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Harris plans "Virtual NAB" for non-attendees

In response to early indications from station groups and networks that they are sending far fewer people to this year's NAB convention in Las Vegas because of the economic downturn, broadcast vendor Harris plans to show much of its NAB new products and workflow demonstrations online in what it has dubbed a "Virtual NAB," which the company says will provide a "real-time NAB experience without the hefty price tag."

During the show, visitors to the Harris Web site will have access to live video feeds from the show floor, online demonstrations, a schedule of live presentations by workflow experts, and selected excerpts from the Harris presenters at the 63rd Broadcast Engineering Conference. Harris also conducted its pre-NAB press briefing online Friday, instead of in-person at a location like New York, to save on journalist's travel expenses and its marketing costs.

"NAB is viewed as the prime opportunity for the industry to converge and converse on the significant issues of the day, but it also represents a considerable expense for both the manufacturers and the broadcasters who make the annual trek," said Harris Broadcast president Tim Thorsteinson in a statement. "Harris has a long-standing commitment to the broadcast industry and the financial stability to not only weather a difficult economy ourselves, but also to support our customers through this market downturn. So for the broadcasters unable to make it to this year's event, we will do our best to bring the show to them."