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Jan 1, 2007 12:00 PM, By Michael Goldman

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When I took over as editor of Sound & Video Contractor this past summer, I marveled in this space about the importance of technology convergence in our industry. But it wasn't until we started putting together this issue that it fully dawned on me that the houses of worship market segment is leading the way in pushing this trend.

Our cover story on the evolution of the famed Crystal Cathedral — pretty much the Taj Mahal of the HOW universe — into a state-of-the-art, HD-based facility exemplifies this trend. As writer Jack Kontney explains, the cathedral is now wired every which way with the kind of first-class HD technology that our sister publications in the production realm, Digital Content Producer and millimeter, normally deal with. As the article describes, the Crystal Cathedral is certainly using such technology for the church's famous The Hour of Power syndicated broadcast, but what is really cool is the way those tools are all wrapped neatly together with the facility's live-event presentation infrastructure — high-end broadcast equipment used as part of a permanently installed infrastructure at a major, live-event venue. Conceptually, this is nothing new, but the degree and sophistication with which the integration of this technology into the cathedral's infrastructure has been executed perfectly illustrates HOW's leading role in the convergence revolution.

Speaking of widening applications, one of this issue's two technology showcase articles — on LCD displays for houses of worship — is also instructional. As Jay Ankeney describes in the article, flatpanel LCDs are not now, nor likely to ever be, the main display technology used in worship facilities. However, they are finding an interesting secondary niche in such venues to present various kinds of “specialized visual information,” as Ankeney explains it.

Finding an increased array of applications for such technology is obviously good for manufacturers and users alike, but it's the designers and installation professionals who are driving this change as they juice up facilities like the Crystal Cathedral in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. As we launch into a new year, S&VC fully intends to dive further into this convergence drama, highlighting some of this particularly innovative work around the world in coming issues — so stay tuned.

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