3. ALTINEX Introduces Twisted Pair INTERA Wall Receiver and Transmitter
ALTINEX's new DS801-110 Transmitter and DS801-111 Receiver are two Twisted Pair audiovisual solutions in the company's INTERA series of wall mount Designer Solutions.
The DS801-110 Transmitter is designed as a wall installation to transmit RGBHV or component video and audio over UTP cable and offers a female 15-pin HD input with native Plug and Play compatibility. A 3.5mm Stereo Audio jack aids input, which is converted to Mono Audio prior to transmission. The DS801-111 Receiver receives computer video and audio encoded Twisted Pair signals and provides video equalization for cable runs up to 300ft.
The products feature VGA through UXGA over UTP cable, signal detect, plug and play and compatibility with all other ALTINEX Twisted Pair products. They are wall-mountable.
4. Microsoft Designs Handheld PC
Microsoft this week debuted its new personal computer, a little thing weighing 2.5 pounds and just 1-inch thick with a 7-inch screen. Code-named "Origami," it looks remarkably like Crestron's Isys i/O.
This new Ultra-Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC), shown for the first time at CeBIT in Germany, is basically a prototype of what's to come from OEM partners, who will actually do the manufacturing of the computers. The computers, as of now, will use Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, Touch Pack for Windows XP, providing large buttons and icons and a thumb-based on-screen keyboard. Future models, says Microsoft, will run the upcoming Windows Vista software. And, you can hook up a keyboard via USB or Bluetooth so it can be used as a desktop, too.
Look for more and more use of ultra-portable PCs and tablet PCs during presentations to both provide content as well as control various aspects of the presentation and presentation equipment.
5. Da-Lite Adds Plug-and-Play Designer Cinema
Da-Lite Screen Company Inc. announced the company's Designer Cinema front projection screen. The Designer Cinema features a pre-wired inline power cord with a three position control switch on the power cord - a great feature for just about any application, really. The Designer Cinema can be mounted on the ceiling or wall with the included adjustable mounting brackets. The Designer Cinema features a white, two piece curved aluminum extruded case or the optional graphite case finish for a more contemporary look. This screen is available in Video, HDTV and square formats up to 8' wide, and with the choice of five different front projection screen surfaces.
6. New Motorized Mounts From Draper
Draper announced two new motorized mounts, The Phantom and The Orbiter. The Phantom allows the projector to be mounted into a framework above the ceiling then, when activated, a trapdoor opens and the projector lowers into position. The projector is aligned with the screen during installation.
The Orbiter is a mount that conceals the projector above the ceiling, and the user uses a switch or wireless transmitter to place the projector into "show" position. Draper says the mount can fit into small cavities.
7. Canon Debuts Three XGA Presentation Projectors
Canon introduced three projectors designed for education, business, government, and other commercial applications. The Canon LV-7255, LV-7250 and LV-X6 are XGA LCD projectors specified at 2500 ANSI lumens, 2000 ANSI lumens, and 1500 ANSI, respectively, and the LV-7255 and LV-7250 at 600:1 contrast ratio; the LV-X6 at 500:1.
One unique feature is the "drag mode" which lets presenters use the remote control to wirelessly drag and move on-screen graphics as they're presented. Another is the seven color adjustments for projecting on just about any color surface -- greenboard, light yellow, light green, light blue, sky blue, light rose, and pink as well as white. The projectors also have presets for Video, Cinema, Standard, and sRGB.
The first two models run at 30dB, but the LV-X6 runs at an unusually quiet 25dB. The projectors range in weight from 6.4 to 7.3 pounds.
8. New Feature Lets NEC Plasma Users Insert Text Over Image
NEC has a new feature called Text Insert, a very cool bonus that lets users overlay text atop a video or other image. The text can scroll, and can be placed in four different positions on the screen - top bottom, upper and lower middle. Especially nice is that the transparency is adjustable so the text can occupy its own section of the screen in a horizontal band, or it can be superimposed over the image.
It's a great feature NEC is offering but more importantly is you don't need special software - you can just pull the text from another source, such as PowerPoint. So, in the case of lobby signage, you could have the company logo or video with welcome messages scrolling across.
9. Sony Introduces Digital Signage Plasma
Sony introduced a 42-inch plasma display for signage, boardroom and other business uses and it can be networked with an optional network media card.
The FWD-42PX2 42-inch plasma is specified at 450cd/m2 brightness and 10,000:1 (in a dark room), and offers DVI-HDCP and RS232 connectivity, as well as dual option accessory and input slots. It also has picture-in-picture and video wall connectivity.
10. DPI Announces Anamorphic TheaterScope System
Digital Projection International is taking orders for its new TheaterScope System, an anamorphic-based system with an ISCO 1.33 anamorphic lens and motorized lens sled intended for use with DPI's dVision 1080p, dVision HD, Mercury HD and Mercury 5000HD projectors. (TheaterScope for the iVision and iVision 20 series are expected to follow later this year.)
TheaterScope provides accurate, RS232 controlled positioning of the anamorphic lens in front of the primary projection lens. This allows native HD 16 x 9 aspect ratio projectors to display both HD and 2.35:1 content on fixed-height screens with no letterbox (horizontal black bars). In operation, the width of the 16 x 9 screen is increased to match 2.35:1 aspect ratio sources, so it maintains screen height while increasing the overall image area by 33 percent.
The anamorphic sled is engineered so the projector always employs the full area of the 16x9 DMD, even when displaying 2.35 aspect ratio material -- maximizing on-screen resolution and brightness. When presented with 2.35 content, the dVision's electronics, or the VIP 1000, vertically stretch the source to fill the full height of the DMD. In tandem, a quiet motor moves the anamorphic lens into the precise position in front of the projector's primary lens, according to the company, optically stretching the image by a factor of 1.33. The resulting image is displayed in a true 2.35 aspect ratio, similar to that of many commercial cinemas.
11. Flat Panels - Out of Sight!
Flat panel technology has come very far in the past few years. The prices have dropped to become more affordable by most organizations and the sizes keep getting larger. There are actually panels available now in sizes over 100 inches diagonal.
Blank plasmas or LCD screens give visitors to your lobby or boardroom an impression that something should be on the screen, so it can be a bit distracting when the large flat panel is blank. There are now companies that exist especially to find ways of replacing the big blank void in creative ways.
You can now buy DVDs to turn that blank screen into a variety of eye-catching images. You may want a virtual exotic fish tank in full high definition resolution or a blazing fireplace. For example visitors can watch sunsets and clouds as they move across the sky, an ocean view or a waterfall.
More often than not, organizations are choosing works of art to cover the screens. There are quite a few companies that sell high definition DVDs for displaying fine art on your plasma or LCD panel (you likely want to get one that functions as a slideshow of different works in order to keep the screen saver benefit).
One of the newest developments is probably the best when it comes to saving the life of your panel. There are now frames that fit around your panel that have motors inside them. When you push a button on the remote control, a piece of art actually descends over the panel. Another push of the button raises it and completely hides it out of view for when you want to use the monitor. So, what appears to be a Van Gogh or Degas in a frame is actually cover for the large flat panel monitor.
Another new way of keeping those large screen monitors out of view is accomplished with furniture designs. One of the most popular these days is a console equipped with a lift. When not in use, it appears as any other lowboy or console. With the push of a button on a remote, the panel raises up from inside the console, then appears to be sitting atop of it. Another push of the remote lowers it down, completely out of view.
There are also larger pieces of furniture built as bookcases. In the middle is a section that operates like a secret door - it rotates. So when in normal position, it's just a bookcase. When you rotate the middle, there's the monitor!
We can also build a rotating section right into your wall. So, on one side, you can display art, award plaques, photos of executives, etc., and then rotate that part of the wall to access the monitor.
12. Projector Mania
What happens when prices for certain technologies plummet? The manufacturers start packing in the features in hopes of getting an edge. That's what is happening with projectors these days and buyers have never had it so good. In this article, we take a look at the different ways projector manufacturers are trying to differentiating their products.
Portable projectors have been around for years, but current models have far better specifications than in the past. What used to come in a 35-pound box can now be found in 5 pounds or less, including 2000 lumen brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio and even XGA or higher resolution. Now, projectors can easily be carried from classroom to classroom, office to boardroom, and headquarters to sales call. There are even 2-pound (or less) projectors that can get the job done, but you will sacrifice some specs. Still, for many data presentations, the get the job done.
Speaking of specifications, the offerings vary greatly today, from a typical low of 1000 lumens of brightness to 20,000 or more for large venues. More high definition (1920 x 1080 resolution, for example) models are coming to market - which are fantastic when your typical presentation contains high definition video. Contrast ratios are often typically higher in the new models, with most starting at 1000:1 (although some are still marketed with 300:1 and 500:1 which, again, can be suitable for data projection).
In the home video market, 16:9 aspect ratio, roughly the same wider format you find in movies, is replacing the older 4:3 that you saw with all older television sets. The same thing is happening in much of the commercial world. It's simply easier to buy a 16:9 projector or monitor so that you can display either 16:9 or 4:3 content. In addition, more content creation software now accommodates 16:9 aspect ratio - PowerPoint does.
Some projectors operate as a computer, too, allowing you to open multiple windows of data and video in any combination. A 16:9 aspect ratio lets you show more on the screen at any given time.
Adjustments for projecting on colored walls
One of the most practical new developments is the ability to project on different colored surfaces. This trend began with a blackboard projection feature. Teachers could push a button on the projector that adjusted the colors to be able to project on a blackboard and have it look almost as good as projecting on a professional projection screen. More recently, manufacturers have built in a wide variety of color adjustments to accommodate yellow, off white, blue - just about any typical wall color. While it will never look as good as when you select the right screen with the right gain and surface, this feature helps you in a pinch.
The monitor out function, found on most projectors these days, allows the presenter to watch a second monitor in front of them while the audience watches the bigger screen behind the presenter. This is a great feature because the presenter need not turn around to look at the image to be sure it's what was desired. Instead, the presenter "monitors" what's happening behind him or her on the small monitor in front of them.
Shorter throw lenses
A number of projectors these days have short throw lenses. What that means is that you can position the projector closer to the screen than in previous models. To get that nice 80-inch image from the projector, you used to have to position it way across the room. Some of today's projectors can actually accomplish that size image from as few as six inches away from the screen, which gives you a lot more flexibility for where you want to place the projector.
Wires and wireless
The ability to add a projector to the local area network is almost a standard feature these days. Many administrators want all AV devices hooked up to the network so that they can monitor them for when they need servicing, when they are left on when they should be off, and when they are removed without authorization. Wireless connectivity adds the benefit of being able to share users. If multiple laptop users in a room want to share the same projector, a wireless connection makes it very simple to change presenters. No more need to unplug the cord and lug it across the room to plug into another laptop!
There are a handful of projector manufacturers that now offer projectors with built-in DVD players. Most of these combo units were designed for the home user. They come in a variety of specs, although they aren't that far apart in that respect.
Before those attractive price points lure you into a purchase, be sure to call us first. We can tell you about all the new features available on new projector models and we can assist you in selecting the best projector to meet your particular needs.