AV with No Strings Attached
By Greg Bronson, CTS-D
Isn’t it a boundless, wireless, world that we live in? It's enhanced by the feature-rich automobiles and personal communication devices we have ready access to. The mobility and social status afforded by these devices seems to even mitigate the known short comings inherent to the fundamental technologies. But while the affection for them may have started as luxury accessories, there is no denying the evolved dependency on the fundamental functions they now provide. Leave a Comment
For our automobiles, that’s to get from point A to point B whenever we desire to, with a turn of the key. For our personal communication devices (aka mobile/cell phones), that’s to always remain in direct communications with whomever we desire by hitting “send.” That said, it seems in today’s culture those basic needs are sometimes put into conflict with the never-ending race to more features by both supplier and consumer. Ultimately, though, it matters not how fast it can get us there if it can’t do so reliably. So while the potential is boundless, we all know there are some strings attached…
Hopefully it stands to reason that the premise in which wireless is used in AV should not waver much from the lessons learned by the car and phone examples. In the case of AV, the presenter also desires mobility and perhaps even craves a bit of social status (guilty as charged). Further, while we may provide wireless features initially as luxuries, make no mistake that the dependency on them always working is absolutely implied.
OK, let’s count some of the ways wireless can build personal affection with our AV systems! And, so as to not be remiss, let’s also note a few of the strings attached along the way. After all, the real end user’s worst possible time to have (wireless) AV stop working is when he is standing in front of a room of people looking expectantly at him! It’s kind of like having your new convertible breakdown as you pull up to pay at a busy toll booth lane.
Keep in mind, for all these (and as with our examples above), battery life is a number one criteria and the more, the better. Further, general frequency coordination and other back end technical issues are the burden of the provider (us) to address on behalf of the end user. Last but not least is that by the nature of the kinds of typically public/open access spaces our systems are placed in is the need to consider how to actually keep the wireless AV devices from being so mobile they end up “walking away" from their dedicated space. But more on this later in the column.
Wireless AV Example 1: Perhaps one of the most embedded wireless AV technologies in education is wireless microphones. Even with “cordless” high quality audio being a staple of recent generations of technologies, new worthwhile features continue to be developed, while still allowing free range of movement in the classroom. One recent setback, dealing with the 700 MHz. issue, is being addressed by products that use RF frequency agility and/or by using IR transmission.
Wireless AV Example 2: While perhaps considered low tech, another premiere example of wireless AV is the use of wireless mice and/or keyboards. This technology not only lets instructors be mobile while dynamically interacting with stationary computer-based content but can also be part of a creative solution to address limited wiring access in legacy locations. One pitfall to watch is to take care to make sure keyboard data is transmitted in encrypted form via products that provide such capability.
Wireless AV Example 3: Althought still up and coming, but probably the Mother of All Wireless AV, tablet devices for wirelessly displaying (and manipulating) content to AV systems will be critical in classroom technology. Rest assured, as individuals become accustomed to the idea that they no longer have to physically touch media content, but rather, can access it anytime/anywhere via the network cloud, the tablet (and hybrid personal communication/data devices) is a likely portal between end user, content and AV systems. One string attached here is getting the network and AV systems fully interoperable to do so in a way that is intuitive to the real end user.
Wireless AV Example 4: Lastly there is wireless AV control. This typically ranges from touch panels with RF transceivers or handheld remotes via IR. As implied, these allow the roving instructor to manipulate AV functions without being tethered to a specific location. And, in the case of IR remotes, provide a typically “included” (i.e., no additional cost) way of remotely controlling AV devices. In this case, the challenge is somewhat paradoxically how to keep the wireless remote in the room it is intended.
So it’s no mystery that various forms of wireless AV have moved past the just “cool” stage and are being expected to be made available (and working). But even with the advances in features and functions of wireless AV, the real end user may still (unfortunately) encounter creatively glued, screwed or otherwise “attached strings” that some put on IR remotes so they remain within the bounds of the classroom they were designated to. Which is fine, I suppose… so long as they also agree to never leave their own driveway.
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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Extron Launches XTP CrossPoint for Digital and Analog Routing and Control in One
Extron's new XTP CrossPoint System is really a totally new way of signal switching and distribution for multiple digital and analog formats. XTP CrossPoint Systems support local connectivity as well as extended transmission capability for sending high resolution video, audio, RS-232, Ethernet and power up to 330 feet (100 m) over a single Cat5 cable. Leave a Comment
Making digital switching systems work well is tricky and this new XTP system includes all the ones that Extron pioneered, including SpeedSwitch Technology, EDID Minder and Key Minder for switching of HDMI and DVI signals and HDCP-encrypted content, SD Pro processing for deinterlacing standard definition signals to eliminate display compatibility issues, Automatic Input Cable Equalization and Output Reclocking that provide digital video signal conditioning to ensure optimal performance. Extron has also incorporated audio management features into the XTP CrossPoint, including HDMI audio embedding and de-embedding, audio breakaway, and downmixing multi-channel formats.
XTP CrossPoint matrix switchers are modular and expandable from 4×4 up to 16×16 or 32×32, and can be populated with input and output boards for long distance transmission when paired with XTP transmitters and receivers. I/O boards are also available for direct HDMI, DVI, VGA, video, and audio connections to support local sources and displays. A family of long distance XTP transmitters and receivers are available for sending or receiving video, audio, RS-232 and IR control, Ethernet, and power up to 330 feet from the XTP CrossPoint matrix switcher over a single Cat5 cable.
To see all the specs, go here: http://www.extron.com/company/article.aspx?id=xptingsysad
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WolfVision Shows New VZ-3
The WolfVision VZ-3 Visualizer features a brand new design concept — the camera, light system and electronic hardware are all integrated into the Visualizer arm. Featuring a 1-CCD camera with 30 frames per second video, sRGB color, native output resolutions of SXGA, WXGA and 720p HD, the VZ-3 uses an LED lighting system so it uses 80 percent less power than the company's other models (a GreenAV product). It also includes a 12x zoom lens for both object and document projection. Leave a Comment
Want more details? Go here: http://www.wolfvision.com/visualizer/index.php/en/desktop-visualizer/vz-3
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Epson Debuts New XGA and WXGA Projectors Aimed at ED Market
The new PowerLite 1880 and 1850W are two "low-cost portable projectors" but actually have some impressive stats — if they're accurate. The PowerLite 1880 ($1,399) claims 4,000 lumens with an XGA (1024×768) resolution and the PowerLite 1850W ($1,299) claims 3,700 lumens with a WXGA (1280×768) resolution. Both 3LCD-based projectors include horizontal keystone adjustment, VGA and HDMI inputs, 4000-hour lamps, 1.6x zoom and RS232 control. Leave a Comment
Go here for all the specs: http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/jsp/EdProjectors/Home/K12.do?BV_UseBVCookie=yes
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LifeSize Brings VTC Compatibility to iPad, iPhone and the Cloud
Everyone wants videoconferencing products to integrate desktop applications like Skype, iChat and GoogleTalk into high-end VTC systems – especially HD ones. This would allow everyone to be able to jump on a VTC network anywhere at any time – even if you don't have a high-end VTC system. Leave a Comment
Well, those days are coming and in the meantime, companies like Cisco, Polycom and now Logitech with LifeSize are offering a patch-like solution by making their networks available via mobile devices like iPads and mobile phones via the Cloud.
Dubbed LifeSize Connections, it's an HD video collaboration platform that uses the cloud to connect compatible VTC's available to devices (phones, laptops and iPads) via a $1000 box.
OK, so how? Well, first of all, they bought Mirial, so they've integrated their mobile connectivity technology into the LifeSize Cloud. Watch this video: http://www.lifesize.com/Gallery_and_Resources/GameChanger.aspx
Or, download this PDF brochure on LifeSize Connections: http://ravepubs.com/utility/images/LifeSize_Connections_Datasheet_EN.pdf
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NEC Launches $850 3D Projector
NEC Display just announced an addition to its V Series multimedia projectors in the form of the 3000-lumen V300W. Designed as an affordable, lightweight WXGA (1280×800) projector that uses DLP technology, the V300W includes NEC's eco mode, which the company says has up to 5000 hours of lamp life, plus a 2000:1 contrast ratio. Connectivity on the V300W includes an HDMI input, monitor out and dual analog RGB inputs, as well as variable audio out for use with an external speaker. It does 3D thanks to its integrated DLP Link technology. Leave a Comment
If you want to see all the specs of the $850 V300W, go here: http://www.necdisplay.com/p/np-v300w
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Vaddio Announces Customizable Video Production Workstations
Vaddio, known for its robotic PTZ cameras and camera control systems, announced new production consoles and video production workstations designed for professional production spaces and in-house production applications. Features include customizable storage and rack spaces, integrated cable management and ventilation, three different top rack console options 30 to 63 configurable rack spaces, end-to-end cable management trays and removable back panels for easy rear access. Special configurations are also available upon request. Also included is a 10-RU top rack console providing rack space for additional AV gear or control. Leave a Comment
To see their entire line, go here: http://www.vaddio.com/category/furniture-systems
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Christie Brings Digital Cinema Quality to ProAV and ED Applications
For ProAV applications where resolution, brightness and image and video quality are all graded equally, Christie has a new projector to offer: the Christie D4K35. This projector provides native 4K resolution (4096×2160), uses the same DLP quality used in high-end digital cinema projection and is integrated with motorized lens mount, user replaceable lamps and field-alignable DMDs ensure that set up is fast and maintenance costs are reduced. The 32500 ANI lumen rated (2000:1 contrast ratio) D4K35 has the ability to literally display four 1080p HD signals simultaneously in native resolution, can display triple-flash 3D has lenses for normal, long-throw or super-long throw applications and just plain looks AWESOME. Leave a Comment
Check it out by going here: http://info.christiedigital.com/lp/4KProAV
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Extron's New Fiber Receiver
Extron just debuted the new FOXBOX SR HDMI, a high-performance fiber optic-to-HDMI scaling receiver for the FOX Series of fiber optic transmitters. It accepts a fiber optic signal with audio, RS232 control, and HDCP-compliant HDMI, DVI, VGA, or YUV video, then scales the video to the optimal output resolution for the display. The FOXBOX SR HDMI supports resolutions up to 1920×1200, including HDTV 1080p/60. It's available in multimode and single mode models and includes features such as Extron's Key Minder for continuous authentication of HDCP compliance, audio de-embedding, Auto Input Memory, internal test patterns, plus a compact enclosure for discreet placement. Leave a Comment
All the details can be found here: http://www.extron.com/product/product.aspx?id=foxboxsrhdmi&s=5
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Dukane's New Short Throw Projector is a Winner
Not only does the new Dukane 8107HWI looks nice, but its specs are also terrific for the fastest-growing segment of the projector market — short throw lens applications. Spec'd at 2500 ANSI lumens and a 2000:1 contrast ratio, the 16:10 aspect ratio WXGA (1280×800) resolution LCD projector uses a 4000-hour hybrid filter, includes a mic pass-through (even working in stand-by mode) and offers built-in SmartBoard'ish interactive features using an IR and ultrasonic pen sensor that acts as an interactive annotator and mouse. Inputs include VGA, video, S-Video and HDMI (yes, HDCP capable). It also has RS232 control. Leave a Comment
Here are all the details: http://www.dukane.com/av/products/Item_dvProjectors.asp?Model=8107HWI
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Kramer Launches New Scaler
Kramer has just announced a new scaler, the VP-417, that's a simple, old-fashioned scaler that takes composite video or S-Video signals and converts them to HDTV, VGA or DVI-D signals at 1080p. The VP-417 has selectable aspect ratio settings for both 4:3 and 16:9 formats, a built-in ProcAmp for video gain, brightness, contrast, color, hue and sharpness (independent H and V) control, with color control features in both the YUV and RGB color spaces. The VP-417 is housed in a compact (hand-held sized) enclosure and lists for $535. Leave a Comment
For more details, go here: http://www.kramerus.com/products/model.asp?pid=2007
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NEC's New Single Board Computers are OPS Capable
NEC Display has announced the new N8000-8330 Single Board Computer option card based on Intel’s Open Pluggable Specification (OPS), which will help standardize the design and development of digital signs in public venues. Leave a Comment
NEC’s N8000-8330 offers customers flexibility with a 320GB hard drive and Windows Embedded Standard 7. It is a true integrated solution, designed for select NEC X, P and V Series displays, including the new V462, P402 and P462. One of the most requested features by customers, the built-in expansion slot in these displays gives users greater flexibility for application types and offers a clean, professional look to set-up. The smaller form factor even enables integrated slot options in super-slim displays like the X461S and X551S. The N8000-8330 provides integration with the display by passing power, video signal and control functionality along an internal OPS connector.
NEC’s N8000-8330 just started shipping and lists for $1,580. All the specs can be found here: http://www.necdisplay.com/p/n8000-8830
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Extron's New H.264 Encoder Streams Media via the Network
Last month, Extron launched the SME 100, a live H.264 encoder for streaming audio, video and computer-video signals via the network. The SME 100 employs standards-based H.264/MPEG-4 AVC encoding and outputs an IP stream that can easily be decoded and viewed on desktop or laptop PCs. It is designed specifically to address the input requirements common to ProAV applications and supports RGB or DVI input signals up to 1920×1200 as well as standard definition and high definition video up to 1080p/60. The SME 100 also features an integrated three-input switcher with audio and buffered loop-through connections to simplify integration and offers a range of compression and bit rate controls. Extron signal processing scales and optimizes video input signals for the intended viewing application. Encoding controls also provide adjustments for bit rate and quality. By extending AV signals over networks, the SME 100 significantly expands AV system capability. Leave a Comment
To see all the details, go here: http://www.extron.com/company/article.aspx?id=sme100ad
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BenQ's Newest Short Throw is Green and Good
BenQ's first DLP projector to feature the company's energy-saving "Smart Eco Mode" technology debuted last month and we were duly impressed. Dubbed the MX850UST, BenQ's projector, when in the eco mode, uses 50 percent less energy than the average UHP projector, thus extending lamp life and, according to BenQ, less maintenance for schools. Leave a Comment
The MX850UST combines this Smart Eco Mode technology with a spec'd 13,000:1 contrast ratio, brightness of 2500 ANSI Lumens, a native XGA resolution of 1024×768, a 0.45 short-throw ratio (81 inches at 2.43 feet) and gets lamp life of 3,500/5,000 hours (normal/eco mode). The MX850UST has the ability to create a SmartBoard'ish-like interactive digital whiteboard. Unlike traditional whiteboard concepts featuring one projector and a smaller screen, BenQ's solution integrates three projectors into one seamless display.
The projector will be available at the end of this month, according to BenQ, but isn't on the website yet. When it is, it will be here: http://www.benq.us/product/projector/6/49
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Vaddio Offers Free White Paper on Future of Education AV
The use of video in education offers a world of opportunities beyond the virtual field trip. Students are growing up in a digital age and are seeking innovative ways to learn and collaborate with others. A new white paper authored by S. Ann Earon, Ph.D., “Video in Education Paradigm Shift,” examines how the distribution of content is changing the way information is accessed, and how to make the best use of video technologies to engage students at school or wherever they might be located, and at any time, day or night. Leave a Comment
Building a consistent front end will allow schools, colleges and universities to teach from a consistent platform. The “back end,” or engine, may change with new innovation. The objective is to understand that a consistent high-tech classroom can remain and grow. Tracking cameras for instructors, student cameras and touch-to-talk microphones for remote students, video whiteboards, high definition document cameras and fully integrated computers will drive the content and make it easier to communicate.
Given that new technologies and delivery systems will be introduced every year, why change the front end every time a new “engine” is developed? Add videoconferencing, streaming, video-on-demand, Skype and cloud computing, but do not change everything just because students demand an addition to their communication inventory.
The paradigm is changing. Classrooms and training rooms are becoming an important part of the decision process for CIOs and IT departments. Building a consistent and easy-to-use front end will allow students and educators to benefit from changes in technology, with only the back end components needing change. Distance learning, streaming, recording, distribution via web links are all readily available technologies. The engines will change and grow, but the consistency of the front end classroom will remain the single most important piece of the solution. Carefully selecting, quality front end products will allow organizations to cost effectively reap the benefits of video communications for many years without the need to constantly change all aspects of technology as the engines change.
Download the complete white paper from http://www.vaddio.com/white_papers.php
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TFC Says Projectors Still Dominate ED Even in "Interactive" Classrooms
This week, TFC Info announced the completion of its latest report entitled “The Use of Projection and Interactive Whiteboards in Education 2011.” TFC Info’s report examines and provides detailed information on the use of projectors and interactive whiteboards in both K-12 and higher education settings in the U.S. Leave a Comment
Display technology has long offered improved methods of presentation and education. Until recently many of these multi-media tools were largely unavailable to educators due to the combination of high prices and limited budgets of non-profit educational institutions. However, the need to improve the learning process and enhance the educational experience has been driving AV purchases in educational institutions.
Video displays are more attainable now at their current prices, and AV technology is now a possibility for more and more schools, even in price-sensitive markets such as K-12. As more schools begin incorporating video displays in their technology initiatives, there is clearly a lot of business potential in the education market. This is why TFC Info has conducted this important research that compares and contrasts display usage, preferences, and purchasing habits of the most important user groups within the education market.
This research has revealed some very interesting insights into the competitive interaction of the different display technologies. Projectors perform well in comparison to other display devices, especially among those in higher education. Projectors currently dominate in higher education due to screen size, and in K-12 due to price.
There is a strong interest in interactivity, especially in K-12. “Interactivity has progressed greatly, despite its additional cost. K-12 has made the most use of interactivity and thus gives a significantly higher priority to interactive features of video displays,” states Tanya Lippke, TFC Info Manager of Survey Market Research. “75 percent of those in K-12 state that on screen interaction is extremely/very important to them, compared to 46 percent in higher education.”
Currently interactive whiteboards are highly desired for K-12, but are not available in very large numbers yet partly due to price. Interactivity can be reached in all three technologies (projectors, whiteboards and flat panels), but right now interactive whiteboards dominate. Since a major obstacle to the acquisition of interactive displays has been price, the current emergence of lower priced interactive projectors and flat panels has the potential to have a major impact on the market position of interactive whiteboards and the rate of adoption of interactive displays in the education market.
This 260+ page report provides readers with the answers needed to more fully understand this market segment, and will enable them to approach this market in a more informed manner. Along with research conclusions of the overall education segment and usage of the displays, some important topics covered include: the install base for video displays, brand usage, future purchasing and important product characteristics, the purchase process (influencers, decision makers, frequency, and training), and much more.
Please contact Tanya Lippke, by email email@example.com or by phone at (207) 783-0055 for a brochure and outline of the research report.
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American Optometric Association Claims 3D in Classroom is Great
In collaboration with educators, vision researchers and specialist advisors from across the 3D industry, the American Optometric Association (AOA) is publishing a comprehensive report for teachers, students and parents that describes and explains the optimal uses of 3D in the classroom, including how 3D approaches to learning serve as a fulcrum for enhanced teaching and improved assurance of school readiness. Leave a Comment
This "first of its kind" report will explain how new 3D opportunities are underscored by two essential facts, 1) children often learn faster and retain more information in the 3D environment, and 2) the ability to perceive 3D and learn in 3D requires precise elements of “vision fitness.” Importantly, 3D vision fitness skills associated with eye alignment, eye tracking, and balanced and corrected refractive errors are also associated with improved overall reading and learning abilities.
The AOA represents doctors of optometry, America's Family Eye Doctors, on the frontline of eye and vision health working diligently to assure the very best vision and eye health across the nation and within every sector of society — particularly among the nation's children.
Good vision health is important for everyone, of course, and these exciting and bold opportunities in the 3D learning experience are nothing less than “a game changer,” however, as many as one in four U.S. students may be unable to partake in 3D learning activities due to under-performance of various aspects of the vision system that have gone undetected and untreated. For a growing child, vision and eye health plays a vital role in enabling them to make the most of their innate abilities as they learn to read and write; as they learn to participate comfortably and confidently in the classroom environment; and as they learn to become a fully functioning member of society.
The recent emergence of innovative 3D presentation technologies and 3D content in movie theaters, in the home, in video games and now in the classroom, perhaps surprisingly, provides a unique public health opportunity. The ability to perceive depth in a 3D presentation — known as "stereopsis" — turns out to be a highly sensitive test of a range of vision health indicators. It is much more sensitive than the standard eye chart that has been in use for 150 years, because it requires that both eyes function in a coordinated manner, as they converge, focus and track the 3D image.
If an individual experiences any of the 3D's of 3D — discomfort, dizziness and lack of depth perception — these signals can serve as an early indicator of some measure of vision impairment. The good news is that, once identified, these conditions generally respond well to treatment. This is particularly true while the vision system is developing during childhood. The report contains practical notes for teachers on the viewing of 3D in the classroom and detailed information on how best to use their observations to advance both learning and vision and eye health.
If you're interested in reading the entire report, go here: http://www.3deyehealth.org/
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