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NAB 2014 – the View From the UK


Typically a quarter of NAB’s visitors jet in from overseas and, if you’re in the right bar of the right hotel on the right night, you could be forgiven for thinking that the majority of them in turn are British…

Every January, the UK industry collectively shudders as it sees the first NAB preview press releases go out from the manufacturers and it realises it needs to get its skates on with quite serious alacrity. Some manufacturers lock down product launches and announcements months before the show starts, others frankly make it up on the plane on the way over, but either way they all know they have to be there. IBC might see greater numbers in terms of headcount — Amsterdam can be done as a day trip after all — but despite the distance NAB remains a cornerstone of the industry calendar.

Yes, perhaps there is nowadays more globally relevant strategic discussion about the future of the industry to be found in Amsterdam and products do get launched at tradeshows elsewhere in the world, but when it comes down to that crucial new hardware or software, the vast majority either début or are announced in Vegas. This is why so many people still go out there despite it being a long trip, an expensive one, and the risk of being trapped away from home for three weeks as an Icelandic volcano erupts as happened in 2010: NAB remains the ultimate solutions provider.

This year the interest in the UK is all about 4K and the cloud, again, and the confident expectation that there will be plenty more of each at lowering pricepoints as the technologies adapt to fit the remaining gaps in the broadcast ecosystem. There is also a lot of curiosity surrounding the established workings of the digital content providers, especially as Chromecast has just launched in the UK and we wait on next month’s Amazon set-top box. No one expects to witness the revolution this year, but seeing some evolution in action — not to mention 4K becoming a truly viable production medium — is always welcome.

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