INFOCOMM 01 PREVIEWWitness the dawn of an all-digital world at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. But, first get a head start with this INFOCOMM product preview. 5/01/2001 8:00 AM Eastern
INFOCOMM 01 PREVIEW
May 1, 2001 12:00 PM, BY PETER H. PUTMAN, CTS
There will be plenty of new products at infocomm this year, andthe majority will have digital capabilities. That's no surprisebecause the professional a/v market is steadily going all-digital,just like its broadcast counterpart. Look for some real surprises in the small-projector market, suchas new entrants in the DLP game. Graphic switchers are the hot ticket right now in interfacing,so expect new models and upgrades to older designs as everyonejockeys for market share.
There will be plenty of new products at infocomm this year, andthe majority will have digital capabilities. That's no surprisebecause the professional a/v market is steadily going all-digital,just like its broadcast counterpart.
Look for some real surprises in the small-projector market, suchas new entrants in the DLP game.
Graphic switchers are the hot ticket right now in interfacing,so expect new models and upgrades to older designs as everyonejockeys for market share.
THERE'S STILL A PLACE FOR ANALOG INTERFACES, BUT THE writing ison the wall — digital is coming, and you'd best get with theprogram. You'll see quite a few network-capable display products atthe show, starting with installation projectors and branching intoflat-matrix LCD and plasma monitors. While multiplexed wiringsolutions will continue (Cat 5 and its variations), the long-termgoal of most manufacturers is to provide IP control to all theirproducts.
Look for some real surprises in the small-projector market, suchas new entrants in the DLP game. Price cutting will continue; we'llno doubt see debuts of sub-$2000 SVGA and sub-$3000 XGA portableLCD and DLP projectors this year in Las Vegas. Plasma prices arealso taking a hit, thanks to Sony's aggressive price cuts in the42-inch market last fall. Now, you'll find quite a few 50-inchpanels under $18,000, and more than a few 42-inch offerings under$9,000.
Graphic switchers are the hot ticket right now in interfacing,so expect new models and upgrades to older designs as everyonejockeys for market share. There will be some price cuts in thevideo scaling market, too, as end-users look for ways to preciselymatch the unusual pixel counts found in such devices as D-ILAprojectors and plasma panels.
Because there are so many companies competing for market share,news about new products has been tight. Even so, we've managed toround up some advance information to help you make the most of yourvisit to the Sands Expo Center in June. (Don't forget thesunscreen!)
Panasonic will have the PT-L6600 Series offixed-installation, ultra-bright SXGA and XGA projectors featuringthe company's exclusive BriteOptic built-in dual-lamp system. Thefour projectors — the PT-L6600U SXGA, PT-L6500U XGA,PT-L6600UL SXGA and PT-L6500UL XGA (the latter two UL-series modelswithout lenses) — incorporate three 1.3-inch TFTactive-matrix polysilicon LCD panels with microlens array.
BriteOptic is a dual-lamp system that delivers the power of twohigh-intensity light sources through a high-precision prism. Userscan select from four brightness settings: 3600, 2700, 1800 and 1350ANSI lumens; and the projector can be set up vertically for rearprojection. The projectors are HDTV-ready, and can automaticallysynchronize to display 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i video in the 16:9wide aspect ratio.
Panasonic will also demo the PT-D8500U, a 3-chip DLP projectorrated at more than 7000 ANSI lumens. It features 1280 × 1024workstation compatibility with built-in universal format conversionand 10-bit digital signal processing. The PT-D8500U is also fullyHDTV-compatible and offers built-in edge blending, allowing two to100 PT-D8500Us to be set side-by-side or stacked up to 10 by 10 fordisplaying full-motion images over the entire span.
Sanyo will show off the PLC-XF12N and PLC-EF12N, twolarge-venue digital multimedia LCD projectors. Both units use440-watt DC metal halide lamps and three 1.8-inch polysilicon TFTLCD panels. The PLC-XF12N is rated at 3300 ANSI lumens with nativeXGA (1024 × 768) resolution, while the PLC-EF12N provides 3600ANSI lumens and SXGA (1280 × 1024) native resolution. Bothprojectors can be twin stacked. The units feature a power lensshift function and Sanyo's Polarized Beam Splitter opticalsystem.
You'll also see the PLC-XP30. It incorporates a 250-watt NSHlamp to produce 3000 ANSI lumens. The projector has XGA nativeresolution of 1024 by 768 and a digital video interface (DVI) fordirect digital connection to a PC. In addition, Sanyo will featurethe micro-portable 5.7-pound PLC-XW15 LCD projector. It uses a132-watt UHP lamp to produce 800 ANSI lumens of brightness whileoffering XGA 1024 × 768 resolution.
Finally, look for the PLV-60N, a 16:9 XGA (1366 × 768pixel) LCD front projector rated at 1300 ANSI lumens, and the UXGAPLC-UF10 LCD large-venue projector (yes, you read that correctly),capable of 7000 ANSI lumens or, when twin-stacked, nearly 14,000ANSI lumens. The PLC-UF10N includes a high-definition serialdigital interface as well as an IEEE-1394 interface for real-timeprojection of video images from a PC, digital camera, camcorder orsimilar device. DVI support is also standard.
Barco will bring along the BarcoReality 6500 LCDprojector, a 5000-lumens design with native SXGA (1280 × 1024)resolution and full network capabilities. SDI input is standard,and there's an optional IEEE-1394 input, too. This projector can beconnected to a LAN with an optional Ethernet 10-base-T interfacefor remote operation and service diagnosis.
Barco will also show the CineView 5, a compact 3-chip DLPprojector suitable for business theater and HD projection. Itincorporates 1024 × 768 DMDs and is capable of true seamlesssource switching by using pre-determined transitions such as wipes,box in/out and dissolves.
Sharp will have a full raft of desktop and installationLCD projectors, starting with the compact NoteVision C20 and C30.Both are 1024×768 desktop projectors rated at 1000 and 1700lumens respectively, providing full support for a wide range ofRGB, video and DTV signals. Both projectors feature dual RGB inputsand Sharp's ImageACE scaling engine.
In the installation category, Sharp will show the 1024×768XG-P10XU, capable of 3000 lumens with over 350:1 peak contrast.It's equipped with a 1.3:1 power zoom/focus lens, and there areoptional 1.3-1.7:1 and 2.5-3.2:1 zooms for wide-angle andlong-throw projections. Two multiformat 15-pin RGB/component inputswith a monitor loop-out are standard, as are composite, S-video andeven DVI inputs.
The XG-P20XU delivers 3300 ANSI lumens with over 300:1 peakcontrast but isn't much larger than the XG-P10XU. It also usesthree 1.3-inch 1024 × 768 LCD panels. The standard lens is a1.3:1 power zoom/focus design, and it can be shifted manually tocorrect for off-axis keystone distortion. Optional lenses include a1.3-1.7:1 wide angle, 2.5-3.2:1 telephoto, 4.8-6.0:1 long throwtelephoto and short-throw 0.9:1 wide angle.
For larger jobs, Sharp will showcase the XG-V10XU, which canproduce 3800 ANSI lumens using three 1.8-inch 1024×768 LCDpanels. The XG-V10XU will handle all interlaced and progressivesignal sources up to UXGA (1600 by 1280) and all ATSC DTV signals.Input connections include a pair of 15-pin RGB/component jacks, aYPbPr component input, and composite and S-video jacks. It's alsogot a 29-pin DVI input for direct digital connections, as well assix different lens options. The XG-V10XU is fully IP-networkcapable as well.
There's also the XG-V10WU, which is equipped with three 1.8-inch1280×1024 (SXGA) LCD panels for high-resolution imaging, andcan deliver 4700 lumens with 400:1 peak contrast. It also supportsinterlaced and progressive signal sources up to UXGA (1600 by 1280)and all ATSC DTV signals. All zoom lens options for the XG-V10XUalso fit the XG-V10WU, and the latter is fully IP-networkcapable.
Proxima will show the PRO AV 9410, an upgrade to itspopular PRO AV 9400+. The 9410 offers 3700 ANSI lumens, increasedcontrast ratio claimed to be 600:1 (full on, full off) and reducedaudible operating noise by 4dB via the same form factor and userinterface as its predecessor. It uses 1280×1024 (SXGA) LCDpanels and incorporates Proxima's V-scan video processingtechnology, extensive connectivity, lens shift, bi-directionalRS-232 and compatibility with Proxima's ProjectionLink single-wireconnectivity solution. Recently expanded PRO AV lens options nowinclude LENS-011, a long-throw zoom lens with a ratio of4.5-6:1.
Mitsubishi will bring the X80 ColorView projector, a7.7-pound, 1500-lumens XGA (1024×768) LCD design with theirunique ColorView system. It's the first compliant sRGB projector,and it uses a 6-color RGB/CMY matrix to achieve precise colormatching. It features manual zoom and focus, plus digital keystonecorrection.
NEC Technologies pioneered the “Thunder”compact 3-chip DLP projection engine and has followed up thesuccessful XT5000 with the new SX6000DC, first seen at ShoWest.This compact 1280×1024 SXGA design is rated at 4000 lumens andincorporates NEC's exclusive TriDigital image processingtechnology. Both models incorporate PanelLink digital interfacesand are aimed at staging, rental, theatrical and post-productionapplications.
For higher light output, there's the new XT9000, a 3-chip DLPdesign rated at 8000 lumens. The native resolution is XGA (1024 by768), and the projector uses a 2kW xenon lamp. Contrast is rated at400:1, and the XT9000 supports NTXSC/PAL, DTV, VGA, SVGA andcompressed SXGA using NEC's Advanced AccuBlend technology, as wellas the TV standards PAL/NTSC/SECAM/NTSC 4.43/HDTVB. For smallerinstallations, there's the GT2150 LCD projector with SXGA(1280×1024) native resolution. It's rated at 2500 lumens andsupports DVI and analog video.
JVC stirred up some dust at ShoWest with the first trueQXGA projector, the DLA-QX1. Look for a more finished version ofthis box in Las Vegas. It offers 2048×1536 pixel resolutionwith three 1.3-inch D-ILA reflective LCD panels, 10-bit processingper color channel, and 7000 ANSI lumens with a 2kW xenon lamp.
And there's more. JVC will also showcase the DLA-M5000SC, anSXGA (1280×1024) projector rated at 5000 ANSI lumens andclaimed to have a 1000:1 contrast ratio. It supports all RGB andDTV formats, including an optional HD-SDI interface.Interchangeable lenses and full mechanical lens shift arestandard.
JVC's new DLA-M2000LU projector delivers resolution as high as1365 by 1024 pixels and generates 2000 ANSI lumens. Other featuresinclude JVC's proprietary Adaptive Digital Pixel Conversiontechnology and improved digital gamma correction. In addition, theprojector offers digital keystone correction, 16x digital zoom,freeze function and 40-user channel presets for automatic andspecialized setups.
Christie Digital will also showcase new projectorsincluding the 1024×768 Vivid Green desktop/installation LCDprojector, first seen at ShoWest. Other models that will be ondisplay include the Prodigi 3-chip DLP family, available as theProdigi 420 (3500 lumens, 1024×768 resolution), the Prodigi600 (5000 lumens, 1024×768 resolution), and the ProdigiS-class (12,000 lumens, 1280×1024 resolution). All threemodels provide interchangeable lenses and 13-bit user-selectablegamma tables.
Sony will have a batch of new projector designs in LasVegas in all categories, although the details weren't available atpress time. In the installation area, look for the“spaceship” VPL-FX50U, a desktop/installation1024×768 design that is fully network-capable. It's rated at3500 lumens and supports DVI and all composite and componentvideo/RGB formats. The big brother VPL-FE110U is a 4500-lumen SXGA(1280×1024) chassis with a quad-lamp feature for betteruniformity and redundancy, and it's also network-capable. Bothprojectors have interchangeable lens options with mechanical lensshift.
Toshiba's offerings will start with the TLP-X20 LCDmultimedia projector. The compact, lightweight (13 pounds)TLP-X20delivers 2400 lumens of brightness and includes features such as aDVI terminal and a built-in PC memory card slot that accepts PCType II memory cards. The TLP-X20 displays full XGA(1024×768), compressed SXGA (1280×1024) and compressedUXGA (1600×1280) resolution as well as 480p and 720p formats.It also accepts 1080i signals and displays HDTV signals in the EDTVformat.
Toshiba will also introduce several new low-cost LCD projectorsat INFOCOMM. Look for prototypes of the new Toshiba TLP-550 and theTLP-551, which are sub-9-pound XGA (1024×768) projectors ratedat 1000 ANSI lumens. These will be accompanied by two new SVGAmodels, the TLP-250 and TLP-251.
Digital Projection International has announced threemodels of its Digimax
Texas Instruments' DLP technology is sure to show up insome surprising places. There is likely to be a sub-2-poundsingle-chip DLP projector on display in at least one booth (will itbe PLUS again with a super-lightweight projector?), and we may alsosee the first 2000-lumens single-chip DLP design. Of course, TIwould very much like to see one of its OEMs break the $2000 barrierwith a single-chip DLP projector, so look to Sharp for one ofthose.
PLASMA AND LCD MONITORS, AND VIDEOWALLS
Pioneer will show its industry-leading thin-mullionvideowall screen, the RM-V2550S2, as an option to the standard 4mmmullion screen that comes standard with Pioneer's RM-V2550U. Thelatter is a thin videowall featuring a 50-inch cube in a cabinetmeasuring only 29.5 inches deep.
In the plasma department, Pioneer will showcase its 40-inchPDP-V402 plasma monitor with native 640 × 480 (VGA) resolutionand cabinet depth of less than 3.5 inches. This model offersincreased image brightness and contrast and allows the end-user anoptional down converter to display both XGA and SVGA signals.
Pioneer was the first manufacturer to offer a 50-inch PDP andcontinues with the PDP-502MX 50-inch XGA (1280 × 768) monitor.It features three proprietary technologies (True Matrix Imaging,Continuous Emission Display and Digital High Density ImageScaling).
Fujitsu plans to improve on its popular PDS4221 PDPwith a new 42-inch plasma display at INFOCOMM. Although exactspecifications have not been released as of press time, the newmodel is claimed to have a brighter and sharper picture. Look forFujitsu's first 50-inch plasma panel to show up in Vegas (after itscameo appearance at Winter CES) hooked up to an RGB Spectrum DualView video processor.
Sony took a big leap in the market with the PFM-42B1, a42-inch 1024 × 1024 non-square pixel plasma panel that broughtthe price barrier for 16 × 9 plasma under $8000. It is aformat-agnostic panel that will support any and all YPbPr and RGBvideo and computer formats, and measures just over 3 inches thick.Now that Fujitsu has shown a 50-inch panel, will Sony also have oneat INFOCOMM?
NEC Technologies isn't sitting still in the 50-inchdepartment. Their new PlasmaSync 50MP1 panel is a wide XGA (1365× 768) design that accepts all kinds of video andprogressive-scan RGB signals. The 50MP1 has a unique split-screencapability that can mix both 4 × 3 and 16 × 9 images, aswell as two-thirds pulldown compensation for filmed programs and amotion-compensated 3-D scan converter. NEC's AccuShield phosphorprotection lets you invert the image or select low-power mode aswell as orbit pixels.
NEC also announced the largest commercially available plasmamonitor, the PlasmaSync 61 MP1. This 61-inch (diagonal) PDPfeatures 1365 × 768 pixel resolution and 600cd/m
Sharp plans to show a new widescreen TFT LCD monitor,the LC-28HM2. This 16 × 9 aspect ratio panel features truehigh-resolution imaging (1280 by 768 pixels), and requires only 2.4inches of depth. It accepts a wide range of video and RGB signals,including all DTV formats. Brightness is claimed to be 400 nits,with contrast over 150:1. Gamma correction and a digital combfilter round out the picture.
Electrosonic will showcase their new Vector Directorsystem. Developed for corporate presentation applications, theVector Director hardware package provides two video/SVGA inputs andone HD/SXGA source, with all continuous signal auto-detect. Theoutput card can drive two separate progressive-scan displays up to1280 × 1024 resolution, or a single 1600 × 1200display.
A Vector Director system can be controlled via touchpanel, handcontroller or PC. Two additional slots are available forinput/output cards, allowing the system to be easily expanded asrequired. Vector Director is set up and controlled usingElectrosonic's Presenter software, which employs intuitivedrag-and-drop windows and menus to choose and display video andcomputer sources.
ImTech's Activu product is a completely software-basedlarge-scale display (data and videowall) control and processingsystem that adapts to off-the-shelf computers. Using Activu, one ormore operators can launch, view, control, resize, move, save,recall, reformat and terminate any network application. It candisplay any data, in any format, in super-high resolution from anyfeed, from any host. Activu is compatible with all modernperipheral displays and devices such as plasma display panels,liquid crystal flat panel displays and monitors.
Princeton will show the AI3.6HD, a 36-inch viewable 4:3direct-view CRT, NTSC TV/computer monitor with integrated Ch.1Internet service for enhanced TV and Web functionality. The AI3.6HDmonitor supports video, 480p, 1080i and 720p (letterbox) digitalformats as well as VGA, SVGA and XGA graphics from computersources. The Ch.1-enabled AI3.6HD comes with universal IRremote/keyboard/mouse and RS-232 port.
INTERFACES, SCALERS AND SWITCHERS
Communications Specialties will open with “threedueces” in Vegas. Their Deuce HD Intelligent video scaleroffers high definition images from any NTSC or PAL source byconverting it to one of five scaled outputs — 480p, 720p,1080p, 1280 × 1024 or 1366 × 768. Making use of threedifferent algorithms (adaptive frame using inverse 3:2 pulldown,vertical temporal or static mesh), Deuce HD automatically selectsthe most effective motion compensation method, or combination ofmethods, based on the source material being scaled. The unit isable to support aspect ratios of both 4:3 (standard) and 16:9(letterbox), and provides conversion from one format toanother.
CSI's Deuce MC Intelligent Video Scaler converts standard TVvideo to high-resolution, non-interlaced video and offers a uniqueuser-selectable, motion-compensation feature that can be set basedon the input source. The motion compensation feature enables usersto select either adaptive frame using inverse 3:2 pulldown,vertical temporal or static mesh. Deuce MC has three scaled outputresolutions (852 by 480, 800 by 600 and 1024 by 768) and standardline doubling and quadrupling outputs.
You'll also see the Deuce Pro, which converts interlaced videosignals (NTSC, PAL and SECAM) to a non-interlaced progressive scanoutput in 10 different resolutions, including two custom formats.Deuce Pro offers video decoding and A/D conversion for compositevideo, S-Video, YUV and RGB video. Additional features includecomponent and RGB processing controls to adjust brightness,contrast, saturation and hue. Two custom output formats are presetto 480p and 720p 16:9, but can be configured to almost anyresolution via the DPro graphical user interface.
RGB Spectrum will also hold a pair. The RGB/Videolink1690 scan converter accepts any inputs up to 1600 × 1200resolution and outputs the imagery as NTSC/PAL composite video,S-video (S-VHS, Hi-8) or component analog video (Betacam/MII).SMPTE 259M digital output is available as an option. The unitemploys state-of-the-art digital signal processing circuitry toeliminate interlace flicker, and offers zoom, autosync and multiplelevels of flicker filtering.
RGB's 4View multi-input display processor is designed forapplications in broadcast monitoring, video conferencing oranywhere multiple video images must be shown on a screen. The 4Viewdisplays 4 video inputs in quadrants on a monitor, flat panel, orprojection screen. It allows all four video inputs to be displayedat full resolution on a 1280 × 1024 pixel screen, providingmuch higher visual quality. Features include titling, borders, andboth front panel and RS-232 control. Other options include anauxiliary video rate output and an optional DVI digital output.
Kramer Electronics is busy with a new line of videosignal distribution and switching products. Their new VS-4×4FWis a passive FireWire router for desktop video productionenvironments where digital video or storage is being routed via thenew FireWire (IEEE-1394) standard. Offering data speedcompatibility up to 400MB/s, the VS-4×4FW uses theindustry-standard 6-pin (type B) connector for the host sources aswell as the outputs. It is fully compliant with the IEEE-1394standard for data transmission.
Kramer will also demo the FC-5000, a combination standardsconverter and time-base corrector. With three inputs (one dedicatedcomposite and two composite/S-video inputs), the FC-5000 includestwo S-video outputs and two composite video outputs all withproc-amp controls. Other features include AGC from 0.5 to 2 volts,digitally generated EBU bars, cross hatch, PLUGE and multiburstpatterns and a digital comb filter.
It wouldn't be INFOCOMM without Extron Electronics,branching this year into a new line of digital switchers. TheDigital Xpoint matrix switcher line is made to switch serialdigital video signals to multiple digital video devices inproduction studios, non-linear editing suites and broadcaststudios. The two models are the DXP 88 SDI (eight input, eightoutput) and the DXP 44 SDI (four input, four output).
Each input has an equalized and buffered loop-through, and eachoutput has dual buffered and re-clocked BNC outputs. These SDImatrix switchers handle four SMPTE 259M data rates: 143, 177, 270and 360 MB/s. They are capable of switching 4fsc (composite) or4:2:2 (component) serial digital video transmission standards. TheDigital XPoint Series provides automatic rate selection; the matrixautomatically detects and locks onto the incoming data signal.
The Digital XPoint Series provides Extron's exclusive DigitalSync Validation Processing to verify active sources. When inputserial data is locked, the matrix indicates the presence of acarrier source and data rate. Sixteen global memory presets enableindividual I/O configurations to be saved and conveniently recalledeither from the front panel or RS-232/422.
Princeton will demo the PureProgressive PSC-1500 scanconverter for improved images from DVD and standard video (NTSC)sources. The motion-adaptive deinterlacer creates a 480p image thatis claimed to be better than those created by line doublers/scalerscosting thousands of dollars. The new product replaces Princeton'sPSC-1000 by adding a horizontal squeeze function for viewing 4:3formatted material on 16:9 displays. Output signals are availableeither as component (YPbPr) video or RGBHV.
Analog Way will also be in the picture, presenting itsGraphic Switcher II for seamless cuts, fades, dissolves, mixes andwipes between interlaced and progressive-scan signal sources. TheGS II features 16 computer/video inputs, and each input is scaledup or down to one user-programmable output signal that can be VGA,SVGA, XGA, SXGA, D-ILA or HDTV (480p, 720p, 1080p). Both main andpreview outputs are standard, as is an optional T-bar controllerfor multiple screens.
Folsom Research will show the ViewMAX, ahigh-performance downconverter that converts high-resolutioncomputer (1600 by 1280) to broadcast-quality video in real time.The ViewMAX offers dynamic pan and zoom, one-button image presets,HD input and a user-friendly interface. It's intended for on-airWeb broadcast, post-production, video conferencing, rental andstaging, computer generated graphics, recording or just viewing animage on an NTSC, PAL VGA, or Mac monitor, or an LCD, DLP or plasmadisplay device.
Peter Putman is well known for his yearly in-depth reviewsof the Projection Shoot-Out at INFOCOMM; these reviews requiredover 5 hours of viewing time during the 3-day trade show and thesubsequent grading of over 100 display devices in nine performancecategories. Pete also performs numerous hands-on reviews ofprojectors, monitors, scan converters, line multipliers and videoscalers at his studio in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. These reviewsappear on his web site, www.projectorexpert.com, as well as in thepages of S&VC.
INFOCOMM International, sponsored by the InternationalCommunications Industries Association Inc., is the largest event ofthe year in the audio, video and presentations industry. INFOCOMMInternational 2000 had over 26,000 qualified attendees, and moreare expected in Las Vegas in 2001.
Show dates have been changed to Wednesday through Friday, June13-15, and the show floor will be open at the following times:
Wednesday, June 13: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thursday, June 14: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday, June 15: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Advanced registration online is open now and closes June 8.Housing Registration is also open now for all attendees andexhibitors.
INFOCOMM International will be held in Las Vegas at the SandsExpo and Convention Center, 201 E. Sands Avenue, Las Vegas, NV89109.
Three other exhibitions under the INFOCOMM label are held aroundthe world: the biannual INFOCOMM Asia in Singapore; the annualINFOCOMM Europe in Germany; and the annual INFOCOMM Japan.
What You'll See
INFOCOMM International 2001 covers more than 400,000 square feetof exhibit and special event space, featuring new products inprojection technology, display devices, audio technology, screensand monitors, control systems and interfacing equipment andcomputer hardware and software for communications.
For more information, call 800/659-7469.