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ABSOLUTELY NAB-ULOUS: A rundown of NAB Show 2019

Springtime has sprung in Las Vegas, and you know what that means: seasonal allergies (achoo!). The end of hibernation for Mojave Max, everybody’s favorite desert tortoise. And, finally, the celebrated return of the National Association of Broadcasters — i.e., NAB — trade show, taking over the Las Vegas Convention Center and other local venues April 6-11. (Show tagline: “Where Content Comes to Life.”)

Mighty palm trees from little seeds grow, as the saying (sort of) goes, and NAB is no exception. An annual Las Vegas staple for nearly three decades, NAB is the world’s largest convention encompassing the convergence of media, entertainment and technology. But the expo, now among the city’s largest, bloomed from modest roots.

Read on for a primer on the history and highlights of the NAB show:

A show is born: The first NAB convention was held in conjunction with the National Radio Show in October 1923 at the Commodore Hotel in New York City. The inaugural event drew a whopping — wait for it — 23 people to sessions that included “The Future of Broadcasting” and “A Manufacturer’s View of Broadcasting.” NAB has sponsored conventions each year since, though during World War II they were limited in size and scope and, in 1945, convention plans were abandoned at the request of the War Department.

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada: In its early years, the peripatetic NAB floated from city to city, making stops in Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. The show first came to Las Vegas in 1975, where President Gerald Ford addressed the convention. That was also the year that the first solid-state broadcast transmitters were marketed. NAB eventually settled down in Las Vegas for good in 1991; that year’s show drew 51,200 attendees.

News at NAB: Among the innovations unveiled, products and companies launched, and cool happenings at NAB in Las Vegas over the years were:

· 1996 Panasonic introduces a very small, lightweight liquid-crystal display monitor that weighed less than one pound and cost $450
· 1996 Exhibitors showcase a variety of HDTV broadcasting equipment (high-definition broadcasting began in the U.S. that year)
· 1998 Launch of Apple Final Cut Pro, a nonlinear video editing software program that has since become a market leader
· 1998 Launch of Red Digital, a camera company that today bills itself as the leading manufacturer of professional digital cinema cameras
· 2010 Opening features a live greeting from astronauts aboard the International Space Station
· 2011 Launch of Cameron-Pace Group, cofounded by film director James Cameron and Vince Pace, now an industry leader in 3D technologies and production services

Presidential presence: A number of sitting U.S. presidents have spoken at NAB over the years, including Ronald Reagan, who at the 1982 convention became the first president to be broadcast in HDTV. Other presidential guests in Las Vegas and other cities:

• Dwight D. Eisenhower
• John F. Kennedy
• Lyndon Johnson
• Richard Nixon
• Gerald Ford
• Jimmy Carter

NAB 2019 is bringing:

• 91,460 registered attendees to Las Vegas
• $132.1 million economic impact
• More than 1,600 companies displaying their wares across 1 million net square feet of exhibit space
• More than 650 international exhibitors and 24,096 international attendees from 160 countries
• More than 200 first-time NAB exhibitors

Giving back: In addition to benefiting Las Vegas economically, NAB 2019 is raising money for a good cause. The show hosted the 4K 4Charity Fun Run on April 9 at Sunset Park, to benefit Girls Who Code, a nonprofit that aims to close the gender gap in technology.

The big debut: Among the new features at this year’s NAB:

• Esports Experience, showcasing the latest online gaming trends and including a live gaming component.
• AI+Cloud Campus, exploring advancements in AI and cloud technologies
• Destination 5G, focusing on edge and cloud computing
• In-Vehicle Experience, demonstrating consumption and delivery opportunities available with autonomous vehicles
• ATSC 3 Academy, presenting the latest information on Next Gen TV

Familiar faces: NAB features some of the world’s leading brands. Among them:

• Google
• Sony
• Facebook
• Vimeo
• Amazon Web Services
• Microsoft
• Panasonic
• Blackmagic Design

All around the town: While the Las Vegas Convention Center serves as NAB’s primary home, affiliated events such as awards shows, workshops and meetings will be held at other venues, including Renaissance Las Vegas, Westgate Las Vegas, Aria hotel-casino, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn.


To offer feedback on this story or suggestions for future stories on Las Vegas Newswire, contact Managing Editor Steve Bornfeld at SBornfeld@lvcva.com.

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