By Norbert Hildebrand
Here we are. InfoComm 2014 is basically over and all the polished product presentations are being broken down and shipped back to the office. The main event for the Pro AV industry is closing their doors on Friday and the excitement of the last three days gives way to ‘business as usual’ until the next exhibition somewhere else.
We are running around making videos and writing about the most intriguing highlights of each company. As we do so, we set up an appointment at the booth and meet with the marketing and product specialists to discuss their latest and greatest news about their respective products and services.
Of course the topics of the conversation depends on the particular company, but it typically starts with me asking “What is new for InfoComm this year?” Of course the answers vary widely depending on the field the company is working in, but they always have something they want announce or present to the public.
After many discussions themes starts to emerge from those meetings that exist across many different product lines. One of these messages for me at InfoComm 2014 is 4K.
Almost no meeting goes by where there is not some kind of focus on 4K technology. The holy grail for this year seems to be the 4K 60Hz video capability. With very few 4K displays in the market right now and even less real 4K content being used in Pro AV now, we are looking at a trend that will sweep through the Pro AV industry in the coming years.
4K displays are used for digital signage, commercial TVs, interactive touch enabled display, desktop monitors, projectors, LED walls, LCD walls and rear projection cubes. A display not saying 4K or UHD in bold letters on top may just be considered a value product now.
This 4K theme continues thought the supporting ecosystem as well. 4K switches, scalers and any other component you can imagine are already 4K ready. Of course the question of connectivity is still up in the air, with most manufacturers pointing to HDMI 2 or Display Port 1.2 for the connections at the display level.
With the 4K theme, we also see a growth spurt hitting the commercial LCDs. Where 60″ to 70″ sizes where the main topic last year the upper end has shifted to 84″ and 98″. At the same time smaller displays with 4K resolution are also offered for desktop applications. These are aimed at 4K workflow applications and installations where the high resolution is paramount. 4K displays in the 30″ range were shown by several manufacturers.
In wall applications, 4K was always readily available, every 2×2 installation of full HD panels was a 4K display afterall. With the advent of 4K single panels, the focus shifts towards 8K and beyond already. From a more practical standpoint, 4K displays will drive the availability of 4K content and this will make 4K video walls more attractive as well.
Any way you look at it, the average pixel number per screen will be growing in the Pro AV field, as these new displays are entering the market. This will require an upgrade to the existing infrastructure to take full advantage of the now available higher image quality.