NAB Show 2013: 4K, Fan Wars, And The Rise Of Micro-Broadcast


This week, we packed our bags for Vegas. NAB Show is where the world’s broadcasters, producers, video pros, and and digital groups come together to talk about what’s next for media.

So, then, what is next?

Eric Klinker, our CEO, sat down with thought-leaders from Forrester, IBM, Akamai, and Aspera to talk about broadcast’s digital disruption. Here’s the deal – from the panel, and from the floor.

The 4K future: seeing and believing in UHD

We heard it at CES, and we heard it again this week: the future is 4K. There were dedicated panels and sessions on UHD; there were 4K products everywhere on the floor. Here in Vegas, it’s arrived. The question remains: how are we going to deliver it?

The good news is, we’re getting closer to real, viable ways of broadcasting in ultra high-def. The better news is, unlike 3D: no glasses. At BitTorrent, we’re already modeling 4K delivery over the BitTorrent protocol in our Labs. Intel announced Thunderbolt, a new controller designed to enable 20Gbps transfer. For people producing in 4K, and for people producing 4K devices, scalable UHD broadcast isn’t out of reach.

The emerging turf war: why owning your fan base matters

Out loud, or unspoken; underneath every conversation was the looming power struggle between content providers, content owners, and content consumers. More people are cutting cords. More people are rationing attention. More people are splitting screens. Paul Fieg, in his session, articulated it best: “Nobody under 35 cares. There’s no loyalty”.

They are, however, incredibly loyal to content creators. Viewers have given second lives to cult shows, like Arrested Development. The Kickstarter paradigm has helped countless films get off the ground, and gain distribution. True a la carte broadcasting may be a pipe dream, but direct to fan models have an increasingly significant role in the conversation.

The next big thing is little: the rise of micro-broadcasting.

During the Digital Disruption session, we talked about BitTorrent Live: empowering HD live streaming to anyone (and everyone) with an Internet connection. The infrastructure is there. The equipment is there; 90% of Americans own computerized devices. And broadcast tools; edit kits and cameras, are increasingly mobile, agile, and affordable. We were a just a little bit captivated by this one, announced at the show: a sub-$1K pocket cam that shoots cinema quality.

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