mobile handsets such as Advanced ATSC adopted. Left unsaid however was how advertising supported OTA TV would position itself relative to subscription models such as MediaFLO and perhaps new offerings by Echostar on their recently won simple spectrum. Just before breaking for the awards part of the session, David offered a not surprising admonition that broadcasters must make “the internet part of their DNA”. He concluded with a review of NAB lobbying efforts in performance tax, DTV education, opposition to the XM-Sirius merger, fighting white space allocations, and increasing visibility of the importance of localism. My objective in attending this session was worthwhile and I found of particular interest the viability of delivery of OTA TV to mobile devices to be a possible big win for existing broadcasters.

If you have an interest in the impact of storage on image capture devices, stop in to hear my presentation Tuesday morning at The Creative Storage Conference (an NAB partner event).


StandBy! TV is broken!

We’re on our way as the doors are now open for the exhibits and sessions at NAB 2008! We can take down the “stand by” screen for NAB 2008. Welcome.

Then again, I was told that TV is broken!? What??? You be the judge. Read on....

Do you remember seeing this screen on TV? Maybe someone mentioned this screen to you? This graphic "please stand by" was often seen on early black and white TV broadcasts whenever a station had technical problems.

The solution to all these early TV problems came from people just like you - - - National Association of Broadcast members, conference attendees, engineers and innovators around the world took us to the next level.

(We still had stand-by screens in the days of color. You may have seen the color bars flash up on TV at various times. It's very rare to see problems over terrestrial TV channels today.)

We're not finished with the stand-by screen yet.

We’re seeing the same “problem-fixing” happening with the new “TV” on the net, on-line, on-air, anywhere on any device, a digital sign, or e-paper. The stand-by screens of today might be a little more colorful, and if there’s a glitch, we throw in a commercial, a promo or another video to cover the problem.

TV is Broken? The Innovation Transition

Richard Bullwinkle, on the founding team of TiVo, now at MacroVision told me, “TV is broken”. What he meant, I believe was that TV is evolving, but to the next generation, the TV of today will appear as very “broken!” I’d rather say we’re making it better.

Thomas Edison broke a lot of light bulbs on his way to electricity, but I would not relate his work to being “broken”.

Richard was emphasizing a point rather than telling us we are messing up. It’s important to say things need a little work, and are broken, as it provides the opportunity to get vendors and engineers to "fix" things, and more importantly we're responding to our listeners, viewers and multimedia consumers.

Bottom line. We’re innovating…and inventing, call it 'whatever', there is amazing work being done today. Broken, not a chance.

(Bullwinkle shared with me their latest Harris Interactive study hot off the research desk. I’ll pass on some stats/graphs in a few days since ironically this blogger is “broken” and having delays on posting images. I agree with Bullwinkle's thoughts, it's a sematics issue. Is it a half full or half empty?

Bye Bye “Stand By” screen? Not Yet.....

This “stand by’ graphic with the indian head is now only seen in books, museums or on the Internet. This once common screen to viewers in the United States is no longer in use.

It’s NOT really gone.

Today - we have our own version of stand-by screens. My Cable DVR always tells me to wait. A webcast or an on-demand video on the net, phone often displays a blank screen and the all too common words, "buffering" or "connecting" Other times, you'll get an error box saying a number of things, stream not found, a gibberish number, error message, downloading or even worse, your system stalls, sometimes calling for a reboot.

Here's a CNN graphic that is hard to see. It says that the live video will be up in the morning. It's not broken, even if your teen-ager thinks it's broken when they click on something and get a message like this.
Who would have have thought I'd be rebooting my TV? I do that every couple of weeks when my cable company or their cable set top box can’t manage the issues. Comcast is my provider, but they are not alone in solving these problems. In fact, I just got an email from Andrew Olsen from Comcast who is on his way out here, a great friend to digital media efforts, and was one of the people behind "" and a digital media innovator.

Let’s not forget pixelation, where the screen is garbled with tiny squares of gibberish, blips seen then and again Digital TV or Digital Terrestrial TV channels. Then there’s latency which is the waiting and waiting for the video to start playing on IPTV and other gadgets. Mobile TV and portable media viewing have their issues, but it’s amazing the difference if you look at today and ten years ago. It’s incredible what you, now the new media innovators have done!

And to our pioneering media friends, I haven’t heard of any system running 24/7 with 100%, or close to the reliability we have seen in years past on terrestrial TV.

We’re getting closer to the day when you click on any device, anywhere, your media will play instantly. The “stand by” screen that says “buffering”, “loading” “downloading” or “please wait” “rebooting” will be a thing of the past. Your children or grandchildren will never know of the problem.

It's amazing to think that we're going to have to explain to our children, or grandchildren that video came in on this big thick box, about a foot or so deep. Inside was a huge tube. They won't know what buffering means, and won't believe you when you tell them there were only a hanful of TV channels (or a few thousands) when you were young.

They will be upset if they click (or ask for) a live or on-demand program to begin and it doesn't start instantly. They'll be able to access their content anywhere, or their favorite display, at home, at work, in the car, at play.

Right now, I’d be happy to have Internet access or a cell phone that works in the convention center.

I had to stop writing and editing this because John Gage came in and was showing us different websites he likes. Blogging or John Gage. Good thing, this was getting way too long...and stand by!


peggy miles
see you on the Net

NAB Content Creators Party

I hit the NAB & FMC Content Creators Party on Sunday night (yes I'm lagging a little behind). The event was a great mix of people attending educational sessions at NAB as well as industry pros. The open air terrace let folks mingle and the party got quite lively. I had to smile as I heard multiple people commenting that 'This is an NAB Party?'

It wasn't a dig... but rather a sign of how things are changing. Great networking, great location, and creative entertainment. Kudos to the organizers and attendees for putting on such a different event. In the course of one night I managed to talk to Hollywood Film Editors, Software programmers, New Media Producers, and even a DoP from my days in Des Moines, IA.

What a great start to the week!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Plans for Monday 14April

I is a good thing this blog has a back door.  Yesterday I had no problem posting from IE from my MAC.  Today Google must be angry at Apple and says I can not post unless I allow cookies (I do but they don't acknowledge that).  However, they do support my posting via a back door if I send a regular email to a special address so here we go.

The long ride from Boston is now behind me and I need to get serious about planning my Monday.  With so many educational events of interest I don't expect to get to the show floor on Monday.  I have breakfast meeting with a client and then off to the 9:00am State of the Industry Address.  It is a good thing I my body clock is homed to Boston so it will be an easy up and out.  These opening sessions are often a mixed bag of welcome-welcome again- and still more welcome; however, I find the topics mentioned make visible the key issues and priority in the year ahead and I find them worthwhile.  I will be really surprised if less than half of the discussion is about the DTV transition.

The DTV transition is an important topic of interest to me so my first meaty session on my calendar is the 10:30am DTV reception issues session of The BEC.  Just a few days before leaving for Vegas, I got my NTIA converter box coupons in the mail and headed off to Radio Shack to pick up two boxes.  I expect my experience is not atypical-- the TV in the spare bedroom is not hooked to cable but gets good off-the-air pickup with the monopole antenna build into the TV.  When an external rabbit ear antenna is hooked to the converter box, I get acceptable off-the-air reception on the V's but an un-watchable in and out program on all the U's.  I would hate to be in congress when the bulk of the public discovers they need an outside antenna or a shift to cable/DBS to continue watching TV.

Next I plan to attend the 1pm Cool Gadgets-Hot Content session followed by the 2:30pm Digital Innovation Session.

I expect to end the day attending the A-VSB press conference on mobile TV and if lucky will get a seat on the tour bus to watch TV and we drive through Vegas.

Planning my day for Tuesday should be easy.  I am speaking at an NAB partner event Tuesday morning ( ).  This event is called the Creative Storage Conference and details of the agenda are at .  I am speaking in the morning starting at 8:15 at a session called "Storage in Content Capture and Creation" (Las Vegas Convention Center N119).  If you are interested in my topic see the abstract at Lipoff.pdf .  My subject area is the possible impact on storage requirements in next gen ENG and Digital Cinema cameras resulting from supporting image enhancing post production techniques.  I will be showing a variety of before and after photos to demonstrate the value of this post processing.

Time to rest up-- the good thing about the time zone change is it is easy to get up in morning.  The bad thing is my body clock says it is 1:30am.  Nite-Nite.


RED Camera Workflow Videos

For those of you out there interested in learning more about the RED Camera workflow for Final Cut Pro, I've edited these segments for your viewing pleasure. Special thanks to Terence Curren and Alphadogs for making this recording available:

RED FCP Workflow from Peter Salvia on Vimeo.

RED FCP Proxies Q&A from Peter Salvia on Vimeo.

RED DPX Files and 3K Format Q&A from Peter Salvia on Vimeo.

Of course, if you have any follow up questions seek out Ted at the RED Booth (SL3820). And let him know you saw his video on the the NAB Show Blog!

proactively • peter