I had a good talk this afternoon with Ron Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing, at the Adtec Digital booth. Ron has to be one of the most well-traveled people in the business. Among many other places, he’s been to Europe and seen the way they have embraced digital signage and its huge array of applications there. It appears that in this field, as in others, the U.S. had better have its act together to keep up. The people there have taken a very practical approach and from what Ron tells me, they have gotten a good government-private partnership going to clear obstacles and maintain a very competitive position. While a lot of companies have struggled or gone under completely, Adtec has not only survived but thrived with a good take on the pulse of the industry worldwide. For instance, Adtec has developed applications that really put the often overlooked concept of metadata to work in the real world environment. Machine-generated and human-authored metadata appear to have been used effectively by Adtec in their latest products. It was a real pleasure listening to Ron’s take on the state of this fast moving and dynamic business.
Archive by Bennett Liles
As wonderful as HDMI has been so far, one of its real weak points has been the inability for it to span any serious distance. At InfoComm this morning, Frank Jachetta of MultiDyne introduced the company’s new HDMI-ONE, which takes HDMI video and sound up to distances of 1000 meters on multimode fiber while HDCP data stays intact. Frank also showed the new SilverBullet 3G Fiber Link, an economical solution for taking SDI and HD-SDI signals for a long ride on single-mode fiber. Also on hand from MultiDyne was the new HDSDI Repeater/Transport and HDSDI Fan Out DA with HDMI and Audio monitoring.
The comedian walked onstage and began telling a few jokes, to the crowd’s amusement. Of course, they knew he was actually in London and the curiosity about how the transmission was being accomplished was evident. But then the performer began interacting with individual members of the audience and the demo really got interesting. The holographic detail was very convincing and there was no noticeable latency. The comedian was followed by a guitarist singing a song and it appeared that he could have walked right into the crowd and thrown down a hat for contibutions. The show was arranged to demo the Masergy IP-linked holographic transmission technology that shows real promise in specific applications. There was no fading, blinking, or miscolored image, and the 3D performers’ ability to naturally interact with the InfoComm crowd really sold the idea. It was fun participating in the Musion transatlantic 3D holographic telepresence demo.
The crowd had barely made the floor this morning when interested parties began surrounding the Communications Specialities booth for a glimpse of its new 3620TX and 3621RX units for carrying composite video and stereo sound on fiber. The audio is DIP-switch configurable and the power connects on a captive screw connector. The tiny units are indicative of the shrinking size on this type of hardware from all the manufacturers. The 3620TX and 3621RX can send the signals on single-mode or multimode fiber.
Kramer‘s Max Kopsho is a dead ringer for Rod Serling, but Kramer’s new gear is definitely not stuck in the Twilight Zone. Several new units have taken the spotlight at the show this morning including the 670T/670R fiber-optic transmitter/receivers for HDMI fiber optic audio and video conveyance. Joining them are the 871T/871R pair for DVI video over fiber. The competition is this field is fierce and Kramer certainly hasn’t backed away from it. It’s also unveiling the 873T/873R pair for carrying four separate video channels in 3G HD-SDI over fiber. Products such as this have generated quite a bit of interest on the show floor already and Max is in the middle of a big crowd right now with these tiny units.
I talked a bit with automatic mic mixer inventor Dan Dugan, and he did a demo of his Model E-1 automatic mic mixer controller. This unit connects to any mixer that has insert patch points and turns it into an eight channel automatic mixer. The operation has gone way past the old mechanical style alogrithms of days gone by. The E-1 shows the gain it’s doing on an LED ladder and keeps a low level background sound constant so there’s no distracting pumping and jumping that you have with lesser auto mixers. Would you expect anything less from the guy who invented the whole concept? The E-1 can be connected in groups of 8 up to 64 channels and no matter if it’s one or several units working, the function is very natural, just like a real, experienced audio guy would handle it.
Aidan Williams and his crew have their own booth at this year’s show, and they expect big thing to be coming up soon for Dante, their audio networking protocol. Yamaha will be marketing mixers with a new Dante card than enables 16 audio channels on one Cat-5 cable, and the price is surprisingly low… very entry level cost. Bosch has included Dante networking, and the list of Audinate partners continues to grow. July’s Networked AV Podcast will feature a conversation with CTO Aidan Williams discussing how Dante works and what’s coming up for their Austrailian company.
John Lopinto and Derek Miranda at Communications Specialties gave me a great demo of their new 3150 series fiber transmission hardware. It can handle either single or multi-mode for HD and SD with no adjustments and the system has two significant firsts. The whole thing is built on strict adherence to SMPTE standards fo that it can connect anywhere to anyone’s standards-compliant equipment. Secondly, the transmitter performs EQ and reclocking so that as the signal goes onto the fiber, it is as stable as it can possibly be. They were taking a video signal and running it through 250 feet of coax and then into a one kilometer reel of fiber and it looked as clean as the original video on the source monitor. Next door in the Projection Design booth, all of the large venue displays were taking their video signals through CSI’s fiber. The crowd at the CSI booth pressed in to get a look and it appeared that word had gotten around. John Lopinto told me that the new 3150 series has “caught fire like no other new product we’ve introduced.”
At the FiberPlex booth I was taken on a tour into the LightViper Shadow system by Sam Spennachio. With a 19-inch rack hardware base, the LightViper Shadow system can send up to 128 separate channels of audio, video and intercom on a bi-directional fiber link with two fiber lines. Each channel’s activity is displayed with LED activity the brightness of which adjusts itself automatically to deal with the ambient light level. The Shadow system can also adjust the sampling rate of its audio transmission to match that of any system with which it happens to be working. Hot swappable redundant power supplies give the hardware a seemingly rock solid base for reliability and the mic preamps can be remotely adjusted in 1dB steps. This was an impressive demo. Stay tuned for the audio segment with Sam in the Infocomm edition of the AV over Fiber podcast.
X2O Media gave me a great demo of their Xpresenter Player and server system for digital signage. The content creation is PowerPoint based but you certainly wouldn’t know that by just looking at it. In fact, there is an even simpler mode that uses templates to create some pretty CNN-like signage displays. Touch screens can be designed too and I was show one that has a lot of different possible applications. They sure could use a system like the one X2O Media showed me just to get people from one place to another here in the exhibit halls. Maybe we’ll see something like that next year. A system that actually worked from any entrance to get people quickly to the booth they want would be the greatest sales trick ever.