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NAB 2003: The Mac Perspective

A preview of this week's convention of the National Association of Broadcasters By Dave Nagel
Well, it's about time for me to hop into my rented pimp-mobile, strap on my Quicksilver tortoiseshell wraparounds and head on out for my annual pilgrimage to the most-wonderful place in America--Las Vegas. That's right, the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters is nigh upon us, and this year promises to be an absolute technological extravaganza. And if the little voices in my head are correct, this year's event will also prove to be a totally Mac-tacular affair, the likes of which have not been seen since the economy went into its death-throes a few years back.

While parts of the show kick off Saturday, it won't be until Sunday when the real surprises start rolling in. That's when Apple will be holding its NAB press conference, letting the good folks in the production business know what lies ahead for us. Of course, there's been quite a bit of speculation surrounding Apple's NAB presence, accentuated further by a certain amount of strife that has emerged between them and Adobe. Apple obviously has quite a few offerings for the professional video and audio markets, including Logic Audio, which recently went into version 6, along with a few tools for video producers that have been sitting around quietly for just a little too long. I refer, of course, to Shake, Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro. As usual with Apple, only time will tell us what weapons of mass production lie dormant in Cupertino at this very moment. But, if there's anything significant to be unveiled between now and the fall, Sunday will be the day it emerges. Aside from whatever the company announces, I'll also be meeting with them on two non-consecutive occasions to bring you updates and further information. Stay tuned as we keep you informed on all of Apple's goings on.

Apple itself is just a part of the much larger Mac picture coming into focus over the course of the next week. All of the major video hardware manufacturers and developers have something lined up to show and sell. Here's a glimpse of what will be revealed.

Digital Voodoo is extending its line of HD and SD editing boards for the Macintosh. Some have already been announced, while others will be sprung upon us over the weekend and throughout the week. These include the recently announced HD|Fury and HD|Lust boards, along with SD|Greed, a 64-bit PCI board offering 10-bit uncompressed capture, playback and editing capabilities along with eight channels of AES/EBU digital audio. All of Digital Voodoo's latest product introductions have been Mac OS X-exclusive, a theme that will be common at this year's show.

AJA Video Systems will also be showing off its 10-bit video boards, including the long-standing Kona SD and the much more recent Kona HD, both, once again, Mac OS X-exclusive. The company will also be showing off an HD rackmount downconverter, a dual-rate HD/SD miniature D/A converter and other goodies that shall remain nameless for the time being.

Blackmagic Design--which develops the drivers for AJA's boards--will be showing off some of its new technologies as well, including the new release of the DeckLink 2 software and two newly announced Mac OS X capture and editing boards--DeckLink Pro and DeckLink SP. While the old DeckLink board is no longer exclusive to the Mac platform, these new boards are exclusively available for Mac OS X, at least for the time being.

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