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Attendees hanging around at InfoComm 2018, last year in Las Vegas_crop.jpg Courtesy Josh Weisberg
Attendees hanging around at InfoComm 2018 in Las Vegas.

Seek and Ye Shall Find: InfoComm 2019

Prior to arriving at a big, diverse technology tradeshow like InfoComm, common sense dictates that you have a plan for what you want to see. Otherwise, you risk leaving with the regret that you didn’t make adequate time for everything. Personally, I usually formulate a plan in advance, make appointments and then, about 15 minutes after arriving, abandon the plan and end up wandering around, bumping into people and things like an untethered molecule. It’s good to be spontaneous, right?

However, this year will be different! I have a plan and I will stick to it (haha) because in addition to the exhibits, I’m leading a learning session and taking part in a disruptive technology panel. Stay tuned for my show recap in a few weeks to see how well I did.

Josh W’s InfoComm Agenda

Projection

Staging-friendly direct laser projection is the technology to examine closely. With new models from Panasonic (RQ-50k) and Christie (D4K40-RGB) amongst others, projection technology shows no signs of slowing down or surrendering to the challenge of LED displays. I’ll also be checking out whatever high-frame rate projectors are on the show floor as they are significant for development of realistic tracking applications.

LED Video Display

With chip-on-board (COB) or other “protected” chip approaches for super-high-resolution tiles taking an absolutely tortuous path to the market, I’ll be looking for further development of micro-LED technologies beyond what we’ve seen recently from Sony and Samsung. COB appeared to be a promising method for increasing reliability and image quality in the super-high resolution tiles, and perhaps it will be, but in the meantime, struggles with reflectivity while repair and discoloration continue to be a concern. Perhaps micro-LED will lead us to a happy place where modular super-high resolution tiles can be deployed safely for live event work.

I’ll also be checking out progress on the LED video processor side of things to see if the reality of what is exhibited matches the hype of recent announcements regarding 4K and HDR capability.

Video Over Ethernet

After going down the road with audio transmission (DANTE, AVB, etc.) and lighting control (ACN, RDM, etc.), video transmission is now beginning a transition to IP-based schemes, and this is a big deal. Like audio, video connection methods have traditionally been point-to-point (e.g. HDMI output from one device to HDMI input on another). With SDVoE and other protocols becoming commercially available and a few network gear companies jumping on board, I will be spending considerable time looking at the offerings from an ever-expanding group of manufacturers.

Media Servers

Checking out the latest media server hardware and software will probably take half a day because there’s much to explore in this area. I expect to see new gear and versions from disguise, Dataton, and numerous others. I’ll be on the look-out for advances in object tracking and automatic calibration as well as any improvements in pre-visualization. I’m also interested in seeing what physical configurations are coming to market and at what price.

Peripherals

At InfoComm, there are a multitude of exhibitors that offer AV system nuts and bolts, such as scalers, touchscreens, switchers, screens, mounting equipment, pipe/drape, even control room furniture, and, of course, about 100 different road case manufacturers. This is where good planning and preparation really pay off so you don’t get sucked into the vortex and spend excess time looking at a really neat monitor mount. I’ll try to confine my explorations to multi-format switchers, particularly if they are adaptable to SDVoE, and will also focus on fiber optic hardware and 4K cameras.  

Throughout a 40-year career in the entertainment technology business, Josh Weisberg has experienced each of the evolutionary leaps in sound, video, and lighting technology from a seat in the front row. Combining a rare level of business management and technical engineering acumen, Weisberg has a keen understanding of the mechanics of running a technology business as well as the engineering and design chops clients rely on for all types of projects. Currently working as a technology and business consultant (having stepped down from the leadership role at Scharff Weisberg and WorldStage in 2017), Weisberg utilizes his expertise in large-screen display design as well as other event technologies for clients in the event, arts, theater, and spectacle sectors.

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