Picking technology winners and losers these days feels like throwing darts at a target while blindfolded. However, these horses will definitely finish at the head of the pack.
Although I’ve been working in the AV industry since 1978 (the good old days of tape recorders, CRT projectors and multi-image 35mm slide projection), I only started attending InfoComm in 1994.
At that time, the Projection Shoot-Out was picking up steam with the first solid-state light modulators (LCDs). Monitors still used CRTs, and some new-fangled and very expensive “plasma” monitors were arriving on our shores. “HD resolution” meant 1024×768 pixels, and a “light valve” projector could crank out, at best, about 2000 lumens. The DB15 and composite video interfaces dominated connections, and a “large” distribution amplifier had, maybe, four output ports on it.
I don’t have to tell you what’s transpired in the 23 years since then. This will be my 24th InfoComm, and it might be the most mind boggling in terms of technology trends. We’ve come a long way from XGA, composite video, CRTs, 35mm slides, analog audio and RS232. (Okay, so that last one is still hanging around like an overripe wine.)
I’ve mentioned many of the trends in previous columns, so I’ll list what I think are the most impactful, and exactly why I feel that way. I should add that I’m writing this just after attending the NAB 2017 show, where many of my beliefs have been confirmed in spades.
Light-emitting Diodes (LEDs) are taking over (the world): This is an obvious one, but now they’re simultaneously threatening both the large-venue projection and direct-view display markets. I saw at least a dozen LED brands at NAB, most of them from mainland China, offering so-called “fine-pitch” tiled displays. These range from 1.8mm all the way down to…