Tag Archives: flat panels

ISE 2014 preview

One of Europe’s largest electronics shows ISE will be returning to Amsterdam in February and we hope to be reporting from their to share all the latest news. We’ve been researching and have found a few top picks we feel will get a lot of attention of the three days at the RAI centre.

Proficient Audio Protege speakersProficient-Protege-Speakers-610x465

With a thin-bezel design on all 31 models of their speakers and subwoofers, Proficient Audio will be ones to listen out for at ISE. This new Protege series sees the largest product line change for the manufacturer and by eliminating the plastic rim these sleek speakers can blend better into walls and ceilings. Despite their minimalistic aesthetics, the acoustics and engineering behind the product are still the up to speed with rival products, making the Protégé series a real hit for interior designers and modern working environments.

4K Video Distribution from Crestron

4K is bound to continue being a buzzword you hear around 2014 but many in the business have been worrying about the lack of content available Crestron have tried to bridge the gap in the market with their latest DigitalMedia matrix switchers. Ranging from 8×8 to a gigantic 128×128 input/output, the switchers embody a new range of HDMI over HDBaseT extenders, which can transmit and receive 4K content using standard CAT5e cables. The HD-EXT4-C and HD-EXT3-C models can support 4K signals and send content up to 100 metres via the HDBaseT without any degradation of signal. The transmitters can be easily rack mounted or mounted in a single gang wall box.

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AMX’s Enzo the latest in revolutionary meeting roomsamzenzo

Presenting and collaborating is an area many manufacturers are concentrating on due the fact a lot of research has returned problems with log in speed and sharing data. AMX’s ENZO series tackles this instantly – from logging in, to access documents, to sharing them. By using the cloud, you can access your documents via the cloud on popular application DropBox and instead of the faff of signing in, a QR code linked up to your mobile while allow you access. The QR code concept is also used for when your audience wish to access the documents so passwords aren’t needed but security is kept due to ENZO deleting all documents from the machine when you log off.

Vutec Theater Art System Multi-Vu

After winning awards at CES, and CEDIA, ISE displays Vutec’s all-in-one entertainment experience. What appears as a framed piece of art (or a personal photo if you wish) descends at the touch of a remote control to unveil a flat panel and a motorised projection screen. The projection screen offers several masking options and the system allows you to add multiple screens if you wish, making it ideal for a style-conscious environment.

If you would like further information on any of these products or a similar concept for your business, please do not hesitate to contact the office.

CES Show- What to watch in 2014

CES2014The largest electronic show in the world is back in Vegas and CES is filled with innovative technology set to amaze as always. Unfortunately, Paragon were unable take a trip over the pond but we have been keeping an eye on all the latest news to share with you. This year’s main attractions may have been in the gaming and wearable technology spectrum but there was still plenty of AV equipment and concepts set to stun, with Samsung particularly catching our eye with an array of products. We’ve listed our top three products from the show.

98-inch 8K screen

Whilst many manufacturers are filling the floor of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas with 4K screens of all sizes, Samsung are skipping a step by unveiling a monolithic 98-inch screen in 8K. Also known as Quad Ultra HD, this 7680 x 4320 resolution was on display with a super sharp image but it seems bizarre when it seems 4K hasn’t quite flown off the shelves yet. We discussed 8K in detail last year,  after Sharp showcased their screen back in 2010 and although it appears to still be in prototype format, it will be interesting to see if we all skip 4K and wait for the next best thing.

Home Automation IS the Future

It’s apparent this year that the home automation market has grown thanks to the increased use of tablets and wireless connectivity. In the corporate market, the likes of AMX and Crestron still appear strong when controlling an entire system but domestically Samsung is trying to get ahead of the rat race. Last year LG showcased its HomeChat system, which allowed users to text their controlled devices with commands from afar. Samsung plan to incorporate their new wearable technology along with features including the following:

  • Control will now be possible over devices such as lighting and air conditioning from a smart device app elsewhere and voice commands will be possible via new TV remote controls.
  • Cameras will be built into TVs and other appliances to allow Home View. This provides real-time video feeds to a user’s smartphone so that they have surveillance over their home whilst on the move.
  • A new customer service technology allows appliances to notify the smartphone app if anything needs cleaning or replacing. For example, if a light goes out, you will receive an alert on your phone instantly.samsunghomeautiomation

All of these features could become very useful in a corporate environment and it wouldn’t surprise us if other manufacturers catch onto this in the future.

Flexible screens

There is an array of curved screens on show at CES, a concept that seems to have had mixed reviews, including Samsung’s 105-inch 4K TV but a couple of prototypes appear to have taken it one step further with flexible OLEDs. Both LG and Samsung are exhibiting bendable screens, which allow the user to decide when they want an immersive curve and normal viewing can be restored with ease. On the Samsung, we’re not talking Rolf Harris wobble boards here but the opportunity to slightly curve either side of the display so that it rises out of the bezel, giving the impression of more depth.

bendablesamsung

VGA to be completely wiped out by 2015

Vision-TC2-VGATP-300x200All of the major computer manufacturers have claimed that all VGA outputs will be replaced by DisplayPort and HDMI in the next couple of years. LVDS, the native signal that carries video around the computer is being replaced by DisplayPort by giants such as Intel and AMD but what does this mean for the AV industry?

Although DisplayPort is more suited to many of our requirements, HDMI is already used widely and is therefore a more likely choice. The actual cable will likely be replaced by CAT5e and CAT6 (also known as a twisted pair) and although CAT5 in common now, it’s worth making the gradual changeover now.

If you are using CAT5 but with VGA at each end, Vision have released a solution that sends VGA over a CAT5 cable. This device costs roughly the same as installing a 20m VGA cable anyway, so this solution is future proof and inexpensive.

With a similar concept, Vision’s HDMI solution can send the HDMI over CAT5e and CAT 6 cables whilst converting and amplifying the signal over all four twister pair wires.

Even more complex is HDBaseT, which allows up to five signals to pass through a single CAT6 cable without compression. This innovative technology is the first step in eliminating the need for a power supply and this will allow flat panels to become thinner and lighter but for now the concept is very expensive.

These particular products are likely to favour digital signage applications thanks to their affordable price and professional quality. If you would like further information on cables and networking, please feel free to contact us.

Microsoft’s Illumiroom is dimmed down for now

illumiroomBack in May this year, you would have seen our news article on Microsoft’s Illumiroom project, which uses projection and a Kinect to create an immersive space for gaming and films. Despite being every tech lover’s dream, it appears we won’t be seeing this in our living rooms anytime soon, according to a senior Microsoft executive.

According to their head of product planning, the set up could cost up to thousands of dollars per customer, which just isn’t plausible and so for now the concept will remain as “just research”. Despite the Xbox One being launched, there was no specific talk linking to the Illumiroom and apparently many were sceptical due to the average customer not owning a projector for home use. With this and the BBC’s visual equivalent of surround sound mentioned in the last few months, it will be interesting to see if any further developments appear by the end of 2013.

Is the hype of 3D already dying out?

3DTV_glassesIMAGEEntering a 3-dimensional world through our screens became all the rage when the likes Avatar created an immersive experience filled with colour. The thought of putting on these magical glasses was exciting and previous films were reborn with this extra technology. Then we wanted it in our living rooms, to make home cinema even greater and while we’re at it, let’s watch the football with it too.
Obviously, every company caught on and televisions were made with built-in 3D capabilities and glasses sold additionally, as families crowded round the flat screen for a futuristic night in. Nowadays is another story, with those who have the necessary hardware not tending to bother with it, especially just for television and this is why the BBC will be abandoning the idea until 2016 at least. ESPN also decided to ditch the extra dimension last month with 3D sports broadcasts being shut down by the end of the year.

Apparently the audience find the concept “too hassly”, due to the glasses and the arguments over the best seat to capture the quality. Not only that but many have complained about lack of colour and the fact that often television is not the sole activity you’ll be doing and therefore the glasses interfere with other activities such as checking your phone, or talking to others in the room. Although most high end TV sets available on the high street do have 3D capabilities, its likely that if this decrease continues, manufacturers will push 4K more than ever.

Its not just in the home where the hype is starting to fade. Despite many cinemas introducing new passive glasses thought to be more comfortable, films don’t seem to be grasping the use of the technology and there is a lack of objects flying out in your face, despite a hefty ticket price and probable headache. If the third dimension is already dying out in home cinema, it will be interesting to see if recent digital signage applications will hit it off. This year’s ISE event showcased LG’s 3D video wall, which received a huge buzz due to no glasses being needed.

What are your thoughts on 3D?

New touch screen technology thought to be more energy efficient

Touch screen experts Peratech have created a solution for touch screen applications that allows for a more energy efficient system. Due to the QTC Ultra Sensor being placed behind the screen, there is no loss of light from the display, meaning less battery is used.

This technology has been working best with OLED and e-paper type displays but can also be used on other products. LCD is not advised as they cannot really be pressed. Normally touch screen devices require a layer over the top of the display, which causes slight light loss, so having the technology behind the screen means brightness and quality in the image will not be lost.

QTC, which stands for Quantum Tunnelling Composite material, means the material changes its resistance when pressure is applied and only then. It means power is only used when the screen is touched, unlike previous technologies that need continual power for the active sensing matric. Apparently the QTC will also be a lot cheaper, due to limitless size opportunities regardless of the matrix interference and the company have already made examples that are 2m by 1m.

It will probably be a while until this concept is brought onto the high street, so if you have any queries or requirements involving touch screen now, please feel free to contact us.

 

Highlights from European Sign Expo 2013

vueintimannequinDespite so many experts fully believing that digital signage will soon overtake the print business, the European Sign Expo is tucked away into a small corner, whilst the rest of FESPA engrosses the London ExCel with monstrous looking printers and paper galore.

There were debates going on early in the day over at the Screenmedia Theatre regarding the battle between print and digital signage and either way the technology is consistently improving over in the European Sign Expo. With it being the first of its kind here in London, the expo is relatively full and both old and new exhibitors emerge from the stalls.

Amongst familiar faces including Brightsign and Innova, there were a few names that caught our eye when it came to fresh ideas. The virtual mannequin has been seen from several companies and is slowly becoming a more common sight in the likes of hospitals, attractions and retail. Although this is the first thing you notice at Vueinti’s stall it soon becomes apparent their innovation spreads much further. Their mannequin has some extended features, such as being muted until a movement sensor realises someone is close by. Although the stall was relatively bear, due to a last minute offer to exhibit, Vueinti were happy to showcase some other great products via iPad. Their Retail Brand Activation is likely to be a huge hit in retail as the display case senses when a product is picked up. This then triggers the digital signage screen above to display information about the product of interest and uses LED lighting to spotlight the item on the shelf. The display also incorporates analytical software so that gender and age can be picked up for market research. This concept has also been attached to their mannequins, meaning the virtual informer is only activated when a product is picked up.

vueinti

Airgoo were another name that caught our attention due to the size of their latest signage player. With a MicroPlayer the size of a USB memory stick, this cost effective solution uses WiFi and 3G to display ready to upload content. Even if your internet connection it lost, the content will continue looping until you retrieve signal, so your screen will never freeze or turn off. Unlike other brands, Airgoo’s player can transform any brand of television into a digital signage display as long as it has a HDMI port. The CMS (Content Management System) is web based and although this helps with scheduling and grouping screens, it does not offer a way of creating the content, meaning you either send over the content from your previous software via RSS, or use outsourced designers.airgoo

As you can see, many of the eye catching technologies appeal more to a retail sector and although Pyramid’s Polytouch screens on show may appear that way as well, you soon realise the possibilities are pretty vast. With a quick mounting system to upgrade when necessary, the platform also integrates a chip and PIN device, barcode scanner and even a camera to interact further. The obvious applications of self service and product information for retail may be the first concept that springs to mind, but Polytouch has been applied successfully for banking, events and hospitality as well.

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Digital signage is continuing to grow and can be applied to any business. If you don’t want to get left behind, why not contact us for a free of charge health check, where we can recommend the best solution for you?

InfoComm 2013 round up

infocommshowUnfortunately Paragon was unable to jet over to Florida for the week but InfoComm 2013 was still filled to the brim for its largest show ever, with over 35,000 through the doors.  Although many of our better known brands such as Vivitek, Draper and NEC were in attendance, it was newer products that caught our eye in the various launches shared.

One press preview that stood out was over on the DLP stand, where a hybrid technology consisting of a short throw projector and a multi-touch display prototype created a fully interactive screen on any surface. The 3,000 lumen projector uses sensor technology to connect the two together however there was no implication of market possibilities anytime soon.

Black Box’s digital signage players aren’t products we had personally heard of before but perhaps this is because their Q series stands for “quiet”. The fanless media players used a finned design instead, including a heat sink to avoid overheating without the noise.

4K still seems to be one of the main buzzwords for 2013 and while many are still getting to grips with the concept, Planar Inc. have taken their LCD product line a step further with multi-touch and multi-user capabilities. Being one of the first of its kind to combine collaboration with the ultra-high resolution, the image clarity and multiple touch points create an ideal solution for way-finding, product catalogues and interactive digital signage.

If you are interested in 4K, interactive touch screens or any other new products on our Tech Zone, please feel free to contact us.

20130613Texas_Instruments_DLP_Technology570

Cloud schools could benefit third world countries

Cloud computing

We all know how much technology has changed the way we teach and learn within the education sector but Professor Sugata Mitra has managed to take these ideas to a whole new level. Prof. Anant Agarwai has already set up one online school, known as ‘edX’, where one million students have already enrolled to access a variety of online courses. The content has been shared from around 27 partners at universities, creating a non-profit project that could help poorer countries, who are yet to have formal education, as well as here on home soil.

“Education has not changed in 500 years – we still herd children like cats into classrooms at 9am”, he explained. This model will involve an adult supervisor on the other side of the screen but a lot of it will involve the children having to organise themselves. Thanks to investments from the likes of MIT and Harvard universities, the Prof. Mitra hopes to open five online schools, three in India and two in the UK. The establishment will be a glass pod filled with computers and a large screen for the supervisor to be seen on and have some authority over the children.

When he did a similar project in 1999, Mitra dealt with an influx of interest and children were eager to play games but it eventually calmed down into a great learning tool. For areas where there are no teachers or good teachers available, the cloud school covers the problem whilst using support from some of the world’s top professors. Another part of the project involves “cloud grannies”. Retired people in the UK can connect via Skype to youth clubs over in India and offer activities such as reading a story and this is something that is thought to be incorporated into the schools.

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Sugata Mitra at TEDGlobal

Prof. Sugata Mitra’s talk at the TEDGlobal conference about cloud schools can be found on Youtube.

Fourth Steljes SHAPE event hits Oxford

shape2013logoResellers and integrators congregated at the F1 Williams Conference Centre last week to be educated on all things Smart. With technical training available for Smart products and AMX’s RPM (Rapid ProjectMaker) software, engineers are busy keeping up to date with the latest installation opportunities. The vendor village offered a closer look into some of the equipment discussed in the seminars throughout the day with Steljes and their partners in full force to educate.

The seminars throughout the day offered a vast range of ideas for how to incorporate collaborative solutions and although we’re aware of its uses in the education sector, the corporate talk was much more eye opening. With Microsoft Lync becoming a popular factor of the modern office, Smart’s own software Meeting Pro manages to combine with this product’s advantages for a seamless meeting. After shocking statistics including the fact that 28% of workers find meetings to be “pointless” being shared, it is understandable that companies want to find ways to save time and money on travel and sometimes video conferencing just won’t do. The combination of these programmes helps create not only a system for video and audio, but also for collaboration, so anyone involved in the meeting can annotate and make notes in real time and save and send where necessary. Check out our feature on Meeting Pro coming soon.

BenQ’s “Using iPads in the Classroom” showed a short demonstration of the progressively favoured DisplayNote software, however due to internet problems the seminar was cut short. The Steljes training team offered a first glance of their training portal concept for teachers which will be available soon. Despite the worries that interactive whiteboards were losing the battle against sleeker touchscreen LCDs, Smart are far from getting left behind in the collaborative market.