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Decidedly Unsexy: Some Products Fly Under the Radar

The show floor at InfoComm 2008 shared something with its host city of Las Vegas?it got peoples' attention.

The show floor at InfoComm 2008 shared something with its host city of Las Vegas—it got peoples' attention. Big pictures, bright lights, raucous sounds. Like the nearby Strip, the onslaught of audiovisual stimulation was a party for the senses. But not all great AV gear comes with bells and whistles. For some, utility outweighs sexiness; personality beats looks.

These products are not flashy or sexy, and therefore flew largely under the radar at the show. From routers and remotes to clips that hold gear in place, each product serves a distinct purpose that could potentially make every installer, integrator, or end-user's job much easier.

ZIP IT GOOD

The external power supplies in Extron Electronics' (www.extron.com) new PS series come with a mounting system that's been a long time coming. The ZipClip 100 allows users to mount a power supply almost anywhere—on rack rails, under tables, on lecterns—by using standard rack or wood screws rather than adhesives that wear away from heat over time. Once the clip is mounted, the power supply locks in with a simple click, while wire tie slots provide a means of relieving the strain of excess cabling or securing the clip to a pole. Measuring 5.3 by 2.4 by 0.6 inches, it is 1/8 rack wide, weighs only 0.1 pounds, and is made from high-impact plastic for durability.

The ZipClip 200 has nearly twice the width of the 100 model; it attaches to the ZipCaddy to mount two PS products side by side or any other single 1/8-by-¼-rack, 3-inch-deep Extron product. To remove the power supply, a user needs only to press the quick-release tab.

WAVE OF THE WAND

Designed for use with the PixiePlus AV device control system, the PXE-PGM-TOOL Programming Wand from SP Controls (www.spcontrols.com) allows integrators to program one or more PixiePlus controllers without removing them from their installed location.

The wand connects to a PC via USB and automatically starts an application that allows the user to set up complex configurations, like specifying RS-232 strings. After specifying the codes for each button on the PixiePlus, the integrator disconnects the wand from the PC and takes it to each PixiePlus that requires programming. Using IR, the integrator simply points and shoots the setup information to the controller. One advantage in school applications, for example, says Gary Arcudi, SP Controls' director of marketing, is that integrators or even end-users can easily duplicate PixiePlus configurations from classroom to classroom.

STEREO GAGA

According to Darius Seabaugh, vice president of marketing for The RapcoHorizon Co. (www.rapcohorizon.com), the AV industry lacked a quality way of interfacing consumer electronic devices with professional audio systems, a need that has become increasingly common with the popularity of the iPod.

To address this “hole in the market,” the company developed the LTI-1 stereo interface. Equipped with built-in ground lift switches, a -20 dB pad, plus left and right XLR outputs, the LTI-1 connects any stereo 3.5mm audio output to a professional audio mixer. Plug-and-play functionality, versatility, and a $135 MSRP help this product bridge the company's observed gap between professional and consumer devices for installers and end-users alike.

COBRA CONNECTION

Recognizing CobraNet's impact on the ability to distri distribute audio in large-scale venues, a audio manufacturer Rane Corp. (www.rane.com) decided to make the same advantages available to sma smaller venues.

While CobraNet is based on mult multiple virtual bundles of eight aud audio channels, Rane's Mongoose and RAD (Remote Audio Device) rem remotes convert audio signals to or f from digital at the wall plate and trans transport them over Cat-5 cables instead of mic cables, allowing users to route these remotes to or from CobraNet and aggregate audio channels for full bundle use.

The Mongoose is a 32x32 matrix router that receives 16 audio channels from eight RADs via eight 8P8C (RJ-45) RAD ports. The other 16 input channels receive audio from two eight-channel CobraNet receiver bundles through the CobraNet primary and secondary ports. The Mongoose outputs 16 channels to eight RADs and 16 more channels to two CobraNet transmit bundles. The RADs convert analog audio to and from 24-bit, 48 kHz digital audio.

ROLLING UP THE SLEEVES

The Expand-On will save installers a whole lot of time and money, says BTX (www.btx.com). The company's new patent-pending machine eliminates the tedious process of inch-worming expandable sleeving up the length of a cable bundle by mechanically performing the task so many do by hand.

Built to manage bundles of 50 feet, 100 feet, and longer and sleeves from 0.50 inch to 1.75 inches, the Expand-On uses a tube over which the user loads the sleeving. Pushing the wire bundle through the inside of the tube until it appears out of the other end, it then pulls the sleeving and wire bundle together to the desired length. The sleeving machine comes with 3-foot tubes for cable bundles up to 50 feet and 6-foot tubes for bundles up to 100 feet. Depending on the diameter of the sleeving, it can even manage cable bundles longer than 100 feet. Three options are available: the Deluxe Kit with base unit and stand; the Complete Kit with bench-mount base; or the Single Kit with the base unit and 1-inch tube.



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