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ISE 2018 review: display and audio technologies

Fifteen years old, and occupying fifteen halls, ISE once again smashed the records – for visitors, for exhibitors and for floor space. Here are some of the most significant products that were on show there.

Some day, we will report on an ISE show that didn’t set a new record for exhibition space and attendance – but that day is not today. ISE 2018 attracted 80,923 visitors, 10.3% more than came to the show in 2017. (And at 1,296, the exhibitor figure was about 100 more than last year.)

The Friday attendance was nearly 20,000 – suggesting that more visitors are taking the final day of the show more seriously. However, that didn’t stop Wednesday – always the peak day when ISE was a three-day exhibition – from attracting crowds that many thought made the show more congested than ever before.

The show saw many new events, spread throughout the week, which doubtless led to some smoothing out of attendance over the four days of the show. While the XR Summit took place on the Tuesday, the blooloopLIVE conference – covering night-time events in the visitor attraction industry – took place on the Friday, as did the Awards Ceremony for the World Masters of Projection Mapping. This competition was a significant first, as it took place in central Amsterdam – it involved video artworks projected onto a building in the old docks quarter – and so will have raised awareness of the show among the wider population of the Dutch capital.

Here is a short summary of some of the key new releases exhibited at ISE 2018.

Acer’s new V6820i 4K UHD projector is among the first of its kind to support Amazon Alexa. Users are able to control the projector with voice commands such as “Alexa, turn on the projector,” “Alexa, select HDMI as the projector source,” or “Alexa, change projector display mode to bright.”

The V6820i offers a 4K UHD resolution display, is compatible with HDR and Rec. 2020 signals, and supports the Rec. 709 standard for cinema-like colour accuracy. It also supports HDMI 3D for 3D home cinema experiences. The projector’s AcuMotion frame interpolation system ensures visuals are ultra-smooth even in fast-moving scenes, claims Acer.

Epson launched a new family of entry-level installation laser projectors. The high-end EB-L615U, EB-L610U, EB-L510U and low-end EB-L400U are 5,000-6,000 lumen models designed to replace existing lamp-based projectors. High-end models offer features such as lens shift, HDBaseT, screen mirroring and a cable cover, while the more basic models don’t include these features. Target markets include corporate meeting rooms, large teaching spaces in higher education and visitor attractions.

Among the projectors on show from Casio was the XJ-L8300HN, the company’s first 4K projector, based on DLP technology and featuring 5,000 lumens brightness with a resolution of 3840 x 2,160 pixels. Casio says that its Large Venue Series has been particularly popular with higher education and schools looking to introduce 4K to larger audiences across their halls and lecture theatres. The laser and LED hybrid light source across Casio’s projector range is said to deliver an extremely low total cost of ownership.

New from AV Stumpfl was the T-32 Shift – a mobile projection screen that takes less than five minutes to assemble, and whose height can be adjusted simply by one person. No extra measuring is needed to ensure that the frame is level, due to a clearly marked height scale. The T-32 Shift is compatible with AV Stumpfl’s Monoblox32 and MonoClip32 projection screen frames.

Displays and digital signage
Samsung was showing its modular MicroLED display technology in a massive display dubbed ‘The Wall’ and measuring 146in in size.

The Wall is described as the industry’s first self-emitting modular display to operate through micrometre-scale LEDs, which serve as their own light source and eliminate the need for colour filters or backlights. The result is very high brightness, a broad, high-volume colour gamut, and deep blacks.

Barix introduced the third generation of AudioPoint, an audio signage platform that brings together digital signage, TV content and BYOD. It can deliver audio associated with video content to mobile devices over a local WiFi connection. It’s based on a new hardware platform, engineered by Barix, that builds the channel server into the Barix Audio Signage Encoder to significantly reduce cost and integration time. The encoder supports both single and multi-channel audio streaming for up to 250 simultaneous users.

BrightSign introduced the first of its Series 4 signage players, XD4 and XT4. Four models in the BrightSign Series 4 range are newly designed to support Dolby Vision and deliver BrightSign’s fastest performance to date through upgraded processing power. The XD234 and XD1034 will replace the current XD Series 3 models and XT244 and XT1144 will replace the current XT Series 3 line. As before, the XT line will support PoE and XT1144 supports HDMI In to deliver Live TV to end-points either via an HDMI cable or streaming over a network.

ClearOne debuted the Ceiling Microphone Array Analog X at ISE 2018. The new model joins the original ClearOne Ceiling Microphone Array series and is said to be suitable for conferencing and sound reinforcement applications in any size of room.

The new model features numbered mic-elements for easy identification, an LED indicator for On/Off/Mute, and the ability to daisy chain up to four ceiling microphone arrays to make twelve microphone systems. It is 100% shielded from any kind of interference, features a higher signal-to-noise-ratio, can to be installed anywhere from zero to up to 2.1m from the ceiling, and is optimised for speech intelligibility.

beyerdynamic launched the Unite digital wireless communication system, which offers new options for guided tours. Its talkback function means visitors’ questions can be transmitted via the system, making tours interactive and creating a dialogue with visitors. Additional guides or interpreters can also be integrated into the system; a total of three people can simultaneously talk and be transmitted. Guided tours can also be enhanced through accompanying music, by original soundtracks or by the sound from a media column. Unite uses the DECT standard, so the system can be used without certification and licence fees.

RCF was showing its comprehensive range of EN54-24 certified products. The latest additions are four speakers for ceiling/panel mounting or wall mounting. The PL series are ceiling speakers, designed for recess installation in false ceilings or panels and featuring a flameproof protection dome. The PL 50EN and PLP 50EN are wideband speakers, while the PL 82EN is a two-way coaxial ceiling model. The RCF MR 52EN is a compact, two-way loudspeaker, intended for use in both alarm and business music systems. A thermal fuse protects the integrity of the line in case of heat affecting the speaker, and all the internal cables feature flameproof leads.

Also promoting EN54-24 certified product was ic audio. Inspired by the look of contemporary LED lights, its new 6W voice alarm speakers feature a frameless design. The DL-SE ceiling speakers are available with a 130mm or 165 mm full-range speaker, while the square-design DL-SQ provides the same clear, balanced sound through a 130mm speaker. All models in this design series offer a high-quality 100V transformer with three power tappings, and a sturdy metal housing.

Powersoft launched the Duecanali 804 and Duecanali 4804, a two-channel amplifier platform with optional DSP and Dante for the fixed install market. The company describes them as being particularly suited to leisure and retail spaces.

The Duecanali 4804 provides 2x 2,400W at 4 ohms, a power output suitable for a wide range of projects for small to medium-size installations. The Duecanali 804 offers 2x 400W and represents a lower total power solution for installations in retail, as well as bars and restaurants where a single two-channel amplifier is the requirement, without the need for additional channels or power.

The products are available in standard or DSP+D versions, which extend system performance with onboard high-end signal processing and Dante digital audio distribution.

While best known as a manufacturer of loudspeakers for studio and broadcast applications, Genelec was promoting its increased focus on the AV installation market – where it has had significant success within Scandinavia. The company has a range of in-wall, in-ceiling and IP-based speakers as well as its better known freestanding or wall mounted models. Marketing and PR director Howard Jones explained that target markets include top-end retail, boardrooms, restaurants, bars, museums and galleries: “Wherever audio quality is at a premium”.