NAB Show wrapup

If you’ve listened to this week’s podcast you know that I have spent the week in lovely Las Vegas Nevada. I’m here for the annual NAB convention. NAB, the National Association of Broadcasters, is the trade show and lobbying organization for… well… broadcasters. The show is a long one, stretching from Sunday until Thursday. This was the first time Solid Signal’s been here and here’s what I observed.

No one attacked me but…

My biggest concern was unfounded. With all the things I’ve said over the years about content providers, I was worried there would be a mob enforcer at the door, funded by local broadcasters. That didn’t happen and in retrospect it was probably silly to think it would.

However, I did see plenty of old friends. Several of our technology partners have been participating in this show for years. I saw familiar faces as well as companies I’ve known for years. Surprisingly, I actually felt welcome.

I made new friends

Most of the time was spent in productive conversations with new potential vendors. If you’ve spent time at lately, you know we’ve added over 10,000 new parts of interest to commercial installers, industrial and facility managers, and broadcasters. This was a great opportunity to learn about new products that I hope to be able to tell you about in the future.

The show floor wasn’t what I thought.

The show takes up the entire Las Vegas Convention Center, making it physically the same size as the main exhibits of CES. However, it was a much quieter and much more laid back affair. Some of that is probably due to the actual days I spent there. If I had been there on Sunday when the show floor opened I might have seen more action. Instead, what I saw were wide aisles and plenty of people at every booth who had time to talk to me.

I did expect there to be more of a focus on programming which there wasn’t. I’ve been led to believe those deals take place behind closed doors, but I sort of expected to see minor celebrities wandering the hall or sitting in booths trying to attract attention. I saw none of this. Maybe that was something on the first day of the show but by midweek I couldn’t even see anyone at the Steve Harvey or Nate Berkus level.

ATSC3? Where are you?

I was expecting the show to be positively buzzing with ATSC3 hardware but realistically, there was barely any discussion of the potential next broadcast standard other than the press releases I shared with you this week. I’m not sure why and the people I spoke to at the show couldn’t tell me either.

About trade shows in general, though

This year’s CES seemed positively placid compared to previous years, and while the news said there were only about 25,000 fewer attendees, it seemed like there were quite a bit less. I think that the days when you come and spend several days in a row at a trade show are probably over, and a show like NAB which is open for 5 days will probably rethink that strategy over time. Thursday attendance especially seemed pretty scarce. It meant that parking was easy to get and there were plenty of people to talk to, but it probably wasn’t worth the rent on the hall for the people at NAB.

After all, this isn’t 1989. People don’t need to come to a place to see a keynote speaker, experience something they can share, or meet up with prospective business contacts. The NAB had a large part in building the future we all live in, and now I guess their trade show is suffering for it. But, that’s progress and you can’t ignore it.

Hard to know if I’ll report from another NAB Show but if so, I’ll give you the full rundown then!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.