InfoComm 2006 Hot Products
If there was a new product trend at InfoComm 2006 in Orlando, FL, it might best be described as ?nearly new, improved, and simplified.? Overall, the mood of the show was noticeably upbeat, and most exhibitors were enthusiastic about the state of the pro AV industry. Business is good, and the interest from end-users has never been higher.
If there was a new product trend at InfoComm 2006 in Orlando, FL, it might best be described as “nearly new, improved, and simplified.” Overall, the mood of the show was noticeably upbeat, and most exhibitors were enthusiastic about the state of the pro AV industry. Business is good, and the interest from end-users has never been higher. But if you came looking for breakthrough new product innovations, you might have been a little disappointed. This isn't to say that there weren't any impressive showings from many of the 770 exhibitors in the Orange County Convention Center's West Concourse. There were quite a few important products, but for the most part, we saw enhanced feature sets and better mousetrap versions of products we've seen before. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when product enhancements result in increased functionality combined with improved customer ease-of-use. Most of the products featured on this year's InfoComm Hot Products list share these features.
As in past years, a select panel of Pro AV editors, contributors, and industry experts were asked to comb the show floor in search of significant products that should positively impact the pro AV business, and generated excitement among InfoComm attendees. The following 12 products fit the bill.
AMX VisualArchitect software
AMX released the first version of its VisualArchitect control system design software in March, and as a demonstration of the company's commitment to ongoing support, version 1.1 was previewed at its booth at InfoComm. VisualArchitect combines a sales vehicle, a system design tool, a visual programming environment, a document generator, and an installation guide in one powerful, convenient, and streamlined software application. This tool simplifies the process of designing AMX-based control systems while also providing the documentation necessary to sell and service the system. VisualArchitect v1.1 is currently available, and is free for AMX dealers and independent programmers.
Astatic GNVP variable pattern gooseneck microphone
Clarity iS46 LCD with integrated media player
Clarity Visual Systems showed two new models of what it calls “the first true digital signage displays,” the iS Series. Out of the box, each display is fully functional as a standalone digital sign
Soundcraft Vi6 digital console
For example, the Soundcraft Vi6 uses a derivation of Studer's Vistonics user interface (Vistonics II) to enable the engineer to intuitively operate the desk. Like its predecessor, Vistonics II uses the same type of color TFT monitor touchscreen with integral rotary controls and switches mounted on the glass to provide a “where you look is where you control” working philosophy. Harman's proprietary network system, HiQnet, is an integral part of the Soundcraft Vi6 console, which means that the desk becomes a central control point for a complete Harman Pro system of wireless mics, signal processors, amplifiers, and loudspeakers.
The Vi6 is shipping now with a U.S. MSRP of about $90,000, which includes the desk, stage box, and local rack with I/O and Score Live DSP core.
Crestron Isys i/O TPMC- 4X handheld WiFi touchpanel
The handheld Isys i/O touchpanel can display any M-JPEG format source signal — perfect for monitoring the lobby, service entrance, or boardroom door. The Crestron TPMC-4X is available now at an MSRP of $1,990.
Grass Valley Indigo AV mixer
The Indigo AV mixer lists for $11,900 for the standard-definition video version, or $14,900 with high-resolution HD-SDI and DVI I/O. Both models will be available in the fourth quarter.
Kramer VP-727 In-CTRL seamless switcher
Input options include eight universal inputs comprised of five BNCs, each of which can accommodate a composite video, S-video (Y/C), component video (RGB/YUV), RGBS, or RGBHV signal. The VP-727 is currently available at an MSRP of $4,995.
Cloud Systems Atmospherics 2.0 software
Cloud Systems' atmospherics solution is significant because it represents a different approach to AV system control — one that's more consistent with an enterprise IT model. Atmospherics version 2.0 will be available in the fall, and pricing is to be determined.
Stewart Filmscreen StarGlas
Stewart Filmscreen manages to keep finding ways to make significant improvements to what many people believe is a fairly mature technology. Its new StarGlas screen makes it possible to use rear projection in applications where it was once thought impossible.
StarGlas is available in two configurations: StarGlas 100 is optimized for edge-blending in rear-projection installations, and StarGlas 60 (pictured here) is a black screen format optimized for maximum contrast. Both versions are currently available, and prices start at $4,975 MSRP for the StarGlas 60.
Toshiba P56QHD 56-inch LCD
It's specifically targeted for commercial command & control applications that require high resolution in an easily movable form factor. With a pixel response time of 6.5 ms, it's as appropriate for moving video images as it is for data and graphics-intensive content. The Toshiba P56QHD is expected to begin shipping in October with an MSRP of $46,950.
VBrick EduCast webcasting kit
The solution includes the company's VBPresenter software, a VBrick Windows Media Appliance, a camera, and all of the accessories you'll need to be on the air in minutes. VBPresenter is a powerful PowerPoint add-in that delivers perfectly synchronized slides, audience polls, and web pages, along with your live VBrick Windows Media audio and video — all in one box. EduCast is currently available at an MSRP of $5,495.
Vista SpyderPoint control system
Compatible with PowerPoint 2003, the SpyderPoint add-in is currently available as a free download to all Spyder owners. SpyderPoint operates in concert with Vista Advanced control software and Montage II consoles, so, if the need arises, users can switch from using SpyderPoint to control PowerPoint presentation elements to Vista Advanced to control the rest of the presentation.