SVG@NAB Perspectives: Dale’s Prout Lays Out Sports Audio’s Roadmap
If the barber shop was the traditional agora for 20th century America, the trade show has become that kind of nexus for broadcast technology, which, even in an increasingly virtual environment, still relies on the ability to get hands-on with hardware when making purchasing decisions. On the exhibit floor at NAB 2016, Joe Prout, senior broadcast director of sales, Dale Pro Audio, sees a number of evolving trends critical to the future of broadcast sports.
“Right now, the spectrum auction and reallocation are major issues,” he explains. “We’re on the hunt for wireless microphones and intercomm and IFB communications products that use something other than the conventional UHF spectrum. There are some solutions already out there, and we expect to see more at the show.”
Another key area, he adds, is the rapid expansion of the networked-audio market. Although networked audio is becoming ubiquitous, remote broadcast production may offer some resistance to the trend as the industry looks to wring as much ROI as possible out of the MADI transport infrastructure put in place over the past decade.
“They have a lot of capital invested in consoles and trucks with MADI, but some of those consoles — like Lawo, Digico, Calrec and Studer — also have the ability to network through Dante or Ravenna,” he explains. “So, if their MADI channel count is already maxed out, that [network-interface capability] could accelerate the penetration of networking.”
Prout expects immersive audio to move further into the broadcast-sports mainstream. He cites its use, as part of a virtual-reality initiative, on the NCAA Final Four games this year as an example of where the sector is headed.
“It’s still kind of in its infancy, but recent shows like the NCAA Men’s basketball championship show where it’s going,” he says. “There are platforms in place to deliver this to the consumer as we speak.”