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Tue 1 May 2007 12:00 AM

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NAB focuses on Mideast and sports

The 2007 National Association of Broadcasters awards in Las Vegas placed particular focus on Arab broadcasting.

NAB2007 has done very well this year, with a small hike in the number of visitors from 105,046 last year to 108, 232 this year. Apart from visitor attendance, NAB also held several noteworthy sessions this year.

For the first time ever, it joined hands with a Middle East organisation to host a new session called "The Rise of the Arab Broadcasting Market: Exceptional Prospects and Resources" at NAB 2007. The session, hosted along with the Middle East Broadcast Association (MEB) attempted to look at how to advance technology and training opportunities in the Arab broadcasting space and connect firms in related industries to one of the fastest growing broadcasting markets. The session was held on April 18 in Las Vegas at the NAB venue.

"We added this programme to serve what is already one of the most active and important communities within the NAB Convention dynamic - the international business community," said Chris Brown, NAB's executive vice president of Conventions and Business Operations.

The seminar was designed to address the opportunities and resources available for business leaders looking to expand their businesses in the Middle East, which, according to an analysis by Ernst & Young, is now the third most active regional market in the world. The seminar focused on several issues including the effects of Arab television on the broadcast industry as a whole, the factors that led to this broadcasting boom and the future of the industry.

Another first at NAB was the sports technology forum. Given the number of sports events across the world, the event, which was held in partnership with the Sports Video Group, was needed. The forum attempted to provide registrants with practical solutions to their biggest sports production challenges for all three "screens" - HD, broadband and mobile devices. "The annual NAB Show is where people come to learn how to produce the highest quality professional video, and very few areas of video production are as demanding as sports production," stated NAB president and CEO, David Rehr. "With sports content continuing to play a key role in consumer adoption of digital TV, this timely programme will focus on the unique interests of sports broadcasters, professional and college sports teams, major sports venues and sports leagues."

The one-day conference aimed to show the latest tools and techniques that could make a difference in the quality of sports productions and on the bottom line, added Ken Kerschbaumer, SVG editorial director.

Key sports network, league and technology leaders were part of the panel, which included top players from the sports broadcast and production market, thereby, providing sports content creators at all levels with the information needed to make solid buying decisions at the show.

The sessions covered how to deliver knock-out sports HD images; Sports through fibre and HDTV transmission; next-generation remote production trends, HD nonlinear editing and the need for speed, Sports surround sound and winning ways to wow the Sports broadcast viewer.

Another noteworthy event was the ATSC DTV Hot Spot2007. The theme at this year's demonstration area was "Digital Evolution.". It was showcased by the Advanced Television Systems Committee. Attendees were shown previews of a wide array of new DTV applications.

Hot spot technology demonstrations included ATSC ACAP Standard application development tools and CE solutions, A-VSB for indoor and mobile reception, ATSC receiver software and development tools, distributed transmission test generator and analyser, an advanced DTV multicasting service, D-ENG return channel capabilities, ATSC Software Data Download Standard and broadcast monitor, and home networking.

Discussions also centered around newer technologies such as Mobile TV and IPTV, and how traditional media players were gradually planning their entry into their new markets.

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