E-topia exhibit hall showcases the future of broadcasting

Apr 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Imagine a place where the newest technologies coexist seamlessly. That’s the idea behind the National Association of Broadcasters’ convention’s E-topia, the first exhibit hall completely dedicated to showcasing the newest-to-market technologies in electronic media. Exhibitors will demonstrate how they are taking products from the concept stage to reality.
More than 250 exhibitors will be featured in the E-topia hall at the Sands Expo. Technologies on display will range from broadband to streaming to wireless. “These are primarily new companies in the new media area, with some of the newer technologies we’ll all be using a few years from now,” said John Marino, vice president of science and technology at NAB.
An Interactive Living Pavilion, produced in partnership with the TV-Anytime Forum, will demonstrate just how those future technologies will be used, from content origination in the studio to the point where that content will be received in the living room of the future.
In the pavilion, 10 companies will demonstrate interactive products and how they relate to consumers and broadcasters. “It’s a way to show how interactivity is going to be a part of everyone’s future,” said Mr. Marino.
The TV-Anytime Forum, a consortium of companies developing standards for the use of high-capacity digital storage in consumer devices, will also have a kiosk in the pavilion where attendees can learn more about the forum’s goals and activities as well as the status of the standards development effort.
E-topia’s exhibitors include U.K.-based Future TV (booths E3845 and E5011), which will be announcing a new universal platform for interactive television. The company will also release details of new strategic alliances with known hardware manufacturers from both the server and client sides.
“We are very much about personalization of the television experience,” said Chris Travers, CEO of Americas at Future TV. “Based on profiles, our software can suggest proactively programming and content interests for viewers based on their previous history.”
Mr. Travers said the NAB convention remains an important event for people in and around television, broadcasting, cable and technology. “We felt that it was very important to be represented [at NAB]. “It’s the first opportunity for us to show off our new products.”
Microsoft TV will be making its appearance at the show. Look for its platform in the Interactive Living Pavilion, in the theater of the main Microsoft booth (Booth E5011) as well as the booths of some of its partners.
“It’s very interesting to see how much importance interactive TV and that whole area is gaining with these more traditional shows,” said Ed Graczyk, director of marketing for the Microsoft TV platform group. “You’re seeing it much more broadly throughout the show as more and more companies are getting involved in this. No matter where you walk in the floor, you’re going to see and hear more and more about ITV.”
Vertigo Multimedia (Booth E3147), will be at NAB primarily to demonstrate the newest version of its Producer on Air software. Already used by companies such as CNN and NBC, the product allows broadcasters to simultaneously deploy interactive content for live television, broadband Internet, streaming video, interactive TV and wireless devices.
The company will make some partnership announcements as well as demonstrate its support for the Microsoft TV Interactive television platform. Many of Vertigo’s partners, including Pinnacle Systems, PixelPower, Discrete and Getris, will be demonstrating product compatibility.
“We’re there to demonstrate that yes, we do indeed support these other systems,” said Maria Porco, vice president of business development at Vertigo. “You can see them in action at the booth and partner booths. That’s very powerful for us and very important for our customers.”
Enreach Technology will be showcasing its television-based software, which provides a full suite of interactive services, such as broadband video streaming, interactive television, personal television and Internet communications.
“We want to show the service provider how they can deliver interactive media services today,” said David Cong, vice president of product marketing and business development at Enreach. “We have been talking about interactive TV for so long that what’s really needed is for people to see it put into action instead of just talking about concept and prototype.”
What’s an E-topia without a little amusement and refreshment? Attendees will find both in the Cyber Cave, a special area where technology meets entertainment. Sponsored by Panasonic, the Cyber Cave will offer video games, a home theater and e-mail stations. There, you can plop down in a blow-up chair, grab a snack and relax before continuing with the rest of the show. And if the show leaves you breathless, there will even be an oxygen bar to help you catch your breath.