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On the Circuit

Jul 9, 2014 10:56 AM, By Cynthia Wisehart


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I saw 49 companies at InfoComm, so this will just be a few highlights from a very satisfying show. There have been the usual reports of attendance records being set, but for me, the positive was in the products.

Specifically, I saw more new and thought-provoking products than in the previous years. Also, I saw more creative technical collaborations. Some were at the product development level, such as Lab.gruppen/Biamp on the D series amps with Tesira built-in. Some were product marketing driven like Kramer and Wow Vision. Some were less explicit but bore the unmistakable mark of what you could call co-competition: Companies that are direct competitors were obviously collaborating behind the scenes to advance certain technologies, let’s say video technologies. Sorry to be vague, but you probably know what I mean.

I also liked seeing the way some of the younger engineers and product managers are leading with an interesting sensibility that mixes engineering and IT. I did have a few disappointing conversations with newer companies from outside traditional AV where questions about resolution, audio fidelity, and latency were met with a blank stare or worse, with a condescending look that said I clearly didn’t understand this IT stuff. Umm … LOL. But in other booths—I’m thinking again of Kramer, or Shure, for example—it was great to see a fluency in IT mixed with an understanding that hardware and physics do exist and that video and audio are signal not just data. A clever user interface is just lipstick on a pig if the signal doesn’t deliver a great experience.

Speaking of hardware, projection was fun again this year. The laser and laser-hybrid projectors feel modern. I have never loved projector lamps, even before a projector lamp burned down the Rennie MacIntosh library at the Glasgow School of Art last month. It’s great to see that we are at the beginning of an exciting chapter in light and electrical technology, and that projectors are part of that story.

I also want to mention two things that I will need to investigate further: AptoVision’s HDBaseT alternative (to oversimplify) and the activities of the Open Control Alliance.

With my remaining bit of space, I want to acknowledge QSC for the work done on the playback system at the Celine Dion show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. It was my first time seeing the show, and from where I was sitting mid-orchestra, the room performed well, as did her microphone—reportedly a Neumann KK 104 S, though please correct me if I’m wrong. Likewise, the orchestra played with a relaxed clarity that comes in part with good mics and monitors. The audio experience was almost unnervingly intimate for such a vast house (and in classy contrast to the completely over-the-top lighting and projection design).

Thanks to all who brought their years of hard work to InfoComm 2014.



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