If you care what’s going to be on TV in the next day or two, look at an issue of TV Guide. If you care what’s going to be on TV in the next five or ten years, take a look at what went down at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show that took place last month in Las Vegas.
The annual NAB conference is like a Consumer Electronics Show that only features TV and video innovations. Television and online video are no longer competing against each other, they’re turning into each other. High-tech innovations like digital TV networks, IP-enabled televisions, and over-the-top boxes are blurring the line between TV and Internet. Heck, many of us already watch TV over the Internet, or surf the web using a television set. The Internet and television are learning to play nicely together because they no longer see one another as a threat.
Even with all the growth in digital and online media, audiences are not watching less television. They’re actually watching more TV – they are just tending to watch it over Internet-connected devices.
MP4 IS NOW THE MOST POPULAR VIDEO FILE FORMAT
One of the most interesting things to come out of the NAB 2012 show was not a 3DTV set or some space-age cloud-computing webcam, but the findings of an survey. A study by Sorenson Media released at the NAB conference revealed that MP4 is the new favorite video file format among video producers. If you want a video player that works reliably on your computer, your phone, and your tablet, then you’re going to want a media player compatible with MP4 video.
The study surveyed hundreds of thousands of video professionals, and found that 69 percent of video producers use MP4 files as their format for web video. Similarly, 58 percent said they use MP4 video as their format for mobile devices. Flash video came in second place for both web and mobile. The emerging HTML5 Internet standard placed as the third most common delivery vehicle for mobile videos.
BEST GADGETS OF THE NAB TRADE SHOW: CAMERAS, DISC-TO-DIGITAL CONVERSION
There were also plenty of 3DTV sets and other hot gadgets and gizmos represented at the conference. One of the most talked about products that premiered was the Padcaster, a DSLR lens that mounts to your iPad. The contraption looks quite unconventional when an enormously large prosumer camera lens is attached to the sleek and thin iPad via this mounting board. The capabilities, however, are phenomenal – videographers can shoot 1080p HD video, and then use a software editing program to edit the footage right there on the iPad. This creates an all-in-one package for shooting, editing, and delivering high definition video.
Another big buzz creator was the new disc-to-digital technology, allowing consumers to take their own DVD or Blu-Ray discs and convert them to a digital format. Digital entertainment company Rovi announced at NAB a service that allows consumers to perform this conversion at home themselves. Walmart had inked a deal in March that offers customers a disc-to-digital conversion service in its stores, but Rovi’s solution is something consumers can do at home.
SOCIAL TV BRINGS SOCIAL NETWORKING TO YOUR TV SCREEN
Perhaps you’ve heard of Google TV, an app-rich television platform providing on-demand viewing and more. Companies are betting on a similar viewing experience innovation called Social TV that allows people to participate in social networking activities while watching TV. Initial social television concepts have included chatting, video conferencing, or submitting ratings while viewing a particular show.
Television manufacturers have much bigger ideas for social TV, and several were seen on the NAB display floor. The bloggers at Lost Remote – the first blog to cover the NAB conference – rounded up the most impressive social tv apps and technology they saw at NAB. Among these are “second screen” technologies that let viewers follow Twitter or Facebook commentary about the show they’re currently watching, and receive instant, personalized graphics like the captions and news crawls we see on cable news channels.
At the rate technology is moving, one thing is certain – it’s likely that you will be able to access your social network while watching broadcast television sooner than you will be able to watch the film “The Social Network” on broadcast television.