Published in June 2007

Kayye's Krystal Ball Mid-Year Review
By Gary Kayye, CTS

Updating predictions made in December 2006.

    If youíre a regular reader of my writing in Sound & Communications, you know that, each December, I predict what products, technologies, people and companies will most impact the audiovisual markets for the year. And, later, I reflect on how my predictions are doing.
    Itís June, itís InfoComm time and itís time to take a look.
    Here, youíll find (in italics) a summary of each prediction I made in December 2006, followed by where we are so far (and how well I have done predicting the future).
•    Every projector manufacturer will standardize on 16:9 and HD-resolution-based displays: Well, so far so good. Just about every projector, LCD panel and plasma display manufacturer has native 720p and 1080p resolution displays in the product line. There are still a lot of 4:3 displays around and they still outsell 16:9 at a rate of about 7:1, but the transition is coming. I predicted it might take a few years for the projector manufacturers, but that 2007 would be a year that LCD and plasma manufacturers made the conversion totally.
•    Simpler control systems would debut, not only from AMX and Crestron, but other players in the market that arenít known for commercial AV control: Logitechís Harmony 1000 remote is a great example of this trend hitting commercial AV in 2007. I was in San Francisco last month and saw two installations where the primary control system for more than 20 rooms was the Harmony touchpanel found in the 1000 remote. But, the real impact has been felt, with Crestron and AMX both debuting less expensive touchpanels and keypads aimed at the entry-level market. This trend will continue in the latter half of 2007 as a few new companies join the market with Linux-based systems (the same OS found in the TiVo).
•    I predicted that Apple would fall into commercial AV segments with a new iPod-like device: Well, AppleTV is here. Itís aimed at the consumer, but with its 40GB hard-drive and more than 100 hours of storage in HD resolutions, itís sure to have commercial AV applications. I already know of two digital signage software providers working on a way to leverage the AppleTVís simplicity, connectivity and $299 price tag for their networks.
•    I emphatically predicted that Blu-ray disc would beat HD-DVD easily: Heck, the only thing HD-DVD has on its side is its name being easy to remember. Actually, there is one country in the world (only one) where HD-DVD is beating Blu-ray in sales: Japan. Thatís because of the video game market (Xbox uses HD-DVD) and the limited availability of Blu-ray games in Japanóbecause theyíre all being shipped to the US.
    In the US, the latest statistics are that, for every one HD-DVD player shipped, there are nine Blu-ray players shipped. Ironically, when VHS first debuted in the US, Betamax was outselling VHS in Japan, too. Hmm, still doubt the winner here?
•    An HD conferencing boom would occur in 2007: Well, shipments are still just starting to make it out of the factory because every manufacturer is late. Cisco has the early lead, but Polycom seems to have the best traction out there, thus far.
•    Built-in projectors will debut in 2007: Well, this oneís a stretch. It may not occur in 2007, but there is one segment of the projector market thatís new for 2007: gaming projectors. Many of the projector manufacturers have debuted projectors aimed squarely at video gamers. These handheld (and, in some cases, battery-operated) projectors are designed to capture a piece of the largest segment of the consumer electronics market behind the cell phone: video game players. Weíll have to wait to see if projectors appear as built-in options to ďotherĒ devices as we head into the latter half of the year.
•    802.whatever: Appleís debut of the Airport Extreme and its follow-up wireless consumer streaming audio, video and HD content server known as AppleTV both use the new 802.11n standard to stream TV shows and even HD movies from the internet to HD-capable TVs. According to insiders at Apple, it beat its first quarter sales forecast in the first month of shipments. 802.11 and other wireless standards certainly will have a huge impact on the AV market as we integrate IP networking into every AV product sold. Even mounts are coming with network connectivity!
    It will be an exciting second half of the year, and with InfoComm í07 this month, there no doubt will be a host of new products and technologies to write about in future months. Thanks for reading, and stop by and say hello at the show!

Gary Kayye, a member of Sound & Communicationsí Technical Council, is principal of Kayye Consulting. He was InfoComm Internationalís 2003 Educator of the Year. Send comments to him at

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