NAB Show Preview: Beyond the buzzwords, other trends to focus on

While obvious themes like FAST and AI are expected to dominate the conversation, several other trends and technologies are poised to be key priorities at the 2024 NAB Show

As broadcasters and media companies navigate the rapidly evolving landscape, they explore innovative solutions to streamline operations, enhance content security and deliver immersive experiences to audiences.

Cloud archiving and content security take center stage

Sam Peterson, COO of BitCentral, emphasizes the importance of cloud archiving in driving business operation efficiencies and unlocking new revenue growth opportunities.

“Cloud archiving plays a huge role in driving business operation efficiencies and unlocking new avenues for revenue growth, making it one of the most exciting, versatile and budget-friendly investments,” said Peterson.

In addition to cloud archiving, content security is a growing concern for organizations in a data-heavy world.

“Organizations are looking at ways to make more conscious decisions that mitigate content security risks in a data-heavy world. Bitcentral will be at the forefront of these conversations, educating attendees on the ever-changing nature of vulnerabilities, evolving security measures and adopting best practices,” added Peterson.

Remote production and the cloud are at the heart of shaping cleaner workflows and producing high-quality content. Although there is a preconception among M&E companies that the cloud can be viewed simply as a convenient storage hub, its potential goes far beyond that, playing a key part in actively generating revenue and driving business operations.

“Changing that mindset has been an important step,” said Peterson, addressing the challenges media companies face in integrating cloud technology within their current strategies.

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Transitioning from SDI to IP and the rise of ST 2110

Simon Clark, Telestream’s CTO, highlights the transition from SDI to IP and the rapid adoption of the ST 2110 standard as key trends redefining the content creation infrastructure. 

“As an industry, we must streamline all these processes to accommodate accelerated production and distribution demands from today’s audiences in a multi-platform, multi-distribution environment,” said Clark.

As media organizations face unprecedented broadcast and video production challenges, streamlining processes to accommodate accelerated production and distribution demands is crucial.

The speed at which companies are embracing the ST 2110 standard is a testament to the willingness to adapt to the changing landscape. Moreover, streaming platforms are fueling an unprecedented content creation boom, supplemented by audiences’ voracious appetites for diverse, high-quality streaming content.

“As live production moves to the cloud, companies will have many opportunities to innovate and expand their services as live production becomes more accessible, collaborative and cost-effective,” added Clark, emphasizing the potential for growth.

NextGen TV and the need for streamlined ATSC 3.0 operations

With NextGen TV expected to reach 75 percent of US households by early this year, the demand for ATSC 3.0 solutions to enhance efficiency, maximize revenue opportunities and ensure an interactive television experience has reached a critical juncture.

Ralph Bachofen, VP of sales and marketing at Triveni Digital, emphasizes the challenges faced by station engineers in managing the complexities of NextGen TV services.

“Station engineers are struggling with the intricate complexities of managing NextGen TV services. They need immediate solutions to streamline the configuration, control and monitoring of the ATSC 3.0 broadcast chain and save time on critical tasks,” said Bachofen.

Broadcasters in an ATSC 3.0 channel sharing environment must gain full control over their allotted ATSC 3.0 bandwidth to optimize video quality, digital rights management and the delivery of revenue-generating services such as datacasting. 

The transformative potential of virtual production

Marcus Brodersen, Pixotope CEO, notes the growing impact of virtual production on the broadcast industry. By leveraging virtual set extensions and augmented reality (AR), creators can create immersive experiences that captivate audiences worldwide while reducing logistical complexities and costs associated with traditional production methods.

“Virtual production enables the creation of visually stunning content while reducing the logistical complexities and costs associated with traditional production methods,” said Brodersen.

Virtual production has rapidly transitioned from a novel concept to an essential tool in content creation. This shift is driven by the technology’s ability to offer unprecedented creative freedom, combined with greater operational efficiency. For broadcasters, the advantages are clear: virtual production enables the creation of visually stunning content while reducing the logistical complexities and costs associated with traditional production methods.

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Brodersen also highlights the potential for virtual production to open up new avenues for advertising revenue.

“As viewers continue to demand more experiential content, broadcasters can leverage virtual production to expand audience market share and introduce new creative, lucrative advertising that significantly grows their revenue stream. The result is clever advertising that seamlessly flows through programming, keeping audiences dialed in without jarring commercial breaks,” he added.

The adoption of virtual production does come with challenges, including the need for specialized skills and the initial setup investment. However, the long-term benefits—such as cost savings, increased flexibility and the ability to produce content that was previously unimaginable—far outweigh these hurdles. 

The rise of Extended Reality (XR) in the living room

Mrugesh Desai, VP North America at Accedo, believes that the integration of Extended Reality (XR) technology by Pay TV operators and media companies is set to revolutionize the living room experience. XR allows individuals to step into a collective virtual environment where they can interact with others, fostering a lively and interactive media landscape.

“Through the adoption of XR, providers can transform how consumers interact with video content and the broader sphere of media interaction,” said Desai.

The consumption of media has largely been a passive activity, but XR technology is on the verge of bringing significant change to this dynamic. 

Sustainability in the streaming industry

Xavier Leclercq, VP of business development at Broadpeak, emphasizes the importance of sustainability in the context of the streaming industry’s environmental impact and long-term viability. With streaming exploding, the industry needs to leverage more efficient systems to deliver the experiences that consumers demand while minimizing its carbon footprint.

“Initiatives like the Streaming Video Technology Alliance’s Open Caching are key examples and we are eager to see how widely these efforts are being embraced and discussed in Las Vegas,” said Leclercq.

The workshops and trainings organized by Media Tech Sustainability Series (MTSS), dedicated to educating professionals about sustainable practices, underscore a shift towards greener, more sustainable streaming solutions.

These reflect a growing awareness within the industry of its responsibility to minimize its carbon footprint and ensure its practices are as environmentally sustainable as possible, without compromising on quality or accessibility for consumers.

From cloud archiving and content security to the adoption of NextGen TV and the rise of virtual production, media organizations are exploring innovative solutions to streamline operations, enhance viewer experiences and ensure long-term sustainability.