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HD Conversion

I've finally become an HD convert. I'm not sure what took me so long; I love having HD in my living room. But the pro AV connection only recently became clear for me after standing in the showroom of a video electronics distributor, surrounded by dozens of large flat-panel displays showing HD content.

I've finally become an HD convert. I'm not sure what took me so long; I love having HD in my living room. But the pro AV connection only recently became clear for me after standing in the showroom of a video electronics distributor, surrounded by dozens of large flat-panel displays showing HD content. Certainly HD has been a focus of broadcasters for the past few years, and the general public is buying in at a fast pace. But for some reason, it hasn't yet become mainstream in pro AV systems integration.

This is surprising because our customers — who are also home electronics buyers — will soon demand it. And even if they don't, they'll quietly wonder why the boardroom system you just installed doesn't look quite as good as their HDTV at home. Will they go to their local big-box retailer for their next pro AV system?

Sure, HD is showing up in applications like IMAG camera systems in mega-churches. And HD video-conferencing is clearly on the horizon — two companies in just the past few weeks have tipped their hands in this direction. It's only a matter of time before HD appears in digital signage applications. In fact, some industry observers expect HD to transform both videoconferencing and digital signage —two of the most promising pro AV product applications we've ever seen.

Also consider that HD content is becoming more readily available, display technology is improving all the time, and costs are decreasing. Flat-panel displays may currently have the edge over projection technology, but that's sure to change as screens and lenses are developed for these high-resolution images. The bottom line: If you've been slow to convert, like me, now is the time to do so.

In the display world, we usually define HD as 1920x1080 pixel resolution (although progressively scanned 1280x720 is also considered HD). HD isn't a term we normally associate with audio, but we can consider digital audio as the equivalent. In both audio and video, the common element is digital signal transmission.

The HD bandwagon requires significant expertise from pro AV systems integrators, especially in areas such as digital signal transmission, bandwidth limitations (and how to deal with them), and delivering the highest quality image and sound possible from source to display. Besides the training programs industry trade associations offer, some of the more progressive manufacturers are offering training in these areas, too. You can't afford not to take advantage of them. HD AV systems should be a product application that's “owned” by pro AV systems integrators — not TV technicians or consumer electronics retailers or other industries with convergence overlap. HD is all about “quality of presentation,” and this is clearly our domain.

Mark Mayfield
Editor



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