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Cool Consumer Products That Should Go Pro

I, for one, have no intention of buying a 3D flat-panel TV for my home. And although I have a cell phone, BlackBerry, three iPods (including a Touch), two notebook PCs, and an Amazon Kindle?meaning I'm not averse to gadgetry?there's no way I'm ponying up for an Apple iPad.

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Brad Grimes

I, for one, have no intention of buying a 3D flat-panel TV for my home. And although I have a cell phone, BlackBerry, three iPods (including a Touch), two notebook PCs, and an Amazon Kindle–meaning I'm not averse to gadgetry–there's no way I'm ponying up for an Apple iPad. Maybe I'm not the target consumer for either of these much-hyped technologies. I already have HDTV, plus books and video in the palm of my hand. But if not me, who? You? Your clients? I'm not down on 3D for 3D's sake. Nor do I doubt a sleek, network-connected touch pad's reason to exist (it has one, just ask the Crestrons of the AV world). But I find the TV industry's blatant push to get people to by a new set–again–a little unseemly. I just bought my HDTVs! And the tech geek in me is underwhelmed by the product Apple is hawking now. As you've probably read, what's missing from the iPad is more telling than what's there.

That said, 3D and the iPad could be a couple of the coolest pro AV technologies this year. To be clear: Don't like them in my house; do like them in commercial applications. Don't want to sit on my couch wearing 3D glasses; do want my doctor to analyze my insides, if necessary, in three dimensions. Don't want to read a book on an iPad just because it's in color (though as a magazine editor, I see potential in interactive publishing); do want to download a free app to an iPad in our conference room to fire up the AV systems.

Parallax View columnist Pete Putman talks a lot about consumer electronics being the tail that wags the dog (PRO AV's the dog). For a while, that's been the case, and it's created tension over the years as some clients asked AV pros to spec consumer gear–most notably displays–for their commercial installs (page 12).

But Pete doesn't see the same smooth sailing for 3D video that consumer technologies like HDTV enjoyed. He does, however, recognize good commercial 3D applications when he sees them (page 50). And the folks at Crestron are sharp. They announced an iPad app for their control systems long before the iPad came out. Attention AV control programmers: There will be many more iPad apps for doing what traditional control panels do, so get your hands on the iPad APIs. Cool technology is nothing without an application. In the case of 3D and the iPad, those apps might come from the pro world.

Brad Grimes
Editor
e-mail: bgrimes@hanleywood.com

 


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