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Media for the Message

Jan 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney

Plasma manufacturers on house-of-worship applications.

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How do you integrate the plasma display with audio needs in a house of worship?

Baumann: Audio installations are often challenging in houses of worship due to the acoustics of the venue and the need for the spoken words to be intelligible and yet incorporate the music. This means that, generally, speakers integrated into the display will be inadequate for most installations. Many houses of worship use in-the-ceiling speakers rather than speakers on the display, which aren't as directional. Since a plasma or LCD is just a receiver of the audio, there are no difficulties integrating it into their audio system, if required.

Hale: The most important feature is flexibility. If one house of worship wants the plasma to have speakers connected to the display, but another house of worship just wants video to be shown, the plasma needs to be flexible enough to meet both sets of demands. The plasma must operate at a very low noise level, but still be able to maintain 24/7/365 use. The display should be able to support attached speakers, as well as external sound systems.

Holmes: If it's installed in a remote room where a full-screen video feed is provided, then speakers should be added to the display. But generally, sanctuaries have audio reinforcement on a separate system so that the entire area is covered with amplified sound. In this case, speakers on the display are not needed, and may create problems due to various propagation delays throughout the signal paths, which would create an echoing-hall effect. In those situations, it's better to have a separate, amplified sound system.

Is there much interest in high-definition display capabilities? For what purposes would a house of worship want to invest extra money for HD capabilities?

Baumann: Many houses of worship are beginning to consider HD cameras and video distribution systems, since the trend is continuing to head in that direction. However, there is a significant cost to upgrading to HD to keep in mind. Most current applications — like text, messages, and songs — in houses of worship do not need full HD 1080p resolution. ED [enhanced definition] resolution would be fine in most venues. If, however, HDTV broadcasts are a necessity for the house of worship, high definition would be an advantage.

DeManss: At this time, most video production we have found has been using typical SD-resolution video due to costs of HD video production equipment, so the best match for SD content tends to be 768 panels (1366×768 or 1024×768). This will provide a cost savings to the congregation, while providing excellent image quality by more closely matching the resolution of the content with the panel. As congregations choose to upgrade their video production capabilities to HD quality, the 768 panels will still look good well into the future. The only real consideration would be if the facility had already upgraded the video to 1080 HD quality and panel pricing was less important. Then, 1080p panels would be recommended.

Holmes: Yes. The cost of high-definition camcorders, for example, has dropped to the point that even budget-minded houses of worship can afford HD gear. The display should match the capability of the acquisition system.

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