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Is This the Golden Age of Video Technology?

It’s curious to consider the selectivity of our early memories. Is it possible that the scarce fragments of film that our minds can still play back from our single-digit years were preserved for a reason? Perhaps the nature of this select archived content—a mystifying mixture of momentous and trivial scenes—can tell us something about who we are.

When I was eight years old, I got to take in a Blue Jays game at the then-new SkyDome during a summer trip with my dad to Toronto. What I recall most vividly from this experience isn’t the ballgame, the view of the CN Tower soaring overhead, or the novelty of watching the retractable roof in action; it’s the JumboTron. The stadium’s sprawling, super-widescreen Sony video board was the largest in the world—a fact I learned prior to the visit—measuring a staggering 110 feet wide by 33 feet high. I can still remember the awe I felt while gazing at it. 

The world record Jumbotron at the Rogers Center in Toronto

The 110-foot-wide Sony Jumbotron at the SkyDome (now Rogers Center) in Toronto was by far the largest video screen in the world when the stadium opened in 1989.
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Though I wasn’t particularly passionate about video technology at the time, nor was an interest immediately sparked by this encounter, I like to think that my subconscious mind’s decision to spotlight this particular memory is proof that I have been a video nerd my whole life. I certainly have been one for quite some time, and my zeal can occasionally border on obsession (a couple of my best friends jokingly refer to this as my “HDD”).

But, fortunately for us AV aficionados, there’s never been a more exciting time to indulge in this enthusiasm. The technological evolution over the course of the past decade in particular has been absolutely astounding, leaping from a VGA world to the clarity of high definition, and now to UHD formats so detailed we can hardly appreciate them. In this progression, we’re moving from a consciously digital experience—looking at bulky displays whose pixels were individually discernable—to something so natural, it’s like peering through a window into a different world.

In AV Technology, we take a glimpse through a cross section of this visual revolution to examine how it’s serving to heighten entertainment experiences, enhance business communications (opens in new tab), breathe new life into retail environments, and more. We dive into the bright world of projection technology (opens in new tab), the evolution of video walls and LED displays (opens in new tab), and even touch on the latest cameras, switchers, and connectivity standards responsible for populating these magnificent screens with content. 

What’s next for video? With the modularity and flexibility being introduced with today’s cutting-edge microLED and OLED products, the next decade is shaping up to be even more transformative than the one that preceded it. As an industry, we’ll get to play a central role in facilitating this metamorphosis—and in creating exceptional experiences that will live on in the memories of the next wave of tech nerds like us.

Matt Pruznick is the former editor of AV Technology, and senior editor for Systems Contractor News and Residential Systems. He is based in New York.