Projectors and Microphones Stand Out at InfoComm 2016

Whether looking for WUXGA or laser phosphor projector models, InfoComm in Las Vegas offered numerous options for the interested consumer.

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For me, InfoComm 2016 began with my arrival Tuesday afternoon to begin scouting a record 1,000 exhibitors at the Las Vegas Convention Center as they were in the midst of setting up.

Once three plus days had passed, there had been numerous offerings at the conference worthy of note seen by the more than 38,000 visitors.

Among the varied products at InfoComm, though, projectors seemed particularly prevalent.

While the most eye catching product rollout in my view was shortly before the exhibit floor opened Wednesday morning with Sony's 32 foot-by-9 foot Crystal LED Integrated Structure, or CLEDIS, video wall, which continued to catch the eyes of hordes of attendees during the conference (here are two YouTube video clips from that conference to get an idea Clip #1 or Clip #2), there were a number of other worthwhile products seen as an ideal fit within the worship market.

That included for instance, a display of Renkus-Heinz Iconyx Gen5s, digitally steerable loudspeaker arrays to Mega-Lite LED wall displays. Having seen my share of interlocking LED wall tile setups, to me there was an inherent risk of a tile falling if it was not fully locked in. Thereby resulting in a couple thousand dollars needing to be reinvested in that video wall. On one of their displays at their booth, Mega-Lite pointed to an additional layer of security, with detachable metal cabling behind each tile to prevent unintended LED tile falls.

Among the varied products at InfoComm, though, projectors seemed particularly prevalent.

For those attendees seeking a wide array of projector choices, Optoma delivered from lamp to laser models, displaying various install options in their booth setup. That included four projectors mounted imaging into a dome, a feasible option for many houses of worship, along with another that included a double projector alignment, projecting onto an archway, definitely applicable for many church entranceways. Among the models showcased at their booth was the 0.18UST, cited as the world's first 4K ultra-short-throw projector, where Optoma specified that positioning it just two inches from a wall, could project an image of up to more than eight feet wide.

To put 4K into context, the number of pixels for a WUXGA projector (1920x1200) is slightly more than 2.3 million. How many for a 4K projector (4096x2400)? More than 9.8 million, amounting to more than four times that of WUXGA.

Aside from Optoma, other notable projectors on the convention floor were displayed by Canon, Eiki, Hitachi, Ricoh and Epson, each of which included at least one laser projector, with lifespans rated at around 20,000 hours, a dramatic improvement over the typical lifespan for bulbs for lamp models, often ranging around 2,000 to 4,000 hours.

Among the many lamp projectors still on display, though, one of the more striking performers was from Eiki, the EIP-UJT100, with its 14,000 lumen capability, utilizing three chip DLP technology. For those highlighting their laser models, the Ricoh booth included the PJ L6280, the company's first laser projector, which was released a couple of months ago. It looked solid in its ability to project on up to a 25-foot screen, at WUXGA resolution with 5,000 lumens. On the Hitachi side of the equation, the company introduced its first ever solid state laser projector in Las Vegas, the LP-WU9750B, which it cited as maintenance free to go along with WUXGA resolution, 20,000 hours of estimated operation, and 8,000 lumens of brightness.

As eye opening as each of those models were, though, Canon showcased a pair of two 4K projectors, one a lamp projector (4K500ST Pro AV) at 5,000 lumens, along with a prototype laser projector.

Among the different manufacturers on display at InfoComm, though, there was one that stood out with regard to its lumens capability. For the many models at InfoComm that ranged 6,000 to the mid-teens in that specification, Epson paid close attention to the "color brightness" of their models at their booth, featuring a 25,000 lumens model , the Pro L25000U, a 3LCD laser projector. To show exactly how much brighter one of their models was versus a few models from their competition, a large Epson display at their booth highlighted the Epson EB-G7900U, which could be compared with three competing models by any of the conference eattendees.

Gutsy.

At least for anyone there to see how the Epson 7,000 lumens projector fared versus the three others on display, which ranged between 7,000 to 7,500 lumens, the "color brightness" and vibrancy for the Epson clearly stood out with these eyes.

Beyond the many projectors featured at the conference, one of the other notable InfoComm exhibitors was one that offered an effective demonstration, at the Countryman booth. Among the six or seven microphone manufacturers that I visited, a demo of a couple of the earset microphones and a podium mic (the Isomax 4RF) caught my attention. Coordinated by Countryman president Chris Countryman, the demo involved the press of a single button, while the listener was wearing headphones. The result? The listener went from clearly hearing a loud thumping sound caused by him pounding on the desk, only for that sound to virtually disappear.

Lastly, while InfoComm is not an exclusive worship market conference, it was a pleasant surprise to find in one corner of the North Hall at the convention center a worship band performing on Thursday. A pleasant surprise for sure.

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