Broadcasters' Desktop Resource

... edited by Barry Mishkind - the Eclectic Engineer    



Some memories of NAB 2010:

[4-20-10]  The 2010 NAB Spring show was, by most any reasonable measure, a success. Attendance was up from 2009 by approximately 5500 ... and most of the exhibitors were pleased with the traffic from the reported 88,044 attendees.

While things did slow down after Noon on Wednesday - and Thursday was fairly slim - there was plenty to justify the trip to Las Vegas.  Between the exhibits and the tech sessions (below), there was a lot to fill the week.

On the floor
The Lunch Gathering
The Engineering Lunch
Tech Sessions

Frustration on the way home - and a sight to see

As has been mentioned, the North Hall is no longer the Radio Hall. While many had expected the radio exhibitors to be diffused around the site, the West end of the Central Hall had a large part of what we usually called the Radio Hall and navigation became pretty easy after short order.

Most of the exhibitors reported the foot traffic was good, at least for the most part. In fact, some of the manufacturers said they did a lot more business than even they expected.

Sometimes one phone was just not enough!

From all appearances, the radio industry is seeking an uptick in business and purchases. Of course, not all stations and companies are out of the financial woods as yet. But indications are that tech budgets are starting to loosen up.


Every NAB show has its share of new product releases. Even with the difficult year behind us, more than a few manufacturers came through and displayed new or upgraded products. Expect to see more information on this gear, right here on the BDR site.

The VS Series from Nautel continues the evolution of building the transmitter base into a complete system.

Peter Conlon displays three new Nautel transmitters

Not only does the VS contain IP connections for remote control and diagnosis, but it also will accept digital input (Livewire) and a built-in processor card - essentially an Orban 5500. Touted as cost and space efficient, it kept the Nautel booth buzzing all week.

A completely new processor on display was the Omnia 11. (The 11 could also be read as II - a fitting appellation as it is a very interesting re-think to the processing packages offered in recent years.)

Frank Foti and Cornelius Gould show off the Omnia 11

From the front end to the limiter, Mr. Foti and friends have delivered a very attractive product. Additionally, sister companies Axia and Telos brought to the show their new iQ console/routing system and the Telos VX broadcast phone system.

Over in the BW Broadcast booth, their new RX1 and RBRX1 DSP FM receivers got a lot of interest.

Scott Incz and the RX1 and RBRX1 receivers

Using the latest DSP receiver technology, over 50 parameters can be adjusted to use the receiver in many modes, from a translator input to off-air studio monitor.

Several new codecs were shown by various manufacturers, including several apps to use iPhones and iPods as field recorders for reporters and producers. Comrex' ACCESS Reporter Codec for Android phones and the Tieline Report-IT Live app for the iPhone were two such products.

The Comrex ACCESS Recorder and the Tieline Report-IT Live

BW Broadcast, Moseley, AEQ and Worldcast Systems all showed codecs to better transport audio.

Rolf Taylor explains the benefits of the APT Astral

The Moseley Rincon, the APT Astral, and the BW Broadcast IPCA1 all bring new implementations of IP audio to both connect studio and transmitter, but also offer control of the audio and demonstrate how the same platform can replace some of the functions of the traditional remote control systems.

Bill Gould with the Moseley Rincon

For a modular approach to adding more capability, the Audemat Mini Control Silver adds additional control channels as needed.

Upping the capabilities of codecs and routers, AEQ's Titan digital audio router can handle small to large audio transport needs, all the way to 5120 x 5120 frames. Also in the AEQ booth were several new products that merit the attention from broadcasters who seek high quality digital or analog consoles. Rock solid RPU gear was also in evidence.  

For many stations, getting audio in the right format can be a pain, something Henry Engineering's Multiport audio interface panel can cure. 

Going outdoors, Kintronic Labs new fully integrated, self-contained AM or FM radio transmission system in a climate-controlled weatherproof enclosure clearly can provide a quick, secure, and environmentally clean place to put a transmitter. Well thought out, there was even a shelf for the computer to sit!

Along with their other products designed around their core - phasors and ATUs, etc - the Kintronic booth was rarely without visitors.

Broadcast Electronics  showed their update to the AudioVAULT Flex automation system. Also of special interest to stations running IBOC, BE introduced its new Vector Power Enhancement (VPE) technology -  which combines a new crest factor reduction scheme and real-time distortion pre-correction - to yield up to seven percent additional transmitter efficiency and another 30 percent output power.


For 18 years, our Annual Lunch Gathering has been at the Riviera on Tuesday. Despite the economy and business climate, about 80 folks joined us for lunch.

Thanks to our co-sponsors, RCS, Shively, Comrex, and Nautel, we had some great door prizes. And everyone who came got mugged - that is, everyone got a 20-ounce coffee mug ... also useful for other beverages! <g>

Folks were invited to send pictures of the places where the mugs get to ... perhaps some interesting shots will turn up!

Steve Scarborough brought huge box of Bay Country Broadcast pocket calculators, enough for everyone.

Among the door prizes was a DSPX Mini Audio Processor, a CCrane Radio2, a Wilson Sleek Cell Phone Booster, several PowerGenix "green" rechargeable batteries that will take 1.6 Volts and last as long as Alkaline batteries, and everything from the Reimage application to "reset" a computer's system files to a "Don't Forget" sentry from Mandelbaum engineering. Dave also sent 50 rolls of EAS paper, which were quickly grabbed up.

Wednesday was the Engineering Lunch. Phil Alexander reports:

"More often than not, my expectations for functions like this are not too high, but occasionally they are - interesting, Wednesday's affair was one of the more interesting.

"The engineering achievement awards are the highlight of the technology lunch, This year Steve Church was honored for the change his invention and production of new communications hardware, beginning with the first telephone hybrid, and all the other products of Telos/Omnia that have changed the way we can air programs. Mark Richer was the TV honoree for his work leading the way to digital television at the ATSC.

"The NAB launched a new award for best technical paper presented to the Broadcast  Engineering Conference. The winner was Geoff Mendenhall of Harris.

"Keynoter, Shelly Palmer, provoked thought speaking about his perception of media's future, an unusually non-technical speech for this gathering. Condensed, his message was that communications has undergone radical change during the past twenty-seven months from the two modes we have known for the past 3000 years; 'one to one' communication which began at the dawn of human history and the 'one to many' variety that started with the Greek theater about 3000 years ago with the addition of 'many to one' and 'many to many' forms that new internet hardware, social networking and unrestricted streaming "broadcasting" have supported. 

"Palmer said he had no answer for the problem, namely that while communication media have always been dominated by scarcity making them profitable commercial enterprises, the new communication modes so expanded communications to make them plentiful, hence not economic enterprises. is  He implied the more you have, the less it is worth.

"In a way Mr. Palmer's words were technically provocative because they begged a question he skipped completely. Is there the spectrum for unlimited communications? Once we understand the implications of the new communications modes, all of us who work in media may find the answer to that question - and the governmental reaction to it -  will determine if we have media that can remain in this strange new world that seems to change almost monthly."

Over in the tech sessions, a number of topics were in play. The aspects of digital radio and IP audio were among the most interesting, but information on the current spectrum issues and frequency "grab" was provided, along with tips and tricks to cope with disaster preparedness. 

Rounding out the sessions was a series of talks on "greening" stations, something we will hear more about in coming days.

Frustration on the way home - and a sight to see

Unfortunately, the European visitors got a rather nasty surprise - the volcanic eruption in Iceland - and had to scramble for rooms and new flight schedules (some were told they'd have to wait as long as five days to get out of LV and home to Europe). If you were one of those, we hope you found a quick easy way home!

On the other hand ... during the drive home, I noticed they made some real progress on the Hoover Dam bypass bridge. It is now, finally, connected all the way across, although the roadway is not complete. Here are a couple of pix from my run.

On the way to NAB:

On the way home:


How 'bout that!




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