InfoComm Pick Hits 2007
Aug 2, 2007 12:00 PM
The winning technologically innovative products that go above and beyond.
At InfoComm 07, Sound & Video Contractor's editorial team patrolled the show floor at the Anaheim Convention Center hunting for new products deserving of Pick Hit awards.
What makes a product Pick Hit-worthy? Well, first, it has to be new, and real. That means the product hasn't been shown at any previous InfoComm shows — although it might have initially been introduced earlier in the calendar year at some other industry event. From an InfoComm point of view, the product had to debut on the show floor as a real product, not a technology demo, with a scheduled ship date before the end of 2007.
But, more importantly, the product must be technologically innovative, designed to help systems contractors offer more to their clients, while making their own jobs easier.
Thanks to our editorial team for their participation in sorting through dozens of innovative and deserving products.
Here are Sound & Video Contractor's 15 Pick Hit Award winners for InfoComm 2007:
The Anterus ANT-RDR Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solution uses three types of RFID tags to locate, track, and secure any device on the AMX control system. It's designed for easy integration into the AMX Resource Management Suite platform and its MeetingManager and ClassroomManager applications. In addition to offering up their objects' locations for monitoring, the tags can also trigger automated events. Anterus asset tags can be attached to devices or carried on one's person. They constantly communicate with the AMX NetLinx controller to enable powerful inventory control and tracking. Components include the Anterus Reader, Asset Tag, ID Badge, and Key Chain.
The Audio-Technica SpectraPulse wireless system is truly revolutionary, transcending the frequency challenges of the digital spectrum by using an exclusive pulse-based transmission system that operates in the 6GHz range. Specifically designed for corporate boardroom installations, the system offers secure communication during the simultaneous transmission of up to 14 boundary-style microphones. Relying on Ultra Wideband technology, the SpectraPulse system requires no frequency scanning or channel planning. Latency is rated at a low 1.2ms.
Barco's XDS-1000 display management system takes multi-input, multiwindow projection to an extreme. With a built-in Windows XP OS and configurable inputs, the XDS-1000 can drive multiple projectors to display a videowall with multiple windows — from both local input sources and those over a network. What's more, the XDS-1000 can share that same content with projection systems in physically different locations for visual collaboration. The system offers four input card options (covering RGB, SDI, analog, and high-resolution/stereoscopic inputs) to allow for connection of literally dozens of sources, depending on the configuration.
CHRISTIE DIGITAL LX650
With just a single 330W NSH lamp, Christie Digital's LX650 digital projector can blast out as much as 6500 lumens, making it the brightest single-lamp 3LCD projector on the market. Contrast is rated at 2000:1. A chassis that's less than 25lbs. makes it flexible for both installation and the rental market for small- to medium-sized venues. Native resolution is XGA, and scaling allows for display of computer signals up to UXGA and video up to 1080p. The Christie LX650 features a new cooling and air-filtration system, resulting in fewer servicing requirements.
With its ability to play any common audio format on any silver disc (CD or DVD) or music files stored on a LAN or PC via Ethernet, the Denon DN-C640 slot-in network audio disc player may be the most flexible, full-featured professional audio player on the market. Considering its advanced broadcast playback features, an integrated GUI browser, and both RS-232 and GPIO control, there are very few audio playback applications in which the Denon design wouldn't excel.
EXTRON ELECTRONICS FIBER MATRIX 6400
With the Fiber Matrix 6400 modular fiber-optic matrix switcher, Extron Electronics dramatically expands its reach into fiber-optic connectivity — and by giving fiber, in general, a robust infrastructure product, it increases the practicality of fiber as a mainstream connectivity option. Extron's traditional strength in hard-button interface technology finds a new application in fiber technology. The Fiber Matrix 6400 is expandable in sizes from 8×8 up to 64×64, and it supports up to 4.25Gbps digital switching. It accepts and routes 1600×1200 computer video, DVI, and multirate SDI. The modular board design features eight slots for Fiber Matrix I/O boards, both single-mode and multimode.
KALTMAN CREATIONS SPECTRAN HF4040
The Spectran HF4040 spectrum analyzer hits a truly breakthrough price point ($1,800) for a full-featured, handheld RF spectrum analyzer. It reads from 10MHz to 4GHz, with 10 handy presets and a nifty zoom feature to focus on specific frequency bands (UHF, Wi-Fi, etc.). The system includes PC interface software for mapping RF activity over time, and it comes complete with multiple antennae, a tripod stand, and all accessories in an aluminum travel case.
The trend toward ultra-compact line arrays capable of full-range audio hits an aesthetic high point with the Kiva system from L-Acoustics. Its low-profile (20.5"×6.9""14.1") and lightweight (28.6lbs.) design sports an elegant V-shaped architectural look that's enhanced by its captive three-point rigging system. The V-shaped coplanar transducer configuration of the Kiva full-range element generates a fixed horizontal directivity of 100 degrees with symmetric pattern control across the projection axis. Kiva meets all the Wavefront Sculpture Technology criteria of its famed V-Dosc brethren.
MITSUBISHI HC4900 AND OPTOMA HD80
Mitsubishi and Optoma simultaneously burst through the $3,000 barrier for 1080p-native video projection. Mitsubishi's HC4900 home theater projector is the most aggressively priced 3LCD 1080p projector, while Optoma's HD80 offers the same in a single-chip DLP model. Intriguingly, the HD80 can also be configured with an anamorphic lens that offers a “native 2.35:1” resolution for wide-cinema viewing — although that lens option costs more than the HD80 itself. The HC4900 offers 1000 lumens and an 8000:1 contrast ratio. Optoma lists its HD80 at 1300 lumens and 10,000:1 contrast. Both have DVI and HDMI inputs.
Designed for “immersive” audioconferencing, the SoundStructure system is a next-generation voice-processor series from teleconferencing specialist Polycom. Featuring 22kHz stereo echo cancellation and feedback control on every input, it's scalable to handle 128 microphones. The system's OBAM (One Big Audio Matrix) allows routing of any input to any or all outputs, allowing easy integration between Polycom's HDX codecs and any typical analog microphones.
With the BVM-L230, Sony is proving that an LCD monitor can perform as well as or better than the highest-quality CRT reference monitors of old. While the price (expected to be in the range of $25,000) hardly makes it an ordinary desktop monitor, let alone a public-display screen, the quality Sony is able to achieve marks a dramatic turning point in LCD technology. True, Sony's 22.5in. L230 is aimed at the broadcast market, and that's the reason for the development of the TriMaster technology that's integrated into the 1920×1080 screen. But in the not-too-distant future, expect to see LED-based backlighting and high-end color management features integrated into flatpanels aimed at the installation market.
TEXAS INSTRUMENTS DLP .7 XGA 3 CHIP
Three-chip DLP projectors already own most of the market for high-end digital cinema and large-venue rental and staging projection, thanks to their three-color imaging, high brightness, and high contrast. Now, with a new DLP .7 XGA 3 chip DMD, Texas Instruments (TI) is bringing those features to smaller — and potentially far more affordable — professional AV projectors. According to TI, resolutions will be XGA, WXGA, and 720p, with more resolution options to come in the future. At InfoComm, we got a preview of the new chip integrated into an initial product: the Sharp XG-P610X, which will be available early next year for about $14,000.
Whirlwind has extended its familiar problem-solving power to deal with today's jungle of digital audio protocols. While various companies extol the virtues of their own respective protocols, PXP allows the user to employ the strengths of A-Net, Ethersound, or CobraNet in any combination in one venue — or deal with any of these protocols encountered on the road. PXP (Protocol eXchange Platform) devices let integrators design fully networked systems using the products that make the most sense for the job, regardless of the protocol with which they're associated. With the PXP-CA, for instance, those using Aviom for headphone monitoring can now pick 16 channels for their headphones from any CobraNet network.
The Yamaha ProjectPhone conference microphone speaker offers sophisticated circuitry and easy integration into teleconferencing systems in a sleek desktop unit. Two hidden arrays of 16 microphones lock onto any voice source at a conference table, keeping the subject “on mic” regardless of movement or head turning, while down-firing loudspeakers provide smooth, consistent audio for conferencing and VOIP systems.
InfoComm Pick Hits 2007 Judges
- Michael Goldman
Sound & Video Contractor editor
- Trevor Boyer
Sound & Video Contractor senior contributing editor
- Jack Kontney
AV industry consultant, audio expert, and Sound & Video Contractor contributing editor
- Jeff Sauer
Video expert and Sound & Video Contractor contributing editor
- Bennett Liles
Television production engineer, AV technician, and Sound & Video Contractor contributing editor
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