For Good (AV) Measure
By Greg Bronson, CTS-D
There’s nothing like a good cup of coffee. While on a cold, wet day most any brew will do, my own preference is for a mild Arabic roast. Sure, on occasion a flavored variant is enjoyable. Regardless of brand/roast preference, many other coffee aficionados would likely agree that consistency (from day to day, cup to cup) in the taste is a desirable characteristic. However, as these things go, once that particular taste is acquired, accolades don't typically flow for that consistency; you only think about it when the mark is missed.
What actually prompted me to reference coffee drinking in this month's AV Club column is this little oddity. The old four-cup coffee maker I use daily to make my morning allowance of java has "cup" markers on both the carafe and the coffee maker's water tank. Both are neatly marked with units 1, 2, 3 and 4. Thing is, four cups in the carafe when poured into the coffee maker holding tank does not then measure exactly to its "4" cup line. Not to mention, a "cup" is not really a standard cup measuring unit.
Further, I have two coffee "scoops" to chose from. They kinda look like brown plastic tablespoons. And when measuring exactly one level spoonful of coffee … they don't even come close to how much coffee they measure when compared to each other! Or to an actual tablespoon measurement unit, for that matter.
But despite all the mismatched apparatuses, thanks to some trial and error, the exact proportions are nonetheless applied to achieve coffee-topia. OK, does any of this amount to a hill of beans (sorry, couldn't resist it) in our AV for education space? Well, yes, and as the story is cast here's how:
Why measure AV?
We do so for two general reasons. The first is that we must validate that the final outputs of AV (acoustic and visual) are based on some accepted baseline of the same. While our own preferences for those may be in a sense calibrated to do some quick and dirty benchmarking, it's important to define the quality of experience against an actual measured unit. Second, like the coffee drinker example, a high level of satisfaction is associated with consistency across various AV experiences. This repeatable experience (prefaced by repeatable implementation and measurement) by application is facilitated by measuring against the standard unit.
Pitfalls (and the art) of measuring AV
Very few things in this life are perfect. As any good systems engineering class will teach, one key is to understand what the weakest link is, as well as what is the appropriate level of granularity. In AV for education, this means understanding the application and environment and then making the best technology fit… and in turn, measurement to be applied. For example, if speech intelligibility is of high importance (almost always yes!) then we'll want to be prepared to measure reverberation. And, in turn, we look to accepted measurement technique and benchmarks to categorize severity of the (negative) echo.
Who/how is AV measuring technique determined?
While it's curious that there’s a difference between use of the term/unit of a "cup" on carafe, brewer, mug and then a standardized unit; in the end it doesn't hold back successful beverage production. Likewise, there are, and have been, many effective tools and standards to which AV can me measured. It's just taken a bit of experience (and yes, some trial and error) to determine the "right" formulas. Fortunately, the work continues to create even more thorough and relevant processes to do so more accurately, simply and consistently. A shining example would be the new system contrast standard and measurement technique released by InfoComm International.
Perhaps, to the otherwise preoccupied real end user, most any working AV system will do. But to some more discerning individuals (and likely a much broader group that can't quite put their fingers on it … yet), an uncalibrated variance between systems can be more than distracting. Like much of the AV profession, experience and training are key elements to successfully brewing a quality result. You may get an occasional compliment on the result, but the more likely — and desirable — outcome will be the return for another "cup."
The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors’ employer(s), past or present. Leave a Comment
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 email@example.com
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Dukane Debuts Three New ED projectors
Boasting a five-year warranty, an XGA (1024×768) resolution and a 5000-hour lamp, Dukane introduced three new versions of the same projector today, with the biggest difference being brightness. The 8793H (2600 lumens), 8794H-RJ (2700 lumens and networkable) and the 8795H-RJ (3200 lumens and networkable) all have a 5000-hour filter, plus the lamps can be changed by the teacher. These are designed for hang-and-bang style classrooms as the audio pass-through even works when the projectors are off (enabling the projector's speakers to be used for voice amplification in small rooms). Leave a Comment
All three projectors have VGA, HDMI and video ports and the two brighter models also have network ports for content and control. Spec'd with a 2000:1 contrast ratio, the three projectors have 1.5-1.75 zoom lenses for portable applications and are integrated with Kensington locks.
To see all the specs, check out these PDF spec sheets:
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Canon Intros Ultra-Short Throw 3D Projectors
Canon has introduced the LV-8235 Ultra-Short Throw (UST) projector that's capable of projecting an 80-inch picture from a distance of only 1 foot. Because the LV-8235 UST can sit on a table or be mounted horizontally or vertically on a wall, ceiling or floor, it can be used for both educational and digital signage applications. Spec'd with a brightness of 2500 lumens, native WXGA (1200×800) resolution and a 2000:1 contrast ratio, the projector has HDMI and VGA inputs and is IP- or RS232 controllable. It's very quiet for a short throw projector at 28 dBA. Leave a Comment
The Canon LV-8235 UST Multimedia Projector has a list price of $1,799 and you can learn more after it's put it on the website here: http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/professional/products/projectors/lcd_projectors
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Extron Ships New 4×4 Digital Matrix with DSP
Extron has started shipping the new DMP 44 LC, a compact 4×4 audio matrix mixer featuring a digital signal processing platform for audio signal routing and control. The DMP 44 LC features four mono line level inputs and outputs, all balanced or unbalanced. It offers several audio DSP tools for mixing, routing and room optimization. Quick and intuitive configuration using the DSP Configurator Software allows the DMP 44 LC to be installed in very little time. The DMP 44 LC is designed for presentation applications that require line level audio matrix mixing with DSP in a small form factor. Leave a Comment
The DSP built into the DMP 44 LC provides wide dynamic range and utilizes 24-bit audio converters with 48 kHz sampling to maintain audio signal transparency. Several convenient, easy-to-configure tools are available: level controls, high and low pass filters, parametric EQ filters, bass and treble shelving filters, compressor, limiter and ducker. The DSP Configurator Software features an intuitive on-screen layout that offers fast access to all of the digital audio signal processing tools as well as audio matrix mixing. Designers can quickly get a snapshot view of the entire audio system, including processing blocks, routing, and mixing matrix assignments, all at once.
The DMP 44 LC audio matrix mixer is ideal for many applications, such as combining two independent stereo audio sources or switchers into a single amplifier or recording system, or in a divisible room installation for feeding a switcher's audio output to the sound system for each room. The DMP 44 LC can conveniently be controlled and configured via RS-232 serial control or USB. It also includes digital input ports, which allow for external triggering.
Full specs are here: http://www.extron.com/product/product.aspx?id=dmp44lc&s=5
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Sanyo and eInstruction Announce Bundle Partnership
Yesterday, Sanyo announced the introduction of two unique hardware and software bundles for classrooms that combine a Sanyo interactive projector with eInstruction educational software to take on Smart Technologies in the interactive projection and whiteboarding markets. Leave a Comment
Dubbed the Sanyo PLC-WL2503, it's a 4000-hour,1280×800 resolution ultra short-throw LCD projector that enables instructors to add handwritten text and graphics to projected images in real time, regardless of the surface on which the image is projected. Included with the projector is an interactive assessment software package created by eInstruction, which includes Workspace, the Workspace Content Gallery and Workspace Language Packs to support uses of the software in more than 40 languages. The package also comes with assessment item samples from the Exam View Learning Series, which works seamlessly with the Workspace software. The software operates in both the Windows and Mac computer environments, providing educators with tools for the creation and presentation of lesson materials, as well as for subsequent student evaluation and testing. The PLC-WL2503SE projector with software bundle lists for $1,995, and the PLC-WL2503SE2 bundle, which adds a Premier Mounts EST150 wall mount, lists for $2,195.
The eInstruction Mobi mobile interactive handheld whiteboard, CPS student response systems, and the full version of ExamView Learning Series software, which is aligned to state standards, also work seamlessly with the PLC-WL2503SE2 projector and Workspace software.
For more information, go to: http://www.einstruction.com/
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NEC Adds 27" to LED-Backlit Line
NEC Display announced today a new 27-inch, LED-backlit monitor in the form of the MultiSync EA273WM, which is up to 30 percent thinner and 25 percent lighter than the company's previous 27 LCDs. It boasts a 130-mm, height-adjustable stand and future-proof connectivity such as DisplayPort and HDMI inputs. Other improvements include the redesigned On Screen Display (OSD) controls, user-friendly OSD menu and streamlined cable management. The EA273WM is packed with green features, including LED backlight technology, which reduces power by more than 40 percent compared to select previous generation EA Series models. Other eco-friendly highlights include ECO Mode and smart sensing technology, including an ambient light sensor and human sensor, which detects user activity in front of the monitor and reduces its power up to 95 percent with inactivity. Leave a Comment
Using a native 1980×1080 HD LCD, the new 27" has a spec of 25,000:1 contrast ratio, 300 cd/m2 brightness and has an integrated four-port USB 2.0 HUB. It's Energy Star 5.0 compliant as well as TCO 5.1 and lists for $499. Full specs are here: http://www.necdisplay.com/p/ea273wm-bk
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Wacom Debuts HD Pen-Based Display
Using a 24" 1920×1200 (16:10 aspect ratio) LCD display, the new Wacom Cintiq 24HD is a $2,500 pen-based tablet display with a 550:1 contrast ratio. Capable of detecting 2048 levels of pen pressure and 40° of tilt, it gives you precise control over pressure-sensitive effects such as line weight and opacity. Wacom claims that its new so-called Tip Sensor technology integrated into the Cintiq 24HD captures the slightest nuance of pen pressure, starting with as little as a single gram of force. Leave a Comment
Featuring Windows OS and both DVI and VGA ports (as well as a USB port), the Cintiq 24HD uses a 24-volt power supply and includes features such as Touch Rings positioned on either side of the display that can be customized to perform time-saving functions such as zooming, scrolling and changing brush size. Ten fully customizable ExpressKeys, in addition to the pen side-switch, can be set for application specific short-cuts and modifiers.
Complete product specs are here: http://www.wacom.com/en/Products/Cintiq/Cintiq24HD.aspx
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projectiondesign Ships F35 Single-Chip 3D DLP Projector
projectiondesign announced this month that its F35 AS3D projector is now shipping. The WQXGA (1920×1200) resolution (120 Hz refresh) F35 AS3D is an active stereo 3D DLP projector specified at 7500 ANSI lumens (but remember, that light output is reduced nearly 50 percent in 3D mode) with an 8000:1 contrast ratio. It includes two DVI-D inputs, two HDMI inputs and two 12V output trigger ports. It incorporates the TI DarkChip3 and has lens shift. Leave a Comment
Complete specs are here: http://http://www.projectiondesign.com
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Extron Ships Unique Half-Rack Shelf System
Extron is shipping its new Half Rack Shelf System, an interesting concept in mounting hardware for applications utilizing one-half rack width and smaller products. The compact, 1U half-rack width size allows the mounting of half-, quarter-, and eighth-rack products in space-constrained furniture such as lecterns and cabinets that are not wide enough to support the mounting of full width, 19” rack shelves or electronics. The Half Rack System is comprised of the HRB 109 Basic Rack Shelf; the HRU 109 Universal Rack Shelf Kit, which includes eighth-rack and quarter-rack false faceplates; and the HRP 100Blank Panel. Half Rack System products are finished in a gray powder coat finish to match other Extron products. Leave a Comment
Go here for all the options and specs: http://www.extron.com/product/product.aspx?id=hrss&s=5
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Polycom Now Allows Non-Standards-Based Video Systems to Connect with Polycom Standards-Based Video Systems
Polycom announced a new software update to the Polycom RealPresence Platform that allows customers using Polycom and other standards-based video collaboration solutions to join calls with non-standard Cisco telepresence systems and vice-versa. The latest RealPresence Platform software update, released today, also further extends interoperability across Microsoft and IBM UC environments. Leave a Comment
The Polycom RealPresence Platform allows for an infrastructure of universal video collaboration, and this software update builds on Polycom’s strategy to enable universal video collaboration across the widest range of business, video, mobile, and social networking applications. It delivers on the promise Polycom made earlier this year to "liberate users who for years have been locked into proprietary telepresence solutions." The interoperability with Cisco TelePresence Systems is made possible by Polycom’s support for the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP), which is a communications protocol developed by Cisco and only implemented on Cisco TelePresence System suites.
TIP integration was initially enabled on Polycom desktop, room-based and immersive-telepresence endpoints for point-to-point calls. The latest Polycom software release includes full native TIP support for video calls and extends support for H.323 and SIP networks, which allows organizations to access shared UC environments such as IBM Sametime and Microsoft Lync, even if participants are using legacy systems.
To find out more information about the Polycom RealPresence Platform, go here: http://www.polycom.com/products/uc_infrastructure/realpresence_platform/index.html
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Matrox Ships SDI to HDMI Converter/Processor
Matrox today announced the Matrox MC-100, a dual SDI-to-HDMI mini converter that supports a wide range of display resolutions through 3G, Dual Link, HD and SD-SDI, is now shipping. Priced at $495, this portable unit can be used as an HD-SDI switcher, a distribution amplifier, a multiplexer and a 3D processing unit, making it the one of the most versatile SDI converters on the market. Leave a Comment
With two SDI inputs and two SDI outputs for 3G, Dual Link, HD, SD and HDMI output for monitoring and an on-screen display, the multiformat SDI signal distribution converter allows SDI signal amplification of 300 meters in SD, 100 meters in HD and 70 meters in 3G. Other features include multiplexing of two HD-SDI video signals into a single 3G-SDI feed, real-time 3D processing, including Horizontal Image Translation (HIT) and vertical offset adjustments. Ut also converts to so-called industry-standard 3D analysis modes — anaglyph, difference, 50/50 and includes a pretty comprehensive 3D output format support — side-by-side, over/under or frame packing (HDMI 1.4a).
For more specs, go here: http://www.matrox.com/video/en/products/mc100/
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Chief Certified Partner Program Adds Module on Classroom Acoustics
Chief has announced that its Certified Partner Program has added a training course focused on acoustics in the classroom. Titled “Classroom Audio: A Study of Acoustic Barriers to Learning,” the course explores how the acoustics of a learning environment play a critical role in how well a student can learn. Topics addressed include the issues surrounding acoustic barriers, the standards in place to measure them, and how the barriers affect students. Leave a Comment
The course is accredited by both the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and InfoComm. For participants interested in AIA credit, the training is available online in partnership with Hanley Wood University. To learn more about the session, worth 1 AIA LU, and to sign up, go to http://www.hanleywooduniversity.com. (Registration is available under the “Get Started” section on the left.)
To receive InfoComm continuing education units, the course should be completed through Chief’s Certified Partner Program website. Upon completion, participants receive 1 CTS RU. In-person learning opportunities are also available by contacting your regional sales manager.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, Publisher Gary Kayye at email@example.com or Editor-in-Chief Sara Abrons at firstname.lastname@example.org
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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