The InfoComm trade show and conference (the most recent one just wrapped in Las Vegas as I write this) is a big part of the live event/ staging calendar each year– but what does it tell us, each year, about the state of the industry? Does what happens in Vegas (or Orlando) stay in Vegas? Most InfoComm exhibits and sessions revolve around installed AV not live events– but there have been swings of the pendulum in one direction or the other over the years. The past few years have seen such a huge surge of new technology and new business on the installed AV side–with enhanced interest in AV over IP, unified communication, direct view LED, and more– that it’s easy to get distracted at InfoComm and stray from all the live event technology on display.
On the other hand, there is a lot of new technology that crosses over to both the installed AV and live event sides of the market. Two technologies in particular, direct view LED, and higher lumen laser phosphor projection, fit that bill. And they were both on display everywhere at InfoComm. (See the recap of the Rental & Staging Awards at InfoComm in this issue.)
We have all witnessed the LED revolution up close. Fine pixel pitch LED sales are expected to grow from their current $678 million in annual sales to a staggering $2.2 billion in four years. And many AV providers are proactively differentiating their businesses and can be more profitable, by moving away from the low-margin, increasingly commoditized LCD display market and toward more profitable display solution business models.
What does that direct view LED boom, have to do with live events? Quite a lot– because the same manufacturers that offer finer pitch LED for installed AV are doing so for the live event market. It’s all about economy of scale– and getting the prices down for direct view LED for all market segments.
The other technology that is taking both the live events market and the installed AV market by storm is higher lumen laser phosphor projection. There is this year a much wider choice of products if you’re looking for big gun projectors for staged events or large venues. They are better, and more affordable than ever (I did not say “bigger, better, cheaper” because the footprint of the projectors has decreased, a good thing). And there is also now 3LCD in the mix, where previously high lumen projection was really an all-DLP game.