Consoles Shed Equipment and Weight

New furniture technology takes concerns about sitting into account
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Forecast Console’s new MasterVision console premiered at the 2015 NAB Show.

ALEXANDRIA, VA.—Go big or go home doesn’t really apply anymore in terms of technology. As the industry continues to move towards more software-based processing, with less emphasis on hardware, production equipment is getting smaller and more compact. This spreads to furniture consoles for broadcast control rooms.

This is just one of the biggest trends going on in the professional broadcast furniture world at the moment. There is also the new health conscious trend of sit/stand modules that allow operators to work in whatever way they deem comfortable. With these new trends, new furniture is not only shedding equipment, but is also looking to help shed some weight.

Forecast Consoles, TBC Consoles and Winsted demonstrated their latest consoles developments at the 2015 NAB Show. Here is a look at how each is handling these new trends.

MORE ROOM FOR CABLING
After appearing in various stages of development over the last two years, Forecast Consoles’ MasterVision arrived at the 2015 NAB Show market-ready. MasterVision is designed as a central tub structure that offers mounting options, moveable monitor drop-wells, moveable turrets and plenty of space for wiring of equipment now in secondary rooms as the need for physical equipment in bases lessens.

“As equipment moves from control rooms into machine rooms, the amount of equipment in the base unit decreases, but the amount of cabling into those consoles increases,” said Ryan Haberman, operations and growth manager for Forecast in Hauppauge, N.Y. “The amount of equipment in the consoles is being reduced, but the amount of computer monitors is increasing significantly.”

MasterVision can accommodate monitors up to 30-inches and includes monitor arms to use for touchscreens. It also is designed to be a “benching system,” allowing operators to access their work from any of the consoles’ stations. This is also true for the Catalyst, Forecast’s other console that was featured at the NAB Show.

Reaction to the MasterVision has been strong since its release it April, with as many as two dozen order currently on the books according to the company.

STAND, DON’T SIT
TBC Consoles brought many new and updated products to the NAB Show, including its Intellitrac v2, TracWall v2, SmartTrac 1.5 “Curve,” SmartTrac 2, SmartTrac 3, and the ControlTracL series, all of which are designed to condense the amount of space used by operators.

“In the olden days—meaning up to like 2005 or 2007—it would not be unusual to see six or eight rack unit turrets… or even 10-rack unit turrets,” said Jerry Hahn, president of TBC Consoles in Edgewood, N.Y. “But now the standard seems to be two-and four-rack turrets just for intercom and router, not too much else, and most of the information going on computer monitors.”

All of TBC’s consoles are customizable to fit operators’ needs with interchangeable turrets and monitors, but it is the health-conscious trend of height adjustable consoles that drew the most attention from customers. Many health pundits call sitting the new smoking, and TBC’s SmartTrac consoles offer everything an operator would need in a console, but also provides the option of sitting or standing.

“People are becoming super conscious of the fact that sitting for seven or eight hours at a time is really bad for your back in the long run,” said Hahn. “We take some pride in the fact that we can put together the furniture quality and the functionality they need with the sit/stand capabilities.”

SMALLER FOOTPRINT

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Winsted’s new Impulse console provides two independently adjustable, ergonomically curved work surfaces that can be raised and lowered to meet the needs of individual operators while offering flexibility between sitting and standing.
Though not quite ready for shipping, Winsted unveiled the prototype for its new Impulse console at the NAB Show. Following in the sit/stand trend, the Impulse is a dual sit/stand desk, with two independently adjustable work stations. Like all Winsted consoles, the Impulse is modular and easily configurable to fit any space depending on the needs of the operators.

Winsted’s Impulse will be available for shipping in either late August or early September, according to Brent Leimer, marketing manager for Winsted in Minneapolis.

“It seems like the footprints are getting smaller as the technology changes and our consoles have sort of been evolving in that direction as well,” said Leimer. With these new updates, that seems to ring true for all three companies.