The Centennial Edition of the National Association of Broadcasters conference, the NAB Show, will take place April 15–19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. NAB represents America’s broadcasters, conducting studies, analyzing legislation and regulations, and serving as a forum for new technology. First in radio, then television and now into the metaverse, the NAB Show is the world’s largest gathering of electronic media professionals and innovators. Although its name starts with “national,” the show draws creatives and new technology from all over the world.
This year’s show will include approximately 1,200 exhibitors, expected to occupy more than 575,000 square feet of the LVCC. To make navigating the massive show easier, exhibitors will be organized into thematic zones, including Create, Connect, Capitalize, and Intelligent Content. Companies attending range from brand-new startups to names known all over the world such as Adobe, Sony, Microsoft, Dell, and Verizon.
Past shows have attracted upwards of 100,000 visitors, and celebrities such as Drew Carey, Alan Alda, Jerry Lewis, John Cryer, and Ang Lee. This year’s attendance is expected to top that number.
How NAB Began
The National Association of Broadcasters began in 1923, in Chicago, as a meeting of representatives from 16 radio stations. Over the past century, it grew to include television, then the internet. Companies from all over the world attend. They display and demonstrate new products and technologies, using interactive exhibits and live demonstrations.
In honor of its 100th anniversary, NAB built the NAB 100 website. It takes you through the highlights, excitement and history of this event and its related technology. The site includes stories by past participants, and if you are an NAB veteran, you can add your own story to the site.
My favorite part of the NAB 100 website is the interactive timeline. It begins with the founding of RCA in 1919, and includes events such as President Franklin Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats and Jack Benny’s radio debut. The timeline links to videos ranging from the pilot for Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life, and the launch of American Top 40 with Casey Kasem, up to the world’s mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth.
Where It’s Going
Internet technology has been a focus of recent NAB shows. This year will feature sessions and exhibits on Web3, data and analytics, generative AI, the metaverse, blockchain, and NFTs. But don’t worry. If you’d rather just watch your TV, the NAB Show will explore next-generation TV known as ATSC 3.0. There will even be technologies aimed at making sports broadcasts interactive so you can choose your point of view.
And then there is streaming. According to NAB this will be the largest showcase of its kind. Over 50 streaming video platforms and devices will be demonstrated, including smart TVs, streaming boxes, game consoles, and probably your phone. You will be able to conduct side-by-side tests to compare services and hardware.
If you can’t make it to the live show, but are interested in broadcast technology or what may pop up next on your TV or computer, you can watch NAB Show Live. It will feature product demonstrations, interviews, and other show highlights. The live broadcast will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. PDT, April 15 to 18. On the last day of the show, April 19, it will broadcast from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. PDT.
For more information about the National Association of Broadcasters and future NAB events, check www.nab.org or www.nabshow.com.