3D for Me?
By Greg Bronson, CTS-D
If you watch developments in consumer AV, you’re likely picking up some of the buzz with the latest push toward 3DTV. As such perhaps you’re also starting to give some serious thought to what that may mean to you as an AV consumer, and then, what the impact might be in education applications. So when the AV Club makes its foray into exploring 3D further, it is with great anticipation for a new “techie” (and End User). But it’s also with a fair amount of trepidation.
Why? Well, for many of us, 3D is not exactly a new frontier. Rather it’s a niche application that’s been around for some time. And while cool enough, it has repeatedly failed to inspire a rush of AV spending. And it’s not only the technology, which can look undeniably impressive, but it’s also a range of nagging issues that have a cumulative effect of stifling larger scale adoption.
Having been exposed to a few scientific/educational 3D setups over the years, there is no doubt to the value of 3D. Heck, if someone can “stand” inside a virtual building (by way of 3D “cave”) before it’s built, or a group of chemistry students can watch as an instructor manipulates a 3D representation of molecule, the experience can be priceless for advancing understanding of complex problems. An end user exposed briefly to these completed AV systems one may be inclined to think, “Where do I sign?” But the price tag is not an insignificant one. If consumer 3D takes hold in any meaningful way, it stands to reason the cost barrier could be mitigated.
Digging deeper, looking into the technical aspects of 3D’s recent history, quickly reveals a quagmire of one-off customizations and/or incompatibilities between 3D content and the systems built to view it. That is to say, one may find specific 3D content (or an application) that is the initial lure into getting a system, only to then find another content source or application is “not supported” by the same hardware. This hurts, especially if you’ve just laid out big bucks for said system. Again, though, there is promise that a new consumer 3DTV standard can move all of us toward a singular standardized format.
And then there are the glasses. Whether passive or active, the best performing technologies require wearing special glasses. Doing so, whether in a public or private forum is fodder for logistical, self-conscious and hygienic hindrances. If broader demand leads to advancements in lenticular/autostereoscopic displays (which are direct view displays that don’t require special glasses), that’d hold some serious promise for consumer buy-in.
Ultimately, though, in comparison to the various legacy challenges 3DTV faces, perhaps the biggest challenge of all is the legacy consumer experience with 3D. In my case, that experience is the awkward aftermath of a highly anticipated attendance of “It’s A Bugs Life 3D” at Disney. The actual “experience” was cut short — to maybe 20 seconds that I actually had the glasses on and was looking in the right direction — by a youngster that became COMPLETELY unglued at first sight of a large “friendly” insect heading straight toward her (of all the people in the auditorium, none the less)! Like everyone else within a half dozen rows, this would have been limited to perhaps a serious annoyance (big money and long waits having been expended)… had the youngster not been mine. In retrospect, I blame myself. Perhaps we should have spent another 30 minutes outside on that bench beforehand discussing how it “might look real, but is just pretend.” No, I’m kidding myself, as I’m now pretty sure my spending that time to tell them what I thought they’d see would have been better spent talking about anything else but virtual 3D bugs. Real bugs we can anticipate, flat virtual (TV) bugs we’re used to, but these 3D things, our brains aren’t so sure what to do with.
As gregthetechie, I’m all for advancing the AV experience and have not much question in my mind that 3D will be in all our futures. It’s just that, as of February 2010, I’m still asking the fundamental question — is 3D for me?
The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors’ employer(s), past or present.
Greg Bronson, CTS-D, applies AV technologies in the development of innovative learning spaces for higher education. Greg spent the first 10 years of his career as AV technician and service manager, with the past 12+ years as an AV system designer and project manager. Bronson currently works for Cornell University and has also worked for two SUNY (State University of New York) campuses as well as a regional secondary education service depot. Bronson is the originator of concept for Infocomm’s Dashboard for Controls and has had completed projects featured in industry publications. You can reach Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Sanyo To Launch Short-Throw Projector
SANYO will launch a new ultra short-focus projector model, LP-WL2500, scheduled to ship in July. The 230-watt, 2500 ANSI lumen LP-WL2500 projector is a WXGA (1280×768) resolution 3LCD projector that, from 33 inches, can project an 80-inch-wide image. Of course, like almost every Sanyo projector, it’s networkable, has both VGA and HDMI inputs and uses a spec’d 4000-hour lamp.
To learn more, go to: http://sanyo.com/news/2010/01/28-1.html
An ultra short throw WXGA with a host of “standard” features… looks interesting — and the price will be?
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Extron Announces the Industry's First Energy Star Qualified Commercial Amplifiers
With the movement toward adoption of “green” based AV, Extron’s recent announcement of the AV industry's first Energy Star qualified power amps that meet the new Version 2.0 Audio/Video specification (you can read the entire 2.0 spec here: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=revisions.audio_video_spec) is a big one in the ED market.
The MPA 401 and XTRA Series high performance amplifiers comprise a complete family of mono, stereo, and multi-channel power amplifiers for a wide range of applications from classrooms and boardrooms to multi-purpose rooms, auditoriums, and open spaces. They draw less than 1 watt while in standby mode (a 2.0 spec requirement), and also offer low power consumption while idle and under load. Extron power amplifiers feature compact, space efficient enclosures and one of the most unique features is that they do not require fans for cooling.
Extron power amplifiers are available for common A/V applications with various amplification requirements. The MPA 401 outputs 40 watts rms for 70 volt distributed speaker systems in applications such as restaurants, bars, country clubs, and large homes where you need 70-volt distributed audio to maintain sound quality. For larger installations including lecture halls, divisible rooms, and retail spaces, the XTRA Series offers mono, stereo, and multi-channel amplifiers with 200 watts up to 800 watts rms output.
Check out all the specs at: http://www.extron.com/company/article.aspx?id=amplifiersad
While looking at this write up (I’m a fan of no fans!), also follow the link to the Energy Star AV page to become aware of application(s) in ProAV.
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ILS Launches New Lectern Aimed at the Classroom
Adding custom configurability for system integrators, the ILS24HX is capable of managing a 22” diagonal touch screen, a separate touch panel for control systems, a confidence monitor or teleprompter and up to a 5” panel area for AMX, Crestron and Extron wall/podium integration systems. The system is the Swiss army knife of lecterns and you can actually lock up the system or roll it into a closet. It includes an electrical lift and tilt mechanism that allows users to find the best position (ADA compliant), and 12U of rack space is available to manage all the AV and IT gear needed for the lectern.
Check it out at: http://www.intelligentlecterns.com/
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EPSON Intros New Projection Solution That Turns All Whiteboards Into Interactive Whiteboards
Last month, EPSON introduced the BrightLink 450Wi, what they are calling an intelligent, interactive projector that allows educators to turn any standard whiteboard or smooth wall into an interactive learning area.
By projecting the image from the BrightLink 450Wi onto any existing whiteboard, wall or other smooth, hard surface, and using one of two digital infrared pens, the system basically creates a “virtual” interactive area (from 59-inches to 96-inches diagonal — in WXGA mode — or 55-inches to 102-inches diagonal — in XGA mode).
Available in March and specified at 2500 ANSI lumens, the BrightLink 450Wi is a networkable, 3LCD projector with a short-throw lens that creates a 60-inch projected image from 18 inches away.
rAVe thinks this is a creative solution to applications where there isn’t a budget for interactive whiteboards. What isn’t clear, however, is the effect the RF pens will have on the surface of the average whiteboard out there – much less a classroom wall.
If you’re interested in getting all the specs and learning more, go to: http://www.epsonbrightlink.webengager.com/
This seems to be unique enough that one needs to get his hands on it and explore the potential. Better yet, get a real End User using one and observe what they do with it.
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Da-Lite Adds iPod Dock to Lectern Line
Da-Lite has added an iPod dock accessory to its line of Oravisual Lecterns. With the development of new presentation software specifically for the iPod, the iPod and iPhone are now commonly used as the source for presentation materials. Da-Lite is accommodating by offering a universal dock accessory that is recessed into the reading surface of any Da-Lite lectern. The dock comes standard with a remote control and a cable, which includes composite audio video output, USB and a wall outlet adaptor for the USB. Adaptor plates are also included to accommodate various iPod and iPhone models and generations.
To see it for yourself, go to: http://www.da-lite.com/products/index.php?cID=17
Well, I didn’t have much luck with finding this via the link or the sites search utility… but did then find it under “New Product Showcase.” There you have it — iPod dock, can present!
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Extron Launches WallVault for Education Market
Extron has launched WallVault Systems, a family of complete, centralized A/V switching and control systems designed for use with wall-mounted, short-throw projectors and flat panel displays. According to Extron, these are easy-to-use, easy-to-install, economical classroom A/V systems that use twisted pair technology for transmitting signals and include network connectivity for Web-based asset management, monitoring, and control. WallVault Systems take their name from the unique WMK 100 Wall Mount Kit that securely mounts and conceals system components on the wall.
WallVault Systems include all the necessary audio and video switching, audio amplification, system control, source connectivity, speakers, mounting hardware, and cabling needed for a complete classroom A/V system. All that remains is to add a video projector, screen or flat panel display, and sources.
For complete specs, go to: http://www.extron.com/product/product.aspx?id=wallvault&s=0
Note to self: check this link out. The write up helps give a good idea of where/how this product line may be used in education environments… but clearly there is a lot here to take in.
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AMX Launches New Digital Signage Player at ISE
Dubbed the IS-SPX-1000, AMX's new digital signage player is a flash-based server with an embedded web server (metric collection capable) with HDMI and VGA outputs (generating only 2 watts of power). Supporting every imaginable file format including JPG, MPG, H.264 and WMV files, the SPX-1000 has two simultaneous computer-video outputs and support both embedded and streaming content.
To learn more, go to: http://amx.com/products/IS-SPX-1000.asp
There is no shortage of manufacturers “playing” in the DS player market. With application synergies with control, it stands to reason a company like AMX plays also. –GB
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Well, that's it for this edition of rAVe! Thank you for spending time with us as we muse the industry's happenings. To continue getting my newsletter, or to sign up a friend, click the link below. To send feedback, don't reply to this newsletter – instead, write to Contributing Editor Greg Bronson at email@example.com, Publisher Gary Kayye at firstname.lastname@example.org or Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at email@example.com
A little about Gary Kayye, CTS, founder of rAVe and Kayye Consulting. Gary Kayye, an audiovisual veteran and columnist, began the widely-read KNews, a premier industry newsletter, in the late 1990s, and created the model for and was co-founder of AV Avenue – which later became InfoComm IQ. Kayye Consulting is a company that is committed to furthering the interests and success of dealers, manufacturers, and other companies within the professional audiovisual industry.
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