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DVD Insider: NAB Buzz Mergers, HD, H.264

The Next Big Storage Bucket By Miles Weston

NAB (National Association of Broadcasting) is all about TV, movies and radio technology, applications and profits.  But it was profits that hogged the spotlight right from the start this year.

Merger Spotlight
Adobe started the show off with a bang by announcing the purchase of Macromedia for $3.4 billion.  Now that was a stealth deal that caught everyone with their socks down.  Both are very well-run, highly healthy companies.  There was no rush to the altar, so why do it?

The price seems to be a little stiff, but heck, if you dont have to sell, you raise the price bar.  For the 800-lb gorilla in its market space, it was a smart move by Adobe because they saw Microsoft drooling over the Web and wireless space.  Macromedia is strong in this arena and the combination gives them a giant leap forward, so maybe just maybe it was cheap at that price!

Avids acquisition of Pinnacle had a lot of people asking questions but no one was talking because of SEC regulations.  All their people would say is, ?Hey, this is going to be great for you, the customer, so dont worry well be here for you. 

The same was true for InterVideos slow takeover of Ulead.  Lots of questions?no answers.

The joining of Adobe/Macromedia makes sense and we dont see people missing a beat in their applications.  It probably even helped some people sign on with Adobe and Macromedia rather than Microsoft because those folks really know video and audio as well as how to get content produced and delivered.  MS is a work in progress?at best!

But it has to have caused people looking at Pinnacle and Ulead solutions to think twice and perhaps even shelve (or switch) orders.  Its tough for people in any organization that has been purchased to look you in the eye and say with a straight face that the products you are considering will be there after the ink dries, and so will they. 

Yeah?right! 

The HD Year
If you want to see what consumers will be using and hearing/viewing in two years you visit Las Vegas for the April NAB.  It was only about three years ago that 80% of the floor was all about big iron sales (stuff to networks, production companies and the bigger stations around the globe).  Companies that appeared to be more comfortable at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held twenty percent of the space.

Today the big iron boys look out of place and the products for corporate production, small stations, event videographers, independent production operations and ?first in my neighborhood folks dominated the show.  It is really tough for them to relate to people who have budgets of $10 - $25K instead of a half-mil. 

Fat budgets have disappeared but the 2-hour gala press conferences havent!

Sony and Panasonic made their price/performance breakthrough camera announcements with High Def units at a ?spectacularly low priced cameras that broke the $6,000 price barrier (whooppee!!).  Both proudly declared that their approach would be the standard for the industry in the coming years.  Both will probably be about $2,500 next year and in two years high-end consumers will be buying them for a ?mere $1,500.

But the quality of the imagery made the guys and gals drool. 

Adobe, Avid, Sony, Apple, Sonic and hundreds of smaller add-in/add-on/plug-in suppliers wowed the crowds with their new High Def software products.  It is flat amazing what $1 - $2,000 worth of software can do in the right hands.  Its no wonder that Sundance has grown so much in the past couple of years with really great movies produced by independents who scrape together the bucks and talent to make some outstanding entertainment. 

Thats why the audio and video market has grown beyond networks and Hollywood.  The hot segments today seem to be religion, healthcare, education/training, businesses of all sizes and community cable companies.  Why not?  For ten to fifteen grand and a lot of dedicated work they are in business. 

Hollywood could be well on its way to being nothing more than distributors and huge content libraries. 

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Related Keywords:NAB, mergers, HD, H.264, Macromedia, Adobe, Avid, Pinnacle, Intervideo, Ulead, Miles Weston

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