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NAB: Broadcasters Look for New Tech to Beat Competition

The annual National Association of Broadcastersconvention is underway in Las Vegas — all the industry is gathered to preview new technology and discuss how to stay ahead of the ever-growing competition.

James Cameron is here to promote 3D TV, which he says is a key way broadcasters can keep consumers from cutting the cord.

He announced a new company to drive 3D broadcasting of everything from live sports to TV sitcoms and advertising. His name may be synonymous with big-budget movies, but he says 3D TV is a bigger revenue opportunity than 3D films.

He told us that he sees broadcasters like ESPN striding ahead with 3D channels — those who don't step up into the next dimension, he says will "lose a competitive advantage" and "get left in the dust."

3D is just one technology broadcasters like CBS , ABC, Fox and NBC are checking out here at NAB. (*Note: CNBC and NBC are both owned by Comcast, the majority owner in a partnership with General Electric)

The other big theme — how to make the most of these new devices, like tablets and smartphones.

Broadcasters are playing up their advantage — live programming — and looking to maximize their ad dollars. They're looking to companies like M-Dialog, which partners with Cisco to bring targeted ads to their streaming video on smartphones and tablets.

M-Dialog is in tests with various broadcasters to deliver TV commercials video streams — they are updated in real-time, targeted to the user's viewing history and location, and interactive. All in they should make ads on the platform far more profitable for broadcasters and programmers. These types of ads should make 'TV Everywhere' (cable companies push to stream video to other devices) worthwhile and profitable.

The convention center is teeming with cutting-edge technologies, many of which haven't been launched yet. But broadcasters are willing to test pretty much anything to get a foothold on smartphones and tablets. The need to give consumers good reason to keep paying for content on their TV.

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.