by Kirsten Nelson
Amsterdam, The Netherlands—What's new? That's not only a casual salutation, but the question on everyone's mind while wandering a trade show floor. At the ISE 2012 show in Amsterdam January 31-February 2, this ever-present inquiry met the satisfactory answer of a dazzling array of new commercial AV products.
Nine years after the launch of ISE, which made a reality the once fantastical notion that InfoComm, NSCA, and CEDIA could merge enterprises and create a super, mega commercial and residential systems event, the show's growth has made it a pivotal stop on the industry's annual tour of AV trade shows. As such, "ISE is now the event from which the R&D calendar begins," said Mike Blackman, managing director of Integrated Systems Events (ISE), in a press conference on January 31.
Blackman also stated that show management anticipated more than 1,000 new product launches at this year's event. While I didn't keep a running tally of the number of times I saw or heard the word "new" in correlation with a model number, I did discover many noteworthy contributions to this year's product landscape.
So what's new? Digital Projection presented the global launch of the E-Vision 8000 top-of-the-range single-chip projector. It also brought the new HIGHLITE 660 WUXGA to demonstrate its aim to create a range of products based on a single chassis that you can "mix and match for any application," commented Nick Cottis, DPI's international sales and marketing director. Integrators will choose from lens, color wheel, lamp power settings, and warp/blend options. The series is all about the ability to "shop for features" to suit each project, he elaborated.
DPI demonstrated a new, lighter chassis for the TITAN 12,000-lumen projector, capable of displaying a perfect image in a corner surface with just one projector with integrated warp and blend.
DPI was also showing a new, lighter chassis for the TITAN 12,000-lumen projector, which was accomplishing some pretty major feats in the booth -- displaying a perfect image in a corner surface with just one projector with integrated warp and blend. The three-projector setup extending the image beyond the corner was driven by 7th Sense servers. 7th Sense itself was warping and blending content all over the show, in a 3D dome on the projectiondesign booth and at Barco.
Planar dazzled booth visitors who donned passive 3D glasses and checked out images presented on the Clarity Matrix 3D LCD video wall system. The company is seeing 3D growth on the commercial side in the fields of molecular modeling, design and engineering, and oil and gas exploration. The displays' shallow depth of less than four inches will make it attractive for many installs. Planar also introduced the Clarity C50RP-LED next-generation LED illuminated rear-projection cubes, the C50 HD-LED 1920x1080 display, and new control room software, IMS version 2.0.
If clients want to make their video walls mobile, Chief is offering a new cart expressly for that purpose. It's scalable and flexible enough to handle any configuration up to 3x3.
Gefen made a number of new introductions, including its leap into the control products market with the Gefen AV Aumtonation (GAVA) and PACS HTML-5 based graphical interface. Watch for more on that at InfoComm. Gefen also had a new 32x32 modular matrix system, low- and mid-range digital signage players to fill out its line, another DVI Dual Link extender, an 8x1 DisplayPort switcher, an extender for HDMI, and a Dual Link DVI fiber extender.
Christie launched its JumpStart content management solution at the show, which makes it easier to put high resolution content onto a multi-display or tiled digital canvas. JumpStart enables users to position and play back a wide range of content including video, graphics, applications, Blu-ray and DVD movies, remote video sources, color swatches, and text.
On the audio side, Tannoy debuted the VLS Series passive column array loudspeaker system. With transducer technology adapted from QFlex, coupled with an innovative new passive crossover network design, VLS Series is the first Tannoy product to incorporate FAST (Focussed Asymmetrical Shaping Technology). FAST's asymmetrical vertical dispersion gently shapes acoustic coverage towards the lower quadrant of the vertical axis.
Meyer Sound expanded its line of self-powered, low-voltage audio solutions with the addition of three new 48-volt, DC-powered loudspeakers: the UPM-1XP 48 V DC ultracompact wide-coverage loudspeaker; the UPJunior-XP 48 V DC ultracompact VariO loudspeaker; and the UMS-1XP 48 V DC ultracompact subwoofer.
Niles introduced new compact subwoofers, including the the Niles SW6.5, designed for use in light commercial, retail and restaurant environments.
Niles debuted two new powered subs for the light commercial space. The compact units are jammed full of features that make it easier to conduct an efficient installation and liven up a bar, restaurant, or any other space that needs a bit more punch. "Adding bass is the best way to add a sense of ambience," noted Niles president Mike Detmer.
Fiber was on high on many manufacturers' list of priorities. At Hall Research, the new HR-733 fiber optic video extender was a hot topic of conversation, according to CEO Ali Haghjoo. Fiber, in general, he noted, is much more in demand on an increasing variety of projects. "It's much easier to terminate now," he said, and in some applications, multimode fiber is more inexpensive than Cat-5 cable. While fiber's end points are more costly, the distance gained balances out the equation.
Elsewhere in the sprawling halls of the event, there were other new products garnering attention. Avitech was showing its new Seneca HDMI and KVM over fiber extenders. Extron's many announcements include the expansion of its fiber optic line and shipment of its XTP line. Draper improved its tab tensioning system and now guarantees it for five years.