InfoComm 08 - Great Expectations by Jake Pinholster

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So, I've never made it to InfoComm before. I've spent more time with LDI in the past ten years than I have with my extended family, but I've never made it to “that other show.” I'm interested.

Part of that interest is, of course, in the new products being released by companies who traditionally focus in whole or in part on our industry. Dataton is releasing Watchout 4. If the improvements and feature additions are anything like the jump from version 2 to version 3, that should be worth seeing. Frustratingly, they aren't talking detail up front. Medialon's got an impressive 5 new products on display. And I'm fascinated to see if anything can be gleaned about the future of digital lighting after the marriage of Barco and High End Systems.

But my real mission at InfoComm is to borrow, steal and repurpose. I'm looking for the crossovers, products built for one industry that might apply to another with a minimum of modification. The most immediate fertile ground this year seems to be the digital signage and network video management sectors, but I'm sure I'll have lots of surprises to look forward to.

The most exciting thing I've seen in the pre-show press so far is a new projector technology developed by Evans & Sutherland. Their ESLP (Evans & Sutherland Laser Projector) develops the concept of laser display devices put forward in TV form by Mitsubishi and others at CES this year. Their solid-state diode laser displays use something called a grating light valve modulator (GLV), which is a micro-electromechanical device (MEM) similar in some ways to the digital micromirror devices (DMD) that power today's Digital Light Processor (DLP) projectors. This GLV allows the ESLP to produce something they are calling “nanopixels,” yielding a total resolution of 8192x4096 - almost 16 times that of a regular HD projector. The ESLPs also have richer color reproduction and sharper fast motion display than DLP projectors.

They are only 5000 lumens at this point, and the lasers' theoretically infinite contrast ratio has apparently not been realized, but the ESLP represents the kind of crossover I'm in search of. It may take a while to make the transition from the planetarium market to the entertainment mainstream, but let's get the process started now.

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