Brian SantoOddly enough, the biggest trend I found at NAB was quality of experience.

If I had $100 for every time someone at the NAB show told me that they decided to have a 3-D display in their booth only because everyone else was going to have one, I could afford one of those groovy new $2,500 3-D TVs. I don’t remember any major trend being met with less enthusiasm ever.

OK, OK … foam food never really caught on, and Crocs sure died out fast. But 3-D seems to be right up there.

If I had to guess beforehand what I’d find at the NAB show (other than 3-D), it would’ve been mobile TV. I thought mobile TV would be a natural at a show for broadcasters. I mean, what’s more cutting edge than wireless mobile digital video, which broadcasters have right now.

So maybe broadcasters have some limits when it comes to viewers selecting content, but still, you’d think you’d cut a deal somewhere to get broadcast TV on an HP Slate or an iPhone. Or even a Nook, for crying out loud.

Excuse me, that should have read “or even Nook.” Barnes & Noble insists its e-reader not be accompanied by an article such as “a” or “the.”

But I digress. …

There simply wasn’t that much mobile TV highlighted anywhere at NAB. Only after I pestered one guy about the subject did he remember that he actually had, in his very own booth, a demo of delivering IP video to mobile devices (to an iPhone and an iPad).

Oddly enough, the biggest trend I found at NAB was quality of experience. I spoke to dozens of companies with products that can in some way be used to assure video quality, whether by monitoring it, evaluating it or identifying it – largely in service provider networks. These products were being offered by vendors that looked more than a little out of place at the NAB show, and seemed uncomfortable about it, as if they really wanted to be somewhere else.

Expect QoE to be a major theme at The Cable Show.

In between all of the 3-D demos, of course.