Another NAB convention is once again Las Vegas history. If you did not have a chance to attend and envelop yourself in the latest in industry technology and products, you can catch up on such things in Broadcast Engineering's magazines and e-newsletters.
My earliest NAB memory goes back to the time when the annual conference alternated locations. It moved around, from East Coast to the West Coast, and the Midwest in between. The event was much smaller in those days. The East Coast venue was in Washington, D.C., making it convenient for the politicos and the FCC staffers. It took place at the twin hotels at the top of the hill in Woodley Park — today's Omni Shoreham and Sheraton Washington. I also recall being at the Conrad Hilton for one of the last NABs in snowy Chicago.
Today, given the current requirements for exhibit space and attendee accommodations, there are limited venue choices. That's fine with most. Vegas is a great convention town.
From medium to content
The NAB was founded in 1922 by a then fledgling radio broadcasting industry. An upstart telecasting business was recognized in 1951 when the organization changed its name to the NARTB. Then the organization must have realized that television was here to stay, because in 1958, the NARTB reverted back to the NAB.
NAB2006 was significant because, for the first time at the show, the number of registrants from the video and audio media segment surpassed those from TV and radio broadcasting. As a result of the evolution and application of convergent digital technologies, over the years the show has morphed from the industry's principal broadcast equipment exhibition and conference to the premiere event for those involved in the creation, management and distribution of content.
Broadcast invades post
Earlier this year, the Hollywood Post Alliance held another highly successful HPA Technology Retreat. However, times were not always so successful.
The retreat was created by the International Teleproduction Society (ITS), which became the Association of Imaging Technology and Sound. It served as the industry umbrella organization of the post-production community.
The ITS lost its way when the industry was enduring the financial repercussions of a deeply depressed market. This deadly combination translated into a lack of confidence and loss of funding, and the ITS ceased all activities in 2001.
The Southern California chapter of the ITS, however, remained vital and vibrant and started up the HPA and brought back the retreat.
Under the administrative management of the HPA and program chairmanship of industry pundit Mark Schubin, the HPA Technology Retreat has flourished into a major gathering of those who are and those who desire to be the technical cognoscenti of the content involved community.
The retreat's format is packed with early morning breakfast roundtables, panels, presentations and demonstrations. And despite its name and roots, this year's program kicked off with an ATSC presentation. It also included a broadcaster's panel with representatives from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS, as well as a breakfast roundtable on the latest 8-VSB reception developments.
Whether it is 108,000 attending NAB or 500 attending the HPA Technology Retreat, the creation, management and distribution of content has become a finely woven fabric. Therefore, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to educate ourselves in all aspects of these convergent technologies.
Anthony R. Gargano is a consultant and former industry senior executive.
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