Archive by Bennett Liles

Barix Helps Churches Reach Out and Go Green

We’ve talked a good bit about how even the smallest churches can be worldwide broadcasters on the Internet now with very little financial investment and a small technical personnel base. The tech guru is usually someone in the congregation who works at a computer company or broadcast station. The Barix Instreamer can take the audio mix right out of the mixer and send it directly online or to a digital storage device for delayed broadcast. Barix Technology is also showing some boxes that can interface with the HVAC and lighting systems to shut down lights and change climate control settings according to the building activity schedule. Saving increasingly expensive energy and providing a worldwide conduit for the church message costs a surprisingly small amount. The InStreamer lists for only $395 and is so simple to set up, any local tech “guru” in the congregation can manage it. Thanks to Andy Stadheim, Brian Galante and the Barix crew for the demo.

New Projector Upgrades from Epson

The Epson booth is swarming with new products and interested parties today as the company shows its new portables for presenters on the go. These little pearly white machines with soft corners have several new features that I can certainly appreciate for high use environments. While they still can accomodate the usual analog formats, digital has moved in and the great thing is that you can have direct USB conveyance from the computer to the projector with no configuration or source hunting at all. Turn on the projector and the computer. Connect the two with a USB cable and your image is up on the screen. No more fumbling with the function key combos. The new models have A type USB, HDMI and SD card slots as well, so you can have your presentation on just about anything.

These new projectors were made to meet the format and learning curve challenges that have been colliding on so much equipment and it appears that a lot of careful though and customer feedback went into them. It was a great demo.

Four New Products from C-Nario

Yael Elstein, the C-nario VP of Marketing and David Kanaan gave me the tour of new things from C-nario. This included a demonstration of the C-nario Cube, the digital signage display, distribution and management platform for messaging in better than broadcast quality playback. The learning curve on this seems to very easy and the demo included setup of various patterns on a 40-screen monitor wall. These can be saved as presets and then recalled with one button push completely reassigning every individual monitor and its content source. C-nario Advertiser ad management system blends with this to allow complete control and reporting of all content. The C-nario Entertainer allows managing and operating complex, high-quality video based shows to add excitement to any event. The C-nario Messenger can show a screenful of individual displays so that an operator or controller can see exactly what each screen in an ad network is doing in real time. Email trouble reporting is also possible for rapid troubleshooting. This was a very impressive demo and C-nario seems to have a lot of the right answers with this system.

Extron’s Explosion of New Products

Extron Global Viewer EnterpriseYou can always count on Extron to have a lot of new things to unleash on the Infocomm crowd and this year is no exeption. Director of marketing communication, Mike Andrews showed Michael Goldman, Jessaca Gutierrez and I around the massive Extron area and I was particularly impressed with their new Global Viewer Enterprise. This is the new server-based AV system management and control application that I got a sneak peek at during the Educators’ reception. The primary advantage is multi-rooms at a glance with lamp time meters and a host of other control and management features. more…

Cabletime’s Mediastar Evolution

crestron_mediastar_evolution.jpgI just came from talking with Paul Reeves at the Cabletime booth where he was showing me their Linux-based Mediastar Evolution for showing multimedia content in a variety of distribution situations. The box has been out for a couple of years now but the new administration program is what they’re releasing here at the show. The display looks like a video editing timeline where you can drag and drop to insert content such as web pages, video in various formats, stills and just about anything else including live camera video. You’ve got RJ-45 and RS-232 interfaces, S-video, composite, DVI outs; a very versatile little box and now the new administrator software is adding a whole new angle of power to it.

Tactical Fiber from Belden

belden.jpgI also had a great talk with Marc Stringer at the Belden booth about their tactical fiber products. One of the reasons for the term “tactical fiber” originated with the military. You don’t get much more tough a condition than the military can present and in the past years there was some concern about taking fiber optic cable on the road. Some figured that fiber wouldn’t be tough enough to stand up to the rigors of field use. In response to that and due to the fact that fiber has obvious advantages for military use, including the fact that it cannot be inductively tapped, “tactical” fiber with kevlar jacketing was developed and is now in wide use by TV trucks and other mobile users. Marc also told me about the lower bend radius that’s possible with the new stuff so it can actually be twisted around and crossed over itself rather tightly with no significant ill effects. The mobile uses of course benefit from the drastic reduction in weight over equivalent lengths of copper. Fuel costs going the way they are and copper costs, too, fiber is an increasingly attractive prospect for mobile field applications.

InFocus and USB Connectivity

InFocus IN5100The InFocus people have been especially great. I wandered into their booth a little shagged out from all the running around and I was immediately standing amid their people, all of whom were ready to answer my questions. The really nifty thing about what they have now is that with USB connectivity between their projectors and a laptop, you can send the external monitor signal to the projector without having all of the usual VGA cable problems; bent pins and so forth. That would really be a great thing for me on my university campus where I have to replace at least half a dozen busted VGA cables a week amid 88 classrooms. They’re also planning to get with me on possible firmware upgrades to deal with the problems that occur with projectors of all makes and models shutting down in response to short electrical transients. That’s what I call service!!

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Sliding racks and USB connectivity

glideturn_drawerextended_300dpi-jpg.jpgHi, All:

It has been a whirlwind day already. I just came from the Stantron booth (C3487) where they demonstrated thier sliding and rotating racks for me. As one who has installed a lot of rack mounted equipment in some pretty tight spaces, I’m impressed by the fact that these seem to have been designed by the people who have some of the same permanent rack indentions in their bodies as I have. It has to have been someone who has actually done these installations to think of some of the things these racks do. They have a little click button at the bottom center on the front that unlocks the rack and then the whole deal just slides straight out and rotates around. All you have to do is make sure you install the equipment with enough extra cable to allow the rotation. There’s plenty to know even about wiring these but if it’s done right, these racks can save a huge amount of grief, expecially when it comes to upgrading with new gear and taking out the old stuff. I wish they had been around all along!

Booths Powering Up

Here on the InfoComm exhibit floor, all the AC power swings down from the high ceiling on big cables and from the vantage point of the Penton booth N7649, I can look across the hall and see the AC cables swinging around and a few minutes later, the booths are lighting up. I’m anticipating new developments in the area of digital audio networks and I’m going to be watching for any new hardware that helps translate between any of the various proprietary protocols. There are a lot of them out there now so we’ll soon see if anyone comes up with any new stuff to help them talk to one another when necessary.

Last night I was given a demonstration at the Educators’ reception. It appears that Extron will have a big surprise for everyone in the area of control and system configuration software. I saw it work last night and as one who uses an Extron system to control and monitor several dozen classroom AV systems on a daily basis, I’m really excited about the possibilities. If it’s as good as this looks, I want to be one of the first “local gurus” on using it. This is one time I won’t mind being something of a lab rat!

Things are really picking up here now. The noise level is building a little and more people are showing up here at the Penton booth.

Initial Report

Well, hello all, from InfoComm 08, the biggest show of all. Exhibitors have worked feverishly all night long. I was on the floor just last night and you wouldn’t recognize the place right now, only a few hours later! The carpet is down, the numbering system is in place and the attendees are streaming in. With two shows co-located, there is a real potential for mass confusion but as of now, everthing seems to be going very well.

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The editors of Sound & Video Contractor post live from InfoComm as the news happens. Check back several times a day for the latest industry news, reports from press conferences, and product introductions.

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