IBC 08. Day #2

Posted By David Cox on September 13, 2008 12:00 am | Permalink
I'm back from the first full day at the show. Well, I say full day - the truth is that after the gathering I mentioned last night at The Old Bell, my head wasn't quite ready for IBC first thing, or indeed for the first couple of hours it was physically at the show. Despite this, I had a reasonably productive day. More on that later.
The gathering last night did indeed fulfil the promise of providing people from all aspects of the industry. We did solve every issue in the known world as expected and no, I can't remember what those solutions were. But they were good at the time. One thought though; there are a lot of TV journalists in this town. Every bar I go to seems to be stuffed full of them. So there must be loads of them, because I'm sure our beloved journalists don't spend all their time in bars, do they?
Having had a rant about badge placement in my blog of yesterday, I thought I would continue to find something else to rant about. Something a bit more serious though. I think trade conventions such as IBC and NAB are vital to our industry. Not just as a platform for sales but for the whole gathering thing, hangovers and all. It is therefore important, I think, that all interested parties support these conventions by playing their part.
There are some notable “headline” companies that are not present this year. Now I completely understand that having a big, impressive stand like Quantel's costs a huge amount of money, especially when the cost of staff travel, accommodation and beer is added in. I can also see that such huge sums are difficult to justify, if those marketing funds are required elsewhere.
However, these headline stands are essential to the success of the show. Without them, the crowd pulling ability of the convention would be much reduced, having a knock on effect to all the smaller stand holders that do not have the marketing budgets to access such quantities of potential customers by other means. So I think it is a responsibility of these major players to help support conventions like IBC.
With that in mind, you'll understand the annoyance – bordering on anger – from some parts because one of the major players that has decided not to support the convention this year is instead bussing people from the show to their own, cheaper demonstrations elsewhere. Clearly there is a saving for them doing this, but if all the big-boys did that, there would be no show from which to bus the non-existing crowds. So my feeling is that of course these companies have to operate as they see fit, but if they don't want to support the industry, they can't expect the industry to support them.
Rant over :-)
I did get to see some interesting things. SGO's Mistika on stand 7.C11 (www.mistika.tv) and www.sgo.es still continues to show up the larger companies, in terms of getting incredible performance from a Linux PC based system. Real time multilayer effects and colour grading at HD res and higher have been standard now for a couple of years. This year, they have added a very clever motion-estimating noise reducer that includes tools that help recognise where the estimation is struggling and instead uses spatial algorithms in that area. They also have a neat solution for delivering stereoscopic (left/right) streams from HD outputs designed for dual link connection.
I had a look at a FED (Field Emission Display) monitor on Astro Design's stand. This technology promises to supercede LCD monitors by providing superior contrast ranges and better blacks. As usual, it's pretty hard to carry out any from of detailed assessment on a convention floor, but the in-development FED display was clearly brighter and had noticeably less lag than the comparison LCD monitor set up next to it.
One other thing that caught my eye was a no-glasses, 3D display from Visumotion. I guess this uses the lenticular method which does lead to a display with lots of ghosting, so is perhaps not really (or not yet) suitable for entertainment usage, but it was certainly effective for digital signage and advertising.
Anyway enough for now. Day 3 beckons tomorrow and I have a fair few appointments to at least try and justify my expenses claim here :-)