Editor's Note: The Blurry Lines
Feb 1, 2005 12:00 PM, By Mark Johnson
No, I didn't forget my glasses. I can see the lines just fine, and they are blurring. In the old days, equipment and systems meant for fixed installs were designed and built for just that purpose. Basic black (or better yet, primer gray) with no rigging hardware was de rigueur for loudspeaker systems. Now it's color matched from the factory with rigging precision developed to withstand the tortures of touring.
We used to cringe at the sight of prosumer gear incorporated into a system. Indeed, prosumer products were generally consumer products made to look industrial with rack ears, handles, and black paint. Now, with consumer, touring, and broadcast markets serving as launching pads for innovation, combined with the availability of really powerful and flexible technology (like DSP) and the manufacturers' desire to maximize product development dollars, a product initially designed for a specific market can find application in multiple markets.
Recently, in Jeff Sauer's “Picture This” column in this magazine, he pointed to advancements in display technology that were rooted in products initially destined for the consumer market. Voice- and video-over-IP technology and products are heavily touted in press releases from the various developers and manufacturers of consumer-oriented products. Applications of the technology in the professional community are proving a cost-effective, efficient communication tool.
Media- and information-storage technology used to be some variant of magnetic tape. Now we have servers, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray, compact flash disks, and other devices that can store countless images, movies, presentations, recording sessions, or programming for narrowcast or broadcast.
Regardless of the impetus, the cross-pollination of markets has produced some really nice hybrids that serve many of us in the industry.