Tire kicking or buying?
There’s no question broadcast hardware and software solutions continue trending better, faster and less expensive, and more so every year. That’s good news for stations, facilities and broadcast engineers, but not always good news for established manufacturers. Some major manufacturers are not selling as many expensive, name-brand products as they hoped. One reason is that their legacy products work so well, there often isn’t a pressing need for wholesale replacement when a software upgrade will do. Now that most of the domestic broadcast industry has made the transition to DTV and HD, the trick is to parlay that investment into profit, instead of keeping up with the competition and FCC requirements. Today’s economic climate, complete with a growing list of unknowns, only exacerbates the situation.
Spectrum repacking will undoubtedly generate significant sales for transmitter and antenna manufacturers, sometimes at the cost of not spending or investing in other areas .
Goodbye, SDI. Hello, IP.
As IP bandwidth becomes less of an issue, the need for dedicated formats for professional and broadcast video such as SDI is on the wane. If there is one trend most likely to stand out at this year’s NAB, it would be the introduction of more IP-based video gear.
This trend brings a parallel need for new digital test and measurement gear. The many forms digital video is taking require a new stable of test gear to ensure its validity. Fortunately, much of the new test and measurement gear is more in the form of software and less in the form of the traditional stand-alone units. Software test and measurement keeps prices down and the footprints small.
This is also a banner year to investigate replacing reliable old hardware such as camera support and lighting. There have been many advancements and some genuine quantum leaps in these hardware-intensive areas. Like their electronic counterparts, most new tripods, heads and lights perform measurably better, are easier and safer to transport and handle, and less expensive than their predecessors.
ENG and satellite news gathering equipment is undergoing a similar leap forward. As cellular news gathering systems endure real-world tests, manufacturers have responded with upgrades and updates better suited to meet the challenges of large-market, big-story newsgathering.