3. LG Electronics Announces 71-inch Plasma
LG Electronics announced a 71-inch widescreen HD plasma TV. The MW-71PY10 is specified at 1920 x 1080p resolution and includes LG's XD Engine technology for detail and color enhancement and minimizing distortion and noise, bringing analog signals to near high definition.
Inputs on the MW-71PY10 include DVI+HDCP, HDMI, RS-232C and PC. LG says the new MW-71PY10 is capable of displaying nine PIP pictures on the screen and the PIP has split-zoom and twin-picture features. The sub-windows can be moved, resized, swapped, and split into multiple windows.
4. Peerless Unveils New Mounts
Peerless Industries has several new low-profile mounts. The Flat Panel Universal Tilt Wall Mount is a single/double stud mounting system with a universal bracket for most 32"-63" displays. It has a nice touch tilt system that doesn't use knobs or tools, making it much easier to change the tilt anytime.
The new LCD Adjustable Wall Arm/Side Cabinet Mount with Channeled Cord Management is for 13"-22" LCD screens to pivot and articulate up to 23.4" in all directions.
Peerless also showed its Universal Ceiling Projector Mount that makes it easy to remove and replace the projector, so that you can change the bulbs or service the projector more easily. It is also easy to align the projector using the mount by simply hand-adjusting alignment points.
5. Epson Introduces 4000-Lumen, Network Projector
Epson America introduced a new XGA-resolution projector specified at 4000 ANSI lumens and 700:1 contrast ratio. The PowerLite 7900p is based on 3LCD technology and weighs 12.3 pounds.
There is a built-in Ethernet port for attaching it to the network and the company's Quick Corner onscreen interface can control keystone corrections. Wall Shot provides automatic color corrections, useful when projecting onto colored surfaces. The projector has two brightness levels for accommodating ambient light and saving bulb life.
Inputs include D-sub15, BNC, DVI, S-Video, video and monitor out. The PowerLite 7900p has a 1.35x zoom lens and there are several optional lenses.
6. Polycom Ships Wireless Conference Phone System
Polycom is shipping its SoundStation2W, a wireless conference phone that has the look and feel of its well known triangle-shaped SoundStation phones. The SoundStation2W uses a secure 2.4 GHz technology with encryption and offers up to 24 hours of talk time using a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery. You can also dial this phone using a cell phone.
The SoundStation2W has an LCD display that provides battery information and wireless signal status, caller ID and speed dial programming.
7. Christie Shipping New SXGA+ Resolution DLP Projector
Christie is shipping its new DS+25, a DLP projector specified at 2500 ANSI lumens, 2500:1 contrast ratio and native SXGA+ resolution of 1400x1050.
The DS+25 uses TI's Darkship2 DLP technology and Christie says it offers up to 4,000 hours of operation from a single lamp. Christie's projector lineup is now one of the most complete lineups on the market covering ProAV, HomeAV and even staging and rental applications.
The new projector has integrated, on-board ChristieNET network connectivity for monitoring and control over IP.
8. Linksys Debuts Wireless-G Internet Video Camera
Linksys has a new video camera that lets you monitor your room via a web browser from anywhere in the world. The Wireless-G Internet Video Camera sends a live video stream, including sound, through the internet without having to attach it to a PC (it uses its own IP address). It connects directly to the Ethernet or wireless network and can be mounted on a wall or can sit on a stand.
The camera's security mode is a motion detection system. When the camera detects motion, it begins to record the video and audio feed and also sends an e-mail alert to the email inbox,, a pager or a cell phone. Up to three e-mail alerts can be sent simultaneously, including a short video clip in an email attachment.
9. RGB Spectrum ComputerWall III Offers up to 80 Frames Per Second Real-Time Display
The new ComputerWall III multi-screen display controller was announced by RGB Spectrum. The product is especially designed for mission critical video/data wall applications, including command centers, control rooms, communication hubs, network operations centers, and presentations.
The ComputerWall III displays high resolution graphics, video, and HDTV sources in real time across a 2 x 2, 1 x 2, 1 x 3, or 1 x 4 screen configurations. Larger walls can be served using multiple ComputerWall units.
The ComputerWall III supports a wide range of input signals: high resolution RGB, DVI, HDTV, NTSC/PAL, S-Video, and component video. It accepts signals at up to 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution and converts them to any RGB or DVI format.
The ComputerWall features full real time display of inputs at up to 80 frames per second. Inputs can be cropped, stretched, panned, and zoomed up to 100x.
The ComputerWall has built-in scaling of computer or video signals, "plug and play" automatic signal synchronization, support for any display device, inter-screen spacing (bezel) compensation, and 24-bit color processing.
10. Perusing Display Panels - Part 1
In just the past couple of years, discussions of display technology have turned into an assortment of alphabetical combos, some familiar and some from far into the future. Display technologies evolve so quickly that it's hard to keep up. Not only do manufacturers advance the capabilities, sizes and quality of the current display technologies, new technologies compete for attention and marketshare even before they're available.
Some displays are better in low light; some are better in bright areas. Some are limited in screen sizes and others go up to 80 inches diagonally. Some displays are as thin as 2 inches deep and others are just too deep to comfortably fit in some of your spaces.
Our job is to keep up on these technologies so that you don't have to. By staying trained on display technologies, our associates can specify the right displays for your particular applications and we can certainly explain why. But you won't have to do all that homework ahead of time.
You might, however, be interested in taking a peek under the engine of these displays to learn a little about how they work.
Some of the technologies are available in both the home and commercial markets. While some have only been introduced for television, you can expect commercial manufacturers to take advantage of the best of them before long.
CRT and CRT Rear Projection
The old cathode ray tube technology that's been in your TV set for decades is still a solid choice for many commercial applications. CRT monitors are still used in some digital signage, such as retail and airports. While the trend is moving toward more flat-panel displays than CRT monitors, CRT monitors win on cost in a big way. So, depending on what sort of information, room and audience we're seeking to accommodate, CRT could still be a good way to go.
In terms of larger screen displays, rear projection CRT displays are considered by many to have the best picture quality of any technology yet on the market when used as a television but in the right position in the right room, it also provides a solution for commercial applications. Again, you gain on price since most large-screen rear projection CRTs are priced less than $3,000. But you lose on bulk (typical depth is 26 or more inches). And you lose on weight, with weights often well over 100 pounds. But you gain on size, with sizes up to 80 inches.
LCD panels, currently offered up to 57 inches, offer the sleek flat-panel look popular today. LCD uses liquid crystal molecules that perform somewhat like shutters. When infused with a backlight they allow red, green or blue pixels to shine. Or the pixels are blocked to allow no light, and display black.
LCD panels are just a couple of inches deep so they're fantastic for small spaces, or for giving a room a high tech look with a panel flush to the wall. LCDs are in a neck in neck fight with plasmas for commercial applications such as retail, airports, movie theater lobbies - any place where the public seeks information. The two technologies are also fighting it out for the home theater space.
LCDs are popular because they don't "burn" images into the screen such as plasmas or CRTs. When a particular image or piece of text is left on a plasma or CRT long enough without changing position or color, you might see a ghost of that image even when a different image is on display. What has been an issue, however, is pixel loss. With age, some pixels might fail. This probably isn't a big problem unless a batch of pixels fail in close proximity to each other. Also, some manufacturers are now marketing technologies that allow the display to automatically correct any failed pixels.
LCDs and plasmas are far more expensive than CRTs.
Plasma screens (also called PDPs) use a network of red, green and blue phosphors mounted between two thin layers of glass. The pixels are activated when an electric pulse is sent to gas substances, creating plasma and emitting UV that displays color and light. Interestingly, the pixels are affected simultaneously so you don't see the flicker associated with other technologies when watching video.
Plasmas are also just a few inches deep so they take up little space and look good on a wall.
One factor that affects the plasma life cycle is the gases get old and perform less over time, say some experts. Also, they have burn-in problems if an image or text is left in the same spot on the screen for too long but manufacturers are being creative about this, incorporating features that detect a long-standing image and either "move" the image just slightly every few minutes or alter the brightness or color of the image to deter the burn-in.
It wins the size war for sure. Plasmas have been developed up to 80 inches compared to the maximum 55 inches of LCD.
Digital Light Processing, or DLP, is a relatively new kid on the block and it's turning heads. (Although new to displays, the technology has been used successfully for years in front projection systems.)
This technology relies on a Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) developed by Texas Instruments. It acts like a light switch that reacts with tiny mirrors that project light onto and away from pixels. Some displays use just one chip and others use three, increasing color reproduction.
DLP displays give a great image in a reasonably-sized box. Today's max 61-inch DLP display is just 6.5 inches deep. Although a little trickier to hang on a wall than LCD or plasma, it is done all the time.
DLPs don't suffer from burn-in and according to Texas Instruments, it's one of the only new technologies that doesn't increase in price exponentially the larger the screen size. Also, Texas Instruments releases new versions of the DMD regularly so improvements in performance occur often.
Next time, we'll look at LCoS, OLED, PolyLED and NED.
11. Covering Your Aspects
It's been said that a good presentation exhausts the topic before the audience. But it could also be said that a good presentation should exhaust the capabilities of technology on behalf of the audience. With the variety of media available to presenters including DVD and new generations of PCs, it is worthwhile to examine two (interdependent) questions:
1. Is your equipment - projectors, screens, monitors and speakers - up to the task of delivering the best images, graphics and sound that allows your presentation to look fresh, exciting and up-to-date?
2. Are your presentations taking full advantage of the technology you have now, or would newer hardware let you significantly improve and enhance your professional messages?
These questions have rarely been as critical as they are at this juncture, since it is widely accepted that the 4:3 format (standard for the past 20 years on television and computer screens) is transitioning to the 16:9 aspect ratio. The most obvious sign of this shift is the explosion in sales of DVD players, and the fact that personal computers arrive with DVD-ROM drives.
If your AV systems, either installed or portable, are due for a review then this may be the precise time to pay attention to the display technology shift involving aspect ratio and how it may impact your ability to author, deliver, and maximize messages for your audiences. A little background may be in order.
Back to Basics
Aspect ratio refers to the rectangular shape of a video image. Material created for traditional television sets or viewed on computer monitors have an aspect ratio of 4:3, meaning the picture is four units wide for every three units of height.
However, the aspect ratio standard for HDTV and DVD is 16:9 - 16 units of width for every nine units of height. This, obviously, creates a viewing rectangle that is horizontally wider than 4:3.
While many projectors permit adjustment between these two most common aspect ratios, they are typically manufactured with a "native" aspect ratio, which generally offers their best performance. When source material of a different format is displayed, the "black bands" across top and bottom (or on either side of the screen) is called "letterboxing."
Because the most frequent use of business projectors is to display data from a computer, they have long been manufactured with a native 4:3 aspect ratio. But the advent of laptops, flat-screen desktops and authoring software that output 16:9 - along with exciting DVD opportunities to create compelling and flexible content - are currently making display system choice a very tricky business. A complicating factor is the short list of native 16:9 projectors that are bright enough for professional use, although manufacturers are promising to "fill the gap" quickly.
So do you stand pat, upgrade for the moment, or leap into the future? While every solution will be different based on media usage, room design, and audience size, there are several configurations you may want to consider in search of the optimum match between presentation and display.
What to Expect
1. With a 4:3 display and a DVD or PC that puts out a 16:9 image, you will have the black bands at top and bottom. Typically, this is not a serious problem.
2. Using a 4:3 display and needing to switch between a 16:9 DVD and a 4:3 PC gets more complicated from a viewing standpoint. Image height must be tall enough for everyone to see comfortably. You can't assume that your 4:3 projected image is large enough for a 16:9 image - in the same amount of 4:3 space. When you alternate between wide-screen and full-screen, your seating arrangement must be tailored accordingly.
3. Employing a 16:9 format screen with a native 4:3 projector allows you to position the projector so that the black bands "fall off" the top and bottom of the screen when displaying a 16:9 signal. To maximize the size of 4:3 format material on a 16:9 screen, you may want a projector with a zoom lens.
Adventures in 16:9
The history of DVD use in presentations early on was bedeviled by lack of a hardware base, initially expensive authoring tools, high cost of production, and reasonably-priced replication. These barriers to adoption have been significantly reduced, with multimedia companies across the country rushing to put your old PowerPoint presentations on DVD, and claiming that "working from scratch" in DVD is only slightly more expensive than old slideshow methods, and even less expensive than creating a CD-ROM.
Advantages include 33% additional screen space, capacity of 4.7GB, high quality digital video, interactive capability (great for kiosks), multiple audio tracks (great for multiple languages), and Dolby Surround sound. DVDs work equally well in vastly different environments. There are "industrial strength" portable players weighing less than two pounds capable of showing the wide-screen 16:9 aspect ratio on an LCD screen. Large plasma monitors in lobbies, airports and trade show floors are built to display 16:9 images with digital technology.
The worlds of media and display systems are going to offer a wide range of formats for a very long time. Whether your applications focus on learning, demonstrations, or interactivity, let us assist you in thinking outside the 4:3 box. We won't recommend change for its own sake, but to explore how form and content can follow your highest presentation functions.