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InfoComm2003 Puts it All Together

A/V professionals gather to check out the latest technology


Perhaps no trade show represents the future of entertainment media more than InfoComm, June 3-5, in Orlando. Sure, NAB wows with impressive digital video tricks and winter NAMM is loud, with music superstars roaming the aisles. But InfoComm is part NAB, with spectacular video displays, part NSCA with the latest in audio/video networking technology, part CES with gadgets galore, plus a lot of "how can we put all this together and make it bigger, better, faster?"

Several years ago, CPU manufacturers and facility designers realized that in the digital world, any and all signals are nothing more than data packets needing to be steered around. With the right types of processing and routing modules, a system processor could serve either a live sound venue, a broadcast facility, church, a stadium or a building's multimedia system. Or all of them.

Such an animal is Symetrix's SymNet. New for InfoComm is Version 3.5. The major improvement here, besides processor performance, is additional avenues for remote control throughout the system, for things like wall-mounted controllers and lighting systems.

Reflecting this idea of convergence is a new console from Innova SON, the Sy80, aimed at touring venues, broadcast facilities and fixed installations such as churches and performing arts theaters. According to pre-press info, the Sy80 takes full advantage of its digital nature by offering routing and processing flexibility far beyond what has been seen in traditional consoles.

More traditional for broadcasters, yet trading in the growing signal distribution world of InfoComm, is Sigma Electronics and its audio and video converter card/frame systems. The latest for InfoComm are the ADC-2100 and DAC2100 video converters (for the 2100 series frame) and the DA5305 and DA5310 audio converters (for the S5000 frame).

Communications Specialties is rolling out new members of its Pure Digital Fiberlink series of fiber-optical distribution tools. Top of the list includes the 8100 series (up to 12 channels) and the smaller 8000 series (four channels) and the fully modular Flex series.

Telex proves that technology spilling from one product can influence others. Its new RTS Cronus Digital Matrix Intercom has DSP features more similar to systems processors than traditional intercoms. It also sports a complex 128-port matrix router.

On the visual front, the area where InfoComm is like no other show, Samsung continues its roll out of plasma displays. New are 42-, 50- and 63-inch displays and for massive displays a new 50-inch DLP cube will be on hand.

One area that seems to have weathered the recent downturn has been installation microphones. Almost every major mic maker has brought out new lines in the last year. Sennheiser is seriously expanding its installation line with the Contractor series of podium (and table) mics. Utilizing three interchangeable capsules (including a shotgun), the series offers various goosenecks and mounting options.

A bit more mundane, though no less important, are the new interconnects to be seen at the show. Neutrik has an improved EtherCon RJ45 Ethernet connector that promises to be more rugged while Gepco will show its new X-Band flexible audio cable.