The BDR

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... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    

IBC 2012

 

Some impressions from IBC, Amsterdam 2012

Updated 9/20/12

[9/8/12]  It is hard to decide what is the first thing you notice about going to the IBC in Amsterdam. For such a large city - a major tourist place - IBC (The International Broadcast Conference) still just overwhelms things. The hospitality of the city is clearly evident.

The welcome is clear. The city is glad to have broadcasters.

It started with a free shuttle from the airport to the RAI Convention Center.

And, every attendee was offered a free pass for the local transit (Take that, Las Vegas Monorail!).

As a result, IBC attendees are encouraged to travel around the city and taste its different restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

 

The main squares are full of life at 10 PM - and beyond - not harmed by the lovely weather this week: 75 and mostly sunny.

 

AT THE RAI Convention Center

This is no insignificant show.

According to IBC, 50,937 attendees visited some 1400 exhibitors in 14 halls. While I did not see the number of "tiny" booths we see at CES and NAB, there were a lot of exhibitors. On the floor were some names familiar to Americans - Jampro, Nautel, Myat, Nautel, BE, Orban, Telos Sytems, Axia, Omnia, BW Broadcast, and more.

 

However, to be totally candid, these were surpassed by the international companies from all over Europe, Asia, and other places, that come to the IBC.

   

The IBC site was filled with courtesy "stewards," who were more interested in helping than keeping people out. Most of them spoke English quite well. And, on the first night, IBC even threw a reception for attendees. The rooms were packed with folks enjoying the provided entertainment, food, and drinks. There was no doubt the city and convention center were glad to see the IBC.

I only got to spend two days at IBC, so I focused on Hall 8, where most of the radio broadcast gear was displayed (As at NAB, television was dominant. There was also a number of Internet oriented displays). I even was able to visit with the folks from Nautel as they were setting up. Right away I noticed there was something going on.
 

   

It was interesting to see that Nautel chose Amsterdam to debut their new LPTV transmitter, the NT100.

John Whyte and Chuck Kelly proudly showed off their new product.

The NT100 is Nautel's first venture outside of radio ... but it is using much of what Nautel has developed over the year, both in technology as well as customer service and support.

 

Some of the exhibits mirrored what we had seen at NAB in April.

 

But, as just mentioned with Nautel, some new products were displayed. Deva Broadcast, a Bulgarian company has produced some stunning products at very affordable prices, including their brand new modulation analyzer, the DB4004.

 

Much more than a modulation monitor, between the local and computer displays there is not a whole lot you would be unable to find out about your - or your neighbor's - RF package.

 

 

 

Over at BW Broadcast, they announced that their DSPX audio processor will now be included in their transmitter line.

 

 

 

 

 

Similar to what is found at many conventions, there are some program sessions. But their number is much lower and they are more focused on issues that affect the larger broadcast community. This year, a large percentage of the sessions dealt with issues related to television and/or streaming.

Several times, I took advantage of the free city transport card to wander about the city. Trips up to Leidenplein and Rembrantsplein - sort of the "tourist central" area away from the central railway station area - led me to whole squares and streets filled with restaurants of all sorts, from Argentinian steakhouses to Indonesian restaurants and their famous "rijstafel" (rice table), which is sort of a "tasting tour" of as many as 20 little dishes of foods from Indonesia.

 

 

Of course, you can get almost anything from BBQ ribs to the ubiquitous Micky-D and Burger King offerings.

General menu pricing ranged from quite modest (one restaurant offered what patrons described as "quite good ribs" for $12) to somewhat high by our standards (meals at McDonalds and Burger King seemed to easily top $10 or so for the typical things Americans might order - a .5 liter bottle of Coke might easily cost $3.) 

One evening I enjoyed a Pepper Steak dinner with salad, vegetables and fries, for $20, tax and service (tip), included. Other options included a 200 gram steak for $40

 

Everywhere there are people on bicycles and while the tourists spots are crowded, the city as a whole is very pleasant to wander around in. There are well-marked bike lanes, and literally hundreds of bikes might be parked by the train station.

 

 

Evenings were busy. In addition to the IBC party, companies such as Dalet also through some very nice get-togethers, not unlike some of the parties after-hours at NAB.

 

 

 

One note, if you are thinking of going to IBC next year and combining it with a vacation, for example. Perhaps the most difficult part of the visit was - and not entirely because I only decided to attend at the last minute - hotels. Rooms are so tight that rooms that are normally 50 Euros a night are often 250 Euros, or more. Hotels start at about 225 Euros this week and head past 750, so far as I have seen. Anything under 200 Euros (about $270) is considered a bargain. Even a room not much larger than the bed!  At least you do get a pretty substantial breakfast.



 

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