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InfoComm 08 Video Preview

May 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Trevor Boyer

Dominant trends and new products at the show.


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Among the dominant trends that will reign at InfoComm 08 is that of digital-signage products that expand the networkability features.

Among the dominant trends that will reign at InfoComm 08 is that of digital-signage products that expand the networkability features.

It's 2008, and HD is everywhere — especially in Las Vegas at InfoComm 08. Check the booths of flatpanel display manufacturers, and you'll have a hard time finding a standard-def screen. Although Asian factories are pumping out video cameras and HD panels as fast as consumers and businesses can snap them up, a video system is only as high-def as its lowest-resolution link. In some areas, this infrastructure gear has lagged behind displays and cameras in terms of the availability of affordable, HD-capable products. Image processors, videoconferencing codecs, digital-signage media players: if these don't support HD video, then your setup is at best an up-rezzed standard-def video display system.

True high-definition video looks great, and it's increasingly necessary within many markets that systems integrators serve. But clearly, it's not the only reason to check out InfoComm 08. Another key technology trend to track at the annual tradeshow is IP networking. After all, what good is a pretty display if its content is out of date? How is your client going to track the lamp lives of its dozens of projectors? In today's world, no video display device should be an island unto itself.

To get a sense for the dominant trends within the industry and the new products that will be important at InfoComm 08, I canvassed manufacturers from all corners of the professional video-display industry. Here's what they had to say — both about their specific product introductions for the show as well as their take on the overarching trends.

DIGITAL SIGNAGE

Once again in its 2008 incarnation, the InfoComm show will host a Digital Signage Pavilion for companies filling product needs for every component in that rather complex application. The demand is clear. Across the industry's vertical markets, digital signage is enjoying an annual growth of 10 percent, according to InfoComm. The Las Vegas Convention Center will also host a two-day digital-signage summit before the show, and there are several classes covering topics from software to the business opportunities that digital signage presents.

Tom Searcy, president of MagicBox, says he has noticed that traditional IT integrators are getting pulled into the digital-signage integration game. “They build someone's network out, and they are now being asked to pursue and install signage applications — which, by their very nature, are becoming more IT-centric every day,” he says. Recognizing that last fact, as well as the desire for constantly updated content, MagicBox will be introducing a new version of its EZ Stream software at InfoComm. This software addresses the integration of databases into digital-signage networks, giving integrators the ability to manage multiple locations with multiple individual SQL database queries.

On the hardware front, MagicBox is seeing demand for smaller content-player units that can be tucked behind plasmas and LCD screens. At InfoComm, the company will introduce the AV800 SignMate with video passthrough and video playback. This unit has most of the capabilities of MagicBox's current Aavelin player, but in a smaller form factor.



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