In Depth

Saving Money on Mobile Video

Vendors Cut Prices to Drive Business

With travel budgets slashed and a big drop in attendance anticipated, exhibitors at the upcoming National Association of Broadcasters convention plan to cater to the times with lower-priced products.

NAB stalwarts such as Sony and Panasonic intend to showcase reduced-price cameras.

Sony, for one, plans to demonstrate a lower-priced line of high-definition equipment for TV stations and also plans to introduce several new camcorder units.

Competitor Panasonic will tout a new hi-def camcorder at a reduced price. The equipment maker introduced the camera earlier this year and announced NBC Universal had committed to use it at its stations.

NAB veteran Grass Valley will show a series of new HD and slo-mo cameras, along with production servers, hi-def editing systems and a new line of equipment for mobile video technology.

In fact, mobile video will play a key role at the show as broadcasters explore ways to send broadcast signals to portable and handheld devices.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition, a consortium of U.S. broadcasters including NBC, Fox, Gannett, Sinclair and Ion, will host a series of events and sessions to demonstrate how open standards work for broadcasters using mobile technology.

At the event, the group plans to demonstrate how broadcasters can use their digital spectrum for mobile video, from content to encoding to transmission. Essentially, mobile DTV lets broadcasters deliver live, local and national over-the-air digital TV on mobile and portable devices such as cell phones, laptops, portable video players, game players and others. Mobile DTV enables such revenue streams for broadcasters as location-based services, transaction services and advanced features for accessing on-demand programming and recorded shows.

“Broadcasters will begin deployment of mobile DTV services in late 2009, and the opportunities for this new medium, like DVR, PPV and VOD, on a multitude of devices, like cell phones, laptops and automotive units, are endless,” said Anne Schelle, executive director of the coalition.

The coalition said 63 stations in 22 markets covering 35% of U.S. television households have committed to rolling out mobile DTV services this year. The group will announce more partners at NAB.

Also present on the show floor will be software-centric companies like video search service Everyzing. The company will demonstrate how TV stations can post live or archived video and audio feeds using cloud computing, which refers to Internet-based technology that stores content and information on the Internet.

Cloud computing holds great promise to expand storage capacity for broadcasters and their archives. EveryZing also will announce additional station partners at NAB.

NAB regulars Adobe and Avid also will be on hand in Las Vegas. Adobe will showcase a number of tools, including integration with the high-end RED camera, while Avid will tout its post-production and editing equipment.