Pro AV Today

Curated by Cynthia Wisehart,

Pro AV Today pulls in stories from across the Internet that are important or interesting to our market. If you want to receive Pro AV Today in your inbox, subscribe to the

Microsoft just made millions off a 14-year-old product they just shut down a year ago

By Eugene Kim, Michael B. Kelley, and Natasha Bertrand, Business Insider

Even though Microsoft stopped selling Windows XP in 2010 and completely shut down support updates a little over a year ago, it's continuing to make money off of it.It's because there's still a huge customer base using Windows XP and they're willing to dole out millions of dollars for custom security support.The latest customer to sign a Windows XP support deal is the US Navy. On Tuesday,the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)closed a $9.1 million contract with Microsoft that guarantees continued custom support for security updates on the 100,000 workstations still using Windowx XP, Office 2003, Exchange 2003, and Windows Server 2003. The full contract could extend to 2017, and be worth up to $30.8 million,IDG News added. "The Navy has plans to phase out the obsolete platforms because, as the unclassified document notes, using decade-old Windows platforms makes the systems vulnerable.“Without this continued support, vulnerabilities to these systems will be discovered, with no patches to protect the systems,” the Navy document states. All that said, updating these systems if far from a simiple task.  MORE@BusinessInsider

Why This Matters:

As the authors point out, XP is the gift that keeps on giving. And of course when it comes to the US government, there is never any rush at all to change decades prematurely when it’s still 2003 somewhere. –Cynthia Wisehart

NestCam review: High-resolution spying on your house—or puppy

By Joanna Stern, The Wall Street Journal

In a menagerie of security cameras, Nest's superior picture quality and reliability stand out. The new Nest Cam—or any of the dozens of competing do-it-yourself security webcams—isn’t just for us pet snoops. Despite the apparent creepiness of having a running Web recording of our private living spaces, the connected cams have become popular for monitoring everything from the front door to the baby’s crib. If you haven’t bought one yet or even considered it, the promise is being in two places at the same time. These little cameras can be your eyes and ears. So does the Nest Cam now make my old Dropcam look like dog poop? And, with competing cameras such as the $200 Simplicam bringing talents like family-member face recognition, is Nest even the best? After testing it against its closest competitors, the Nest Cam is at the top of my recommendation list. However, the monthly recording cost is a lot to swallow and the camera’s motion detection still cries wolf far too often. Figuring out where to place the Nest (and how to get that perfect angle) is the hardest part of the setup. The rest—getting the camera on Wi-Fi and then getting started with a live feed—is a cinch with Nest’s new app. Overall, I prefer the app to others. MORE@WSJ

Why This Matters:

It's Nest. With it's early traction in bringing functionality and elegance to smart home technology, Nest has been more influential in the direction of smart home technology than the big A, so it's products remain the benchmark. This story looks at resolution, audio, motion detection and night-vision. -Cynthia Wisehart

Tackling the “Achilles Heel” of OLED displays

By Rob Matheson, MIT News Office

MIT spinout Kateeva has developed an “inkjet printing” system for OLED displays--based on years of Institute research--that could cut manufacturing costs enough to pave the way for mass-producing flexible and large-screen models. MORE@MIT News Office

Why This Matters:

This is “paving the way for flexible screens." What we’re learning from the LED lighting world is that there is so much headroom for improvement in manufacturing and distribution, and change seems to be coming fast and imperfectly.  We are still a long way from professional-level quality control at affordable prices, but don’t blink or you will miss the next move forward. –Cynthia Wisehart

New display technology lets LCDs produce Princess Leia style holograms

By Mike Orcutt, MIT Technology Review

David Fattal’s company, appropriately named Leia, will demonstrate a prototype of its new 3-D display next week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Later this year it plans to release a small display module capable of producing full-color 3-D images and videos that are visible—with no special glasses—from 64 different viewpoints. MORE@MIT Technology Review

Why This Matters:

This technology was initially developed at HP Labs to control light paths on the nanoscale. HP wanted it for data transport over cable, but Fattel thought he could get the same precise angles to travel in space, as the foundation for holographic images. And he thought he could get the holograms to come out of a conventional LCD—so far a two-inch by two-inch “holomodule”. Remember when micromirrors were new? -Cynthia Wisehart

Pixel problems: living with a 5K monitor isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (yet)

By Matt Smith, Digital Trends

5K is the future of computer monitors. While it may seem like an extravagant and unnecessary luxury, it’s actually an ideal — the resolution at which any further advancement makes little sense. It guarantees that a 27-inch display, used at a normal viewing distance of twenty inches, is completely free of visible pixels. 4K can be improved upon. 5K is perfect. But what is it like to use a 5K display every day? MORE@DigitalTrends

Why This Matters:

Slice of life you will relate to. -Cynthia Wisehart

Blu-ray gets huge 4K quality boost

By Ian Morris, Tech Radar

The official body that sets the specifications for Blu-ray has finally agreed on a standard that will allow 4K material, or ultra HD, to be stored on Blu-ray disks—after previously announcing that we'll have 4K Blu-rays by Christmas time. So why has all of this taken so long when there is really no surprise about what 4K is? MORE@TechRadar

Why This Matters:

This is interesting because the BDA has reached for something I always endorse: better color reproduction: the spec calls for 4:4:4 at 10-bit, though at present receivers and TVs can’t use all that information. This story is definitely worth a read, it places HEVC and HDR in context of 4K and Blu-ray. PS 3D isn’t even in the spec. Poor 3D. Back to the minors. Again. -Cynthia Wisehart

WSJ: Apple may be launching a genuine alternative to cable in the fall

By Chris Mills, Gizmodo

Rumors about an Apple TV, and associated Apple TV service about as old as the history of rumor blogs. But according to a WSJ report, this fall could finally see Apple launching a streaming TV package, featuring a bunch of big-name broadcasters, available only on Apple devices. MORE@Gizmodo

Why This Matters:

It reportedly includes ESPN, which is really all that matters. -Cynthia Wisehart

Pono Player review: a tall refreshing drink of snake oil

By Sam Machovech, Ars Technica

We give Neil Young’s high-res music player and spin and do a few cochlea kegels. MORE@ArsTechnica

Why This Matters:

Love is in the ear of the beholder? After all the hype, this is a hands-on take from someone who has actually beheld the player with his own two hands/ears/eyes. –Cynthia Wisehart

Flexible graphene-based LED clears the way for flexible displays

By Colin Jeffrey, Gizmag

Researchers from the University of Manchester and University of Sheffield have developed a new prototype semi-transparent, graphene-based LED device that could form the basis of flexible screens for use in the next-generation of mobile phones, tablets and televisions. The incredibly thin display was created using sandwiched "heterostructures", is only 10-40 atoms thick and emits a sheet of light across its entire surface. MORE@Gizmag

Why This Matters:

Everything it seems is “clearing the way for flexible displays." Science is scrambling to maximize LEDs on many fronts. -Cynthia Wisehart

Researchers use X-ray and CAT scans to reveal the secrets of golden age violins

By Chris Wood, Gizmag

A team of MIT acousticians and fluid dynamicists have teamed up with Bostonian violin makers to meticulously analyze hundreds of instruments from the Cremonese period, considered the golden age of violin making. MORE@Gizmag

Why This Matters:

It doesn’t. To Pro AV. But if you love the mysteries of acoustics and the vibration of strings and soundboards, you should be aware that MIT scientists can take the mystery out of anything. They didn’t even flinch at their conclusion: The great acoustic dynamics of those classic violins were the product of “repeated craftsman error”. Aren’t we all. -Cynthia Wisehart


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