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InfoComm 08 Video Preview

May 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Trevor Boyer

Dominant trends and new products at the show.

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MagicBox AV800 SignMate

MagicBox AV800 SignMate

According to Adtec, the demand for reliably delivered HD content is very real within the digital-signage market, but if its recent product introduction is any indication, the company is realistic about the industry's current needs. The new signEdje-HD accepts any source — SD or HD — and scales it to the output monitor's native resolution (up to 1080i) so users can display both SD and HD content within their signage network. The signEdje-HD has both internal solid-state storage (for the playback of MPEG-2 and AVC/H.264 files) and the capability to decode IP-based video streams. The included dual-platform mediaControl software allows the user to load, prompt, and manage digital-signage content.


Over the past few years, high-definition projectors have become much, much more affordable. Last year, Sound & Video Contractor's team of judges awarded Pick Hits to two models — the Mitsubishi HC4900 (a 3LCD unit) and the Optoma HD80 (using a single DLP) — that broke the $3,000 barrier for native 1080p projection.

At InfoComm this year, contractors should look out for smaller, more affordable three-chip DLP models, which will be made possible by Texas Instruments' new .7 XGA three-chip DMD. This technology was also announced at last year's InfoComm, but projector models that incorporate the technology are just now starting to ship. At press time, Sharp was set to ship its XG-P610X, an XGA projector with 6000 lumens and a $14,995 list price; the XG-P560W, a WXGA model with 5000 lumens ($16,995 list), is expected to be available in late June.

For classrooms and other applications, resolution isn't always the main selling point. Often it's networkability. At the show, NEC will be introducing two projectors — the NP901W (2000 lumens, WXGA) and the NP905 (2700 lumens, XGA) — that can employ Remote Desktop Protocol over an IP network to make the models Windows Network Projectors. This means they can display the desktop of any laptop PC via a wireless access device, without the need to run any display cables out of the laptop.

“Built-in networking, lens shift, and optional lenses are the latest features for advanced installation projector models,” says Bob Guentner, projector product manager at NEC. “We also see an increase in sales of extreme-short-throw projectors for use with whiteboards and for specialty applications.”

On that last point, companies such as Hitachi and 3M would certainly agree. “The emergence of short-throw projectors is having an impact throughout the AV industry,” says John Glad, product manager, Hitachi Home Electronics America. “With projectors offering shorter and shorter throw distances, presenters can't walk between the projector and the screen, so the image will not be obstructed.” The company announced late last year that it will be bringing the CP-A100 3LCD projector to InfoComm. This model is capable of throwing a 60in. diagonal image from only 1.4ft. Why not just go for a flatscreen if you're looking for an image that size? The obvious reason is the currently huge price premium for large plasma and LCD panels, which Glad says he expects to linger for quite some time.

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