ISE Shows Impressive Growth

  • The ISE show in Amsterdam this week, (February 2-4), opened Tuesday with more activity on the show floor than I’ve seen in a while, and more of what we Americans call “buzz.”
  • Attendance of 20,000 plus people is keeping this “InfoComm/CEDIA EXPO of Europe” on path for the most impressive growth of any trade show that I’ve seen.
  • What was most noticeable to this me this year, however, was the relative lack of buzz about 3D video.
  • Given all the hype and genuine product development surrounding 3D at InfoComm last summer, CEDIA last September, and at CES last month, frankly it was refreshing to not hear yet again how we would all soon be watching 60 Minutes, sporting events, sitcoms, every feature film released, and Excel spreadsheets in all the 3D splendor that nature intended.
  • 3D is important, down right cool, and could save Hollywood studios, but there was not a lot of it causing media frenzy at ISE this week. Yes, the usual suspects had demos: all the major projector and flat panel makers, but one just didn’t get the sense that this was the focus of the market. There were some interesting developments, and talk, such as the fact that LG was hinting at a “glasses-less” 3D flat-panel experience, but that was about it.
  • What was the buzz?
  • The same Korean giant, LG, was said to be readying OLED displays (on the heels of LG having recently acquired all the OLED intellectual property from Kodak).
  • Mitsubishi showed a much larger OLED screen than Sony has done to date, and while not yet shipping, it featured all the “wow” of OLED -- mega-resolution that you get when you have such high contrast ratio (I’ve forgotten the spec, something like a squillion to one.) Skeptics say that the human eye cannot discern all that contrast ratio, but that’s not the point. OLED, with the highest contrast ratio of any display technology, has the effect of seeming to be higher resolution that it is. A 2K OLED panel looks like 8K to my eye. That’s why people love it.
  • Runco, following up on its runaway success at CEDIA EXPO last fall when it showed its movie-friendly LED-light engine DLP projector, again teased the market at ISE with this: they seem to be the only projector manufacturer that has the key to making LED-based DLP projectors that display proper skin tones without blowing out the contrast and saturation.
  • As a light source, LED phosphors create a huge color space. The plotted color space triangle is much larger than that of a projector that uses a lamp. This is why a lot of demos at trade shows of LED-based DLP projectors are showing only animated feature clips (filmed action sometimes features actors whose skin looks like it’s about to burst into flames in some of these LED/DLP demos). Few have really gone to the trouble to “EQ” the LED color space for projection, squeezing in those dicey outer edges of the color space triangle. Runco has done it right.
  • ISE saw the debut of Prysm’s new LPD display technology, as well. The show served as one of Prysm’s last testings of the marketing waters as they ready the pricing structure (not announced this week) for the product launch in March. Prysm recently announced its entry into the commercial AV market with its new technology, Laser Phosphor Display (LPD). It’s a laser-scanning, emissive display panel technology features very low power consumption, among other features new to the AV market. And, importantly, Dana Corey and Steve Scorse (both formerly with Barco) are the ones bringing it to market. ISE was the first public showing before the March product rollout.
  • Always look to Norwegian projector manufacturer projectiondesign to roll out projector Porsches while a lot of companies crank out Chevy rental cars in the market share wars. projectiondesign debuted its latest innovation in projection technology with the ISE preview of the iFR12 Remote Light Source projector. The FR12 Remote Light Source (RLS) concept relocates the lamps away from the projector to a rack-mount enclosure up to 30m away from the projector head. Intriguing. Heat issues, noise issues, gone.
  • Christie introduced its new MicroTiles to the European market at ISE in Amsterdam. From a product development perspective, the new MicroTile is important because it represented the first real introduction, last fall, of a product for the commercial AV market that features a “lampless” projector. The Christie MicroTiles are video cubes that each use an LED phosphor light engine, in place of a conventional lamp. (The video wall is back!)
  • Barco filled a hole in the market, this week, with the launch of the RLM-W6. The RLM-W6 is a three-chip DLP projector with a WUXGA (1920x1200) resolution. Lower price point than a lot of 3-chip; extremely low noise level of 32dB, a power consumption 33-percent lower than most competitors. This is more fuel for the WUXGA, which was once a red-headed stepchild to 1080P, but always high on the demand list in schools and boardrooms.

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