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The Future of Media

LAS VEGAS -- When I want to get a feel for the future of media -- the real future, not the overhyped, venture-capital-backed dreamland that clutters much of the consumer tech world -- I like to hit the National Association of Broadcasters show that finished up here last week.

The NAB show is nominally a trade-only event for the broadcast TV and radio industry.

Programmers such as News Corp's (NWS - Get Report) FoxSports come here to inspect, say, the spankin' new video production trucks they've just leased. Big-iron television and radio equipment vendors such as Sony (SNE - Get Report), Toshiba, Chyron, SES Americom, Snell & Wilcox and more come here to schmooze their programmer clients. Industry heavyweights walk the halls. I hung out with everybody from the owner of the New England Patriots to the head of engineering for WOR radio in New York City.

And since today's media business has spread to cable, satellite and even consumers -- we all can make hits on YouTube -- the NAB now covers the entire media world: Apple (AAPL - Get Report) was here with a big demonstration of its new desktop production tools. Media start-ups such as Maximum Throughput and Whiteblox were here at the show. Even Google (GOOG - Get Report) sent CEO Eric Schmidt for a keynote chat.

Though it's mostly trade-only here at the NAB, if you squint a bit -- you know, use your imagination -- you can see the future of media in these halls. The deals that get done here at this year's NAB will be tomorrow's programming, content and production techniques.

Here then, are my picks of the "Best of Yet to Come" in broadcasting and media.

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