A Glimpse into Tomorrow's AV Trends
This June marked our annual visit to the InfoComm tradeshow in Orlando, Florida. Here our engineers and sales staff hunted for the latest and greatest technologies. Whether it is a new video transmission format or a newly integrated speaker design, the InfoComm tradeshow is the best place to get a glimpse into emerging technologies and Shanahan could not wait to see what this year's show had to offer.
Without a doubt, the push for 4k video resolution continues to be the big talk of the video industry. With 4k televisions becoming widely available on the consumer market, audio visual integrators needed to find a way of sending such a high bandwidth signal into the television itself. This breakthrough came about just two short years ago when HDBaseT became the big new buzz. HDBaseT is a connectivity standard for distribution of uncompressed multimedia content that allows full HD video, audio, Ethernet, and power to be carried over a single LAN cable. Fast forward to this year where HDBaseT inputs are being employed in projectors and televisions from nearly all the major display manufacturers like Christie, Sony, and Panasonic. Rather than push towards 8k and beyond, everyone was eager to show that 4k has matured and is ready to be fully integrated into systems.
Within the audio portion of the show, two products stood out to our engineers as new "go to solutions" for the unique installations that we often encounter.
The first was the new Wi-Fi based hearing assist from Williams Sound. "Hearing Hotspot" broadcasts an audio signal over Wi-Fi where it can then be picked up via an app on the user's phone. The product aims to assist the hearing impaired community and offers a possible alternative to hearing loops. While all hearing assist systems have their features and drawbacks, the "Hearing Hotspot" seems to be a step into the future of hearing assists that will utilize Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies.
The other standout for Shanahan was a new speaker company that hopes to set the standard for clarity and overall performance for sound systems. Ambisonic Sound Technologies is using a unique magnetic ribbon driver to bring pro audiophile loudspeakers to the commercial market. The ribbon driver is a very low mass transducer that has the ability to reproduce the sharpest transients and smallest details in music thus providing the listener with an amazing depth of sound. While not suitable for all applications, these speakers have the potential to bring venues such as churches, temples and performance centers to a new, even greater, level of sound quality.
With all of the emerging technologies that bubble to the surface in our industry, it is always a challenge determining which technologies will fall short and which ones will pave the way into the future. The highlights we found in this year's show seem to be heading in just the right direction and Shanahan anticipates employing these new technologies in its upcoming designs!