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NAB 2006: Streaming Takes Center Stage

Proving that NAB is a show that warrants attention from the streaming media industry as well as for traditional broadcasters, several companies today announced products and services of interest.

Texas Instruments’ DaVinci technology was being pushed by several product manufacturers, including AWOX, a company specializing in home networking tools. Joining forces with Thomson, who will manufacture AWOX’s new home media server reference design, named SALAI, AWOX announced that SALAI is being labeled as an advanced digital media adaptor (DMA) is based on TI’s "fully programmable TMS320DM644x processors and TI’s WLAN development kit for consumer electronics".

Adobe announced that several major broadcasters such as E! Networks are using Adobe technologies—including a combination of Flash 8 Video, Flash interactivity technology, and Adobe’s Premiere Pro 2.0. Adobe now claims that Macromedia Flash video has now overtaken Apple’s QuickTime and RealNetworks’ RealPlayer in the delivery of Web-based streaming media traffic and today is growing faster than Windows Media Player."

On the encoder side, HaiVision and Visionary Solutions, Inc. (VSI), both showed off the products mentioned in our recent NAB preview. VSI’s Media Processing Platform is billed as a high-density, rackmount blade chassis for IPTV. ViewCast also showed off an integrated solution in its Niagara series dubbed the Niagara GoStream, designed as a single-channel, portable streaming media encoder appliance. According to ViewCast, "this compact unit can quickly go from its DualDock rack shelf in an indoor environment to outdoor, on-location events for live Webcasting."

Beyond the streaming product announcements, though, an interest in streaming pervades the entire show. In an interview with NAB2006 Daily News, recently appointed NAB President and CEO David Rehr noted that "it’s imperative that local broadcasters be on every new distribution platform." Since localization is a key differentiator of traditional broadcasters over the national superstations, Rehr notes that "modern advances in technology have created an array of additional gadgets—but they all lack local contact, [which] provides a business opportunity and potential new revenue streams" for stations.

John Marino, NAB Vice President of Science and Technology, also noted that podcasting is a hot topic.

"We try to keep our conferences as dynamic as possible, trying to follow the trends in technology," he said. "We’ve looked at these newer technologies and felt our attendees needed to know more about them. It’s not that a lot of people are making money with podcasting, but it’s a technology that’s out there."

Podcasting was explored in a Podcasting Summitt on Saturday, produced in partnership with Future Media Concepts, who—along with Adobe—is also hosting the Web and Mobile Development Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Wednesday also will be the day that IPTV takes center stage, as the IPTV World conference will deal with, according to Marino, "the actual business of IPTV and how it’s going to roll out over the next several years."

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