Think Solid State

Think Solid State

The ISE show in Amsterdam opened with more new technology on the show floor than I’ve seen in a while, and with attendance at 20,000-plus, it’s keeping the “InfoComm/ CEDIA of Europe” on path for the most impressive growth of any tradeshow I’ve seen.

Refreshing at ISE, was the lack of buzz about 3D. Given all the hype, and genuine product development surrounding 3D at InfoComm last summer, CEDIA last September, and at CES last month, it was kind of refreshing to not hear yet again how we’d all soon be watching 60 Minutes, golf, sitcoms, every feature film released, and Excel spreadsheets in all the 3D splendor nature intended.

3D is important, downright cool, and could save Hollywood studios, but there was not a lot of it causing media frenzy at ISE. (See Tom Stimson’s predictions about 3D in his column this month.)

What is the buzz for 2010? Two things: green and solid state. As Tom points out this month, green is coming on strong. And it’s no longer just marketing hype. As governments institute more rules and guidelines on energy consumption, we are going to start to see more mandates for energy efficiency compliance. (The California Energy Commission is proposing energy efficiency standards for new televisions measuring 58 inches and smaller in California beginning in 2011 and 2013. The standards would, according to the state, “improve the energy efficiency of televisions without affecting the quality of the television,” whatever that means.)

And check out my report this month, in the “IMAG” column, on the highly energy efficient new LPD display technology from Prysm. Flat panels are not the bread and butter of the staging world. Projectors are. And this year, the most important term you need to know is “solid state.” The past couple of years, we saw a lot of demos at tradeshows of “lampless” projectors, i.e., ones that used a LED light source in place of a mercury lamp. Well, that trend is kicking in even stronger this year, but now it’s being called “solid state,” as in solid state light engines, with no traditional mercury vapor lamps.

Of course, most of you are probably saying, “But that’s not for staging,” that those are small, low-lumen projectors for the home market, and small-room projection in business meetings. This year, that’s true, but every projector manufacturer I talk to (not to mention Texas Instruments and 3LCD) say that solid state is coming on strong. The momentum to get to a place where lamp replacement costs are gone and with instant on/off for projectors is huge, and it will change the projection landscape.

And the newest development, out of left field, is the arrival of a new hybrid LED/ Laser light engine from Casio. Casio’s system achieves a high output of green light, which has been considered difficult with conventional semiconductor light sources, by very efficiently converting blue laser light into green light, using the fluorescent element. A high-brightness light of 2000 or more lumens is possible by projecting blue laser light, green light converted from blue laser light with the fluorescent element, and light emitted by a red LED through a DLP chip onto the screen. This new system from a company not normally associated with projection breakthroughs could be the biggest news this year.