By Analog Julius
June is InfoComm time, where what was once just the AV industry shows new stuff and huddles in conference rooms. These days it’s a whole lot more, so the organising association have rebranded themselves.
Now they are The Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. To make a point they made the entry hall at Las Vegas Convention Centre funky. There was a DJ and lots of lights and I think the message of ‘let’s be younger’ worked. It’s also a message that says that screens, video, control, and audio are all one happy integration.
Five years ago I drove to Vegas, channelling Hunter S. Thompson (minus the drugs) in a Mustang with the deliriously eccentric John Maizels. Of course we broke down, in the desert, detailed in my Blog at https://juliuslife.blogspot.com/2013/06/usa-trip-that-scarred-me-for-life.html
This time I had another go because I detest the short flight from LAX which features a long and fraught TSA screening, and a long taxi and ground hold. So why not drive? It takes 4.5 hours in normal traffic conditions. But previously I’d arrived and driven to San Diego and found that quite fatiguing straight off the overnight flight from Sydney.
My solution was to check in to the Airport Hilton after my Air NZ flight arrived at 1pm, and have a late lunch or an early dinner, sleep into the night, and drive when I woke. Sure enough I was awake and on the road at 3am. Which is a perfect time to drive to Vegas!
800 exhibitors ranged from the enormous Crestron experience down to the little booth with the scary Bad Dog Tool dude, selling his never-go-blunt blades and chopping up blocks of cement as a demo. How he got away with it I will never understand – the noise of the saw, the dust and metal filings, and his axe murderer demeanour made great theatre.
In between you found most audio manufacturers, every screen vendor from A to Z, every control and cable option, mounts, furniture and even some pickup trucks for sale. There was lonely little lighting corner missing most major brands, so hold off for LDI at Vegas in October for lights.
InfoComm draws 40,000 people from around the world, and several hundred from Down Under. The show management is first class – enough eating, drinking, and transport. If you try you can find free beer towards the end of the day too, along with more than enough free swag. It has demo rooms, so you can wander around in a technopian stuporia and indeed there are people who live that nightmare.
Outside the Vegas summer is brutal, and the hotel swimming pools are full of people holding bottles. The street is not the place to be.
LG seemed to have the most interest of all the screen makers. Here’s a picture of the OLED Canyon with its winding LG Open Frame OLED panels in convex and concave configurations.
But this caught my eyes: these transparent 55-inch OLED displays! Supposedly meant for retail environments and art galleries – where products can be placed behind the display without distortion or where special effects may be displayed on the Transparent OLED signage. I guess. But wow!
Jason Grbevski showed me the Sennheiser Team Connect Ceiling 2, which has cunning programming to find voices in rooms and also to avoid noisy areas like doorways. It uses 24 microphones and he likened it to having a bunch of follow-spots which can be opened up wide or narrowed right down.
“We demo by Skype – a client can call in to our boardroom and see us walking around talking. It really works!”
Epson claim to be the number-one selling projector brand worldwide, and showed the world’s first 12,000 lumen native 4K 3LCD laser projector.
Over at Powersoft they make amplifiers that do things we could only once dream of. Now their 4 and 8 channel amps have ‘power sharing’, quite literally you assign output power as required (within the overall limits of the device). Example: the Quattro Canali (4 ch) comes capable of 4 x 1,500 watt channels (6,000 watt total), so you could have a pair at 2,000 and a pair at 1,000 watts. Even more handy you can tell it to give you 70v or 100v outputs for those enormous strings of little speakers in a retail store.
Jands Vista sold to Chroma-Q! End of forty years of lighting control manufacture at Jands in Sydney as AC Lighting brand Chroma-Q picked up the range for an undisclosed price. Jands boss Paul Mulholland says the Vista 3 software, Vista MV and Vista EX are all new and there is another product ‘in the pipeline’.
Dante was everywhere (go Australia!) and the new Visionary Solutions Duet Encoder/Decoder stood out. It splits your signal into 4k video (VLAN) or audio (Dante) over GB Ethernet on a single platform. They call it ‘video for audio professionals’. I call it easier to understand than a lot of the stuff at IC18!
And there were an additional 790 exhibitors including my personal favourite, Mr. Bad Dog Tool Man. This dangerous individual was cutting up a storm over in a corner booth with sawdust, cement and steel bits flying about as he showed and sold ‘indestructible’ cutting blades. Sure enough, he would slice through a brick then a slab of steel. At $100 a pop, his assistant was having trouble keeping up with all the sales.
You’ll experience a lot more of what was new across the pages of CX where we love new tech, and where Mr. Analog is sometimes wheeled out from the reserve bench when a clever AV tech is not available.
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