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Archive by Michael Goldman

Da-Lite’s Pioneer

Among the celebratory awards given out today by InfoComm International to launch the exhibition was the first ever InfoComm International Pioneer of AV Award, and it went to a long-deceased single mom who started what would become the Da-Lite Screen Company exactly 100 years ago—about eight years before should could legally vote. That woman is company founder Adele de Berri who, divorced and seeking an income, used her knowledge of paint and its reflective qualities to launch what was then called the De Berri Screen and Scenic Company around the same time that Thomas Edison and George Eastman were busy inventing the technologies that would give birth to the motion picture industry.

To celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary, Da-Lite has a cool historical exhibit at its booth (4401) about the life and history of Adele de Berri, and the historical achievements that led to her becoming, truly, a pioneer of the AV industry.

Incidentally, Da-Lite officials report good and interesting success with the new web site they started in March—the Da-Lite Design Center, which offers virtual design expertise for custom configurations for all sorts of applications such as trade shows, special events, and recently, a unique star-shaped screen for a boardroom at the headquarters of Macy’s.

—MG

More Panasonic Jumbos

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Panasonic‘s newest jumbo plasma screen—this time, an 85in. professional display showcased in a variety of applications at the Panasonic booth (4441).

While admiring it, I met with Jim Noecker, director of Systems Sales Engineering for Panasonic, who talked me through the display’s merits (50 percent brigher than the monster 103in. Panasonic display, NeoPDP energy-efficient technology, and so on). Among the most cool, and yet disconcerting aspects of the screen, is that it can display a person at their true height when turned vertically (and Panasonic has technology for doing just that). Jim also discussed the company’s very interesting “LCD versus Plasma” demo room display (the Panasonic point, shared by many, is that high-quality plasmas are better for professional displays), and the industry’s moves toward energy efficiency in these different types of displays (lead out, for instance, was easy because it only involved changing solder ingredients in circuitry), and many other interesting things on the mega-display front.

—MG

Re-Engineering Stewart

Stewart Audio AV25Partners Brian McCormick and Sean O’Malley, owners since 2007 of Stewart Audio, were eager to discuss this afternoon the fundamental remaking of their company over the past two years. The company still serves its original live-sound amplifier clients, but the new owners, who bought Stewart after lengthy stints in the semiconductor industry, decided to “re-engineer the company and seek new markets,” according to O’Malley.

Thus, today at InfoComm 09, they debuted the company’s new portable (palm-sized) power amps—the AV25 (2-channel Class D amp at 35W and 25W) that weighs less than .5lbs. and is plenum-rated, and other versions of similar size and different power capabilities. Both men say the technology is aimed at the education market—new for Stewart—and is the first of many upcoming moves into new vertical markets. O’Malley suggests that in a difficult economy, the education market is particularly ripe, at least for a certain period of time, as bond and TARP funds for modest infrastructure upgrades begin to circulate in major districts. more…

True Hospitality

LG 42LG700H at InfoComm 09Checking out the little hotel room setup at the LG booth (5321), I noticed the Pro:Centricâ„¢ LCD Widescreen monitors there, and soon found my self in a chat with LG National Sales Manager Ron Lindeman about the present and future of the hospitality market. Ron explained that the movement of LG and other manufacturers into the “smart” side of hospitality, or as he calls it, the “solutions side” is moving ahead far quicker than many of us might have imagined.

Despite the economic downturn, Ron said several major hotel chains are already partnering with LG dealers to upgrade and install user-oriented solutions networked with LG monitors designed to make visits to such hotels, and repeat visits especially, more luxurious. The notion is that they need state-of-the-art, high-end technology infrastructures to lure visitors in this challenging economy, and more importantly, after the economy finally improves. more…

I Need to Get Out More

Gazing at a beautiful video jukebox at the LG booth (5321) this morning (47-in. LG plasma running interactive jukebox software from Ecast), I happened to comment that it was about time video jukeboxes were infiltrating bars, restaurants and clubs. LG officials told me such systems are up and running at dozens of venues and at US Cellular Field in Chicago, where the Chicago White Sox play. They’re quite common in bars, I learned. Who knew? I don’t visit bars and, as a result, a huge gap in my learning has developed. Perhaps I’ll rectify that this week in Orlando.

–MG

Canon WUX10 Demo

Canon Realis WUX10 Mark II DCanon has a cool demo going on at its booth (5249) for the next generation of the Realis WUX10 projector. The WUX10 Mark II D prototype (expected to ship in October), in DICOM Simulation mode, is being promoted specifically for medical teaching (not diagnosis, the Canon guys emphasized out of an abundance of caution) applications.

The demo (1920×1200 resolution via Canon’s LCoS and AISYS technologies) is impressive, with gamma adjustable and grayscale detail that medical professionals will probably find even more impressive than I did.

Canon is showing various Realis configurations for all sorts of applications in its various demos—immersive in a dome, 3D, medical, and much more. Worth taking a gander at during your InfoComm wanderings.

—MG

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Yamaha and Dante

As InfoComm 09 launched this morning, I immediately ran into an old friend, Marc Lopez of Yamaha. Marc pointed out how big a deal digital audio networking is to a manufacturer like Yamaha, and said as of InfoComm 09, that most new Yamaha hardware is now networkable with Audinate‘s Dante protocol. A formal press conference at the Audinate booth (5842) Wednesday will have more details, but Yamaha will start distributing a new Dante nework format card in September. It’s a format Marc says Yamaha “sees a lot of potential in. We are now fluid in the langauge of Dante.”

As is Yamaha with all other legitimate network protocols. And Yamaha has a variety of other software news going on this year, such as its new DME software update (DME v. 3.5). The boys in Yamaha’s labs, he admits, spend much of their time these days on software design and development even though the company will always be known first and foremost as a hardware manufacturer. These days, those two missions are hopelessly, and permanently, intertwined. more…

ARCHIVE: Adtec’s Approach

mediaHub-HDAs the show madness started easing up, I had time for a nice chat with the always cheery Ron Johnson, director of sales and marketing for Adtec Digital (N6825) this afternoon. After regaling me for a while with tales from the early days of digital signage (“we called our product 13 years ago a multimedia player device, but it was digital signage back before most people knew that term,” Ron said), he spoke with pride about a cool little device from Adtec called mediaHUB HD–a 1080i and 720p encoder that made its InfoComm debut this week.

Ron was particularly pleased that the mediaHUB, checking in at a price point around $12,000, is more than a real-time encoder. It also has a hard drive and can play the role of a scheduling and management server, among other chores. more…

ARCHIVE: Chief Marketing

mb01.jpgDealing with marketing professionals is a daily occurance for a journalist, so it takes a lot to impress me, but I do have to offer kudos to the marketing team at Chief Manufacturing, led by marketing manager Karen Mefford. The reason for this pat on the back is Chief’s keen understanding of the need for, and importance of, useful online tools for customers, dealers, and the media to use in order to fully absorb the Chief message. Thus, this week at InfoComm, the company debuted the latest in a sophisticated suite of web products created by its three-person, in-house web development team–a tool called Chief MountBuilder, which Chief is calling “a visual product configurator” of use to dealers, installers, and others incorporating Chief technology into jobs.

You can check out the free, downloadable configurator for yourself at www.chiefmfg.com/mountbuilder, but the point is that MountBuilder is just the latest online tool from a company that has been, as it celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year, at its core, an engineering firm dedicated to making a very highly specialized product. Chief, in recent months, also debuted its “Online Classroom,” its “Education Center,” its “Knowledge College” and its “Design Center,” among other useful web tools. more…

ARCHIVE: LG’s Prototypes

Lots going on at LG‘s booth (N5941), but I liked the prototypes best. Cool, sort of out-of-the-box LCD displays that may, or may not, have useful applications in the world of digital signage are on display at the booth. Among them:

*LG’s “Stretch Screen” Flatiron display for an ultra-wide-screen look. It has a fancy model number, but company officials insist “Stretch” is name enough. Check it out, and you’ll see what they mean. more…

About

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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