Saturday, June 15, 2013

Infocom 2013 Recap - Part the First. Some Whimsy

This year's Infocomm is now officially behind us and, weather permitting, this pixel-and-ink-stained wretch is heading home. In addition to the technology, there were plenty of social moments, parties, and chances to meet all of the "AV Tweeps" (the twitterati of the AV industry) as well as all of the people I know only from LinkedIn, Google+, or even just a voice on the phone from whom I'd requested a quote or asked a technical question. There was magic, there was music, classes, speaker demos, parties, wildlife, nightlife, and some technology. This post will be a light-hearted one, of things I found fun and nifty. Part two will be more of my big picture - the stories I think could be important. I'll round things off with social observations, a shout-out to the Women in AV, and perhaps a rant or two.

This isn't about things which are groundbreaking, but about what's interesting. After day 1, I ran into one of my fellow New York based consultants in a fly-a-thousand-miles-to-have-dinner-with-the-guy-from-across-the-street moments (this is a thing. trust me). He said that thus far he'd seen lots of incremental improvements, and I find that hard to argue on a broad scale. HDBaseT isn't a new story. Dante isn't a new story. There are lots of stories that aren't new.

I unplugged their TV so I could take
a snapshot. Look ma, no electrician!
One of my favorite "me too" products was Altinex's HDMI over Cat5 Tx/Rx pair. What made this one special? It doesn't meet the HDBaseT standard - it exceeds it in a rather surprising way. HDBaseT specifies the option of up to 100W of DC power with the idea that, if anyone makes a display with the right inputs and enough efficiency - one could run not only control, audio, and video but also power over a single cable. Altinex isn't waiting for the display manufacturers. They not only send 150W (this is where the exceed the spec to the point that they're no longer HDBaseT compliant or interoperable), but they include an AC outlet right on top of the receiver.  This lets you mount a flat-panel anyplace you can get low voltage cable without having to hire an electrician. Groundbreaking? No. A highly nifty refinement of existing technology which fills a need? Absolutely.

This is a product I've seen before - the Perfect Path locking HDMI cable from Liberty. It has little shark-fins that grab onto the inside of the female connector to hold it in place, and is quite will-made with little need for strain relief. How well-made? Yes, that TV is actually hanging by the cable, with nothing at all else holding it up.

And to think that most HDMI cables fall out
if you look at them funny

There was also plenty of whimsy in booth design and presentation; I''ll close with my favorites. The literal carnival atmosphere at Vaddio, the Gator case gator, and, the fashion-statement of the show, #PexipPants.I was especially excited about Pexip, as there was lots of pre-show buzz about them to which they lived up. More on them and perhaps Vaddio next post. See you then!
I didn't get to play skeeball, but did treat myself to
some popcorn!

Me and the gator. It was squirmy for me!
Pexip Pants! I LOVE it. Also some brilliant tech.
We'll talk about them next post!


  1. Hi Leonard

    Firstly, many thanks for your inclusion of Muse from Altinex in your InfoComm recap! We’ve had a FANTASTIC response from the AV world on this exciting new technology.

    I would like to take a moment to clarify a couple of points about Muse:

    1. HDMI, IR & RS232 over CAT5/6 (HDBaseT or not) is not ground breaking – we’ve done it for years.

    2. Power over CAT5/6 as POE or POH isn’t new either – it’s also been around for years, BUT -

    3. Providing a 150watt, 110 volt AC socket at the end of 300’ of CAT6 cable IS groundbreaking! There is no one else in the world that has been able to do this – it’s yet another first for Altinex.

    To make sure you are clear how we do this, we don’t send 150watts of AC power over the CAT6 – that would be dangerous and ILLEGAL! Instead, we convert the high power AC to Low Voltage DC at the TX, and reconvert from DC back to AC at the RX. That way, it still classifies as a low voltage cable and is per specification for low voltage contractors to install. It also complies with the NEC and UL60950 for voltage and amperage.

    I’m told that most of the 70” LED screens at InfoComm 2013 were under the 150watt maximum Muse provides. Bottom line? Go ahead and install that new display ANYWHERE you want!

    Please let me know if you have any questions and thanks again for including Muse in your blog.

    Grant Cossey
    Vice President, Sales
    Altinex, Inc

  2. Leonard, enjoyed meeting you at Infocomm and I am now enjoying your blog! Best wishes, Penny Sitler