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NSCA 2007 Hot Picks

If not quantity, at least there was quality. Of course, we're talking about the new products featured at the NSCA Expo 2007 in Orlando, Fla. But if you came looking for real ?new? technology, you were probably disappointed. That's more a sign of a maturing industry than a criticism of any manufacturer's technological prowess. In fact, what characterizes this year's

If not quantity, at least there was quality. Of course, we're talking about the new products featured at the NSCA Expo 2007 in Orlando, Fla. But if you came looking for real “new” technology, you were probably disappointed. That's more a sign of a maturing industry than a criticism of any manufacturer's technological prowess. In fact, what characterizes this year's Pro AV's NSCA Hot Picks list more than anything is that the products are important line extensions and product enhancements that expand the potential applications of each company's technologies.

As in past years, a Pro AV team of editors, contributors, and collaborators searched the Orange County Convention Center to find the products we feel were among the most significant ones shown. Criterion for inclusion were not only the subjective judgment of our anonymous panel of experts, but also general show-floor buzz — products that generated excitement among attendees. Here are the 2007 NSCA Expo Hot Picks products.

Atlas Sound Pole Mount amplifier

Atlas Sound drove a hole through the notion that providing local audio amplification to a video projection system has to be difficult. The PA702 pole-mount amplifier system allows mounting-pole access through the amplifier via a sealed hole incorporated into the chassis design. According to the company, the installer simply puts in the projector mounting pole, aligns the amplifier chassis hole with the 1.5-inch mounting tube, and clamps the unit at the desired height above the projector mount with the innovative pole clamp system. Afterwards, install the projector as normal. Also, the chassis hole mounting system offers security for theft prevention, or at least deterrence. The PA702 has a list price of $332.


Extron ISM 824 Multiswitcher

The company known for reliable solutions for any AV challenge has done it again with the ISM 824 MultiSwitcher, a modular matrix switcher that allows for simultaneous video/RGB scaling and wideband switching in a single, compact enclosure. It combines the powerful signal routing capabilities of an eight input, eight output, wideband matrix switcher with the versatility of four customizable outputs. The Extron ISM 824 can be equipped with any scaling or scan conversion output boards for initial project requirements. It lists for $6,190.


Renkus-Heinz Rhaon 

Determined to shake things up in the world of pro audio, Renkus-Heinz introduced one of the most comprehensive approaches to digital networkable loudspeakers to date. Rhaon technology is a combination of integral amplification, DSP, digital audio networking, control and monitoring, which will be available initially in the company's new Sygma SG Series powered loudspeakers. Eventually, Rhaon technology will become a standard option in every new Renkus-Heinz powered loudspeaker. Rhaon provides internal loudspeaker-specific DSP, up to 64 channels of digital audio distribution, and user control and monitoring of all vital aspects of the loudspeaker via standard Ethernet hardware, all over a single Cat-5 cable.


Elmo P100 Document Camera

Seen any cool document cameras lately? Think if you've seen one, you've seen them all? The Elmo P100 is out to change all that. It's full of features that you'd expect plus many that will make this document camera a necessary part of your next presentation system installation. The P100 offers 30 frames per second image capture and SXGA (1280x1024) native resolution. One of its best features is an integral 3.5 inch LCD monitor, which lets the presenter see exactly how the image will be positioned on the screen, even when facing away from it. Also, it accommodates HDTV with its 1280x720 output. The P100 offers USB 2.0 connection to a PC, and supports instant drawing to highlight and annotate images. A built-in SD Card slot allows stored image slide shows, and lets you show a split image with both live and stored images, all for a $3,850 list price.


Listen LR-P11-216 single channel in-ear receiver

The new LR-P11-216 FM Single Channel In-Ear Receiver, manufactured by Phonak and distributed by Listen Technologies, reminded us of something from a spy equipment catalog. The tiny device provides discreet, indiscernible in-ear monitoring, and it's designed for use with Listen's 216 MHz FM transmitters for applications where unseen cueing is essential, such as speeches, interviews or stage performances. The unit operates over a range of 49.2 to 820.2 feet from the transmitter, letting the user move about freely while still hearing cues clearly. Units are shipped from the factory preset to the frequency specified by the user. Users who need to change receiver frequencies periodically may do so with the LA-P1-1 IPU accessory, available from Listen. The LR-P11-216 has a list price of $1,049.


Aviom AV-P2/AV-M8 input/output modules

In an incredibly short period of time, Aviom has become synonymous in the house of worship market with high-quality, onstage, personal monitor mixing systems. Now, they're taking a solid step toward the installed commercial sound market with the launch of a pair of complementary products that both incorporate Aviom's A-Net digital audio protocol. A-Net supports real-time distribution with sub-millisecond latency, and long cable runs up to 500 feet. The AV-M8 microphone input module provides eight mic-level inputs and converts eight analog audio channels to a digital stream for A-Net distribution with plug-and-play simplicity over standard Cat5e cabling. Joining the AV-M8 is the Aviom AV-P2 output module, which provides up to two channels of analog outputs from a Pro16 A-Net digital audio stream, with independently selectable output levels for left and right channels. The standard U.S. price for the AV-M8 eight-channel, mic-level input module is $1,499.95, and the price for the AV-P2 two-channel line-level output module is $569.95.


Belden Wireless

Wireless products from a company best known for cabling? This is quite a statement, especially when the company is Belden. Belden is another venerable brand that's virtually synonymous with all types of wire and cable, so when we saw WLAN solutions in their booth, a double take was in order. But if any company knows signal distribution, it's Belden, so it makes perfect sense. All products feature Belden's Channel Blanket Technology, which delivers seamless mobility with no security concerns, no roaming latency, no co-channel interference and the ability to design for a guaranteed and predictable level of service. Their wireless solution consists of two switches, the BWS-8008 (8-port) and BWS-8024 (24-port), and the BWAP-200 Access Point. List price for the BWAP200 Access Point is $526, and for the BWS8008 and BWS8024 switches, list prices are $7,450 and $11,700, respectively.


Revolabs table top microphones and XLR adapter

Last year, Revolabs was a newcomer to the pro AV industry, and its Solo wireless conferencing microphone made our Hot Picks list. The company has done it again this year. The new Solo Tabletop microphone is a boundary mic that measures .9” x .8” x 2.6” and is available with either a directional or omnidirectional pattern. Revolabs also showed the new XLR Adapter, which works with any standard dynamic microphone for “pass around mic” or audience participation application. According to the company, both new mics feature a range of about 100 feet, 128-bit digital encryption, frequency response of 100 Hz to 8 kHz, and they hold a battery charge for about eight hours. In addition, both mics feature the company's MaxFlex technology, which allows any combination of up to 16 (24 in Europe) Solo Wearable and Tabletop microphones to be used in a single area. Both units list for $199.


Chyron ChyTV

With the increasing opportunities offered by digital signage, the line between AV and broadcast may be disappearing, and Chyron has taken notice. Perhaps best known as the inventor of the character generator for the television industry, Chyron offers a simple, cost-effective graphics and messaging system for any digital display without disrupting the original video source. Central to this system is the ChyTV Video Information Display “message in a box,” which has a $1,500 list price. It can be configured as a standalone display source, or it can be scaled to a larger network configuration. ChyTV deliver both video graphics (animated text, graphics and logos using GIF, AVI, TGA, among other file types) and audio signals (.wav), and is available in either USB or Ethernet versions.


Sharp PN-655RU 65 inch Portrait LCD

Last year, Sharp's laterally oriented 65 inch LCD monitor won a Hot Pick selection. This year, their portrait mode version, the PN-655RU, is a Hot Pick, and the main reason can be summed up in two words: digital signage. Specifically designed for commercial applications, the PN-655RU delivers full 1080 x 1920 (2 megapixel) high-definition resolution with a brightness rating of 400 cd/m2, and was designed for extended use in the portrait mode. What's so different about that? For one thing, you must address heat dissipation differently in the vertical orientation. The cold cathode fluorescent backlighting system is rotated 90 degrees to allow for proper cooling as heat rises within the display's enclosure. Sure, the Sharp PN-655RU lists for a hefty $29,995, but compared to the revenue it will produce in a high-profile digital signage application, that price tag may be well justified.




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