NAB Product Preview: Furniture

When I was starting out in the broadcasting business back in the 1960s, the “furniture” was all pretty much the same. Depending on which catalog you visited, you could get your 19-inch equipment racks and consoles in black or grey (or perhaps RCA’s “midnight blue”), and aside from a few standard height selections, and maybe a back door option or a louvered top, that was about it for the range of choices.

Even though we’re well into the 21st century, a lot of broadcast equipment is still manufactured to fit 19-inch racks, and your basic black and grey colors haven’t faded into obscurity the way certain automobile finish options have. However, there’s a lot of gear out there now that the folks in your granddad’s TV station wouldn’t recognize and it wouldn’t fit his 18-inch deep racks anyway.

Fortunately, several companies have kept pace with the new developments in monitors, computers, and the like that have become commonplace in broadcasting and production house environments, and have developed workstations, consoles, and mounting systems for the current generation of TV gear. Their products will be welrepresented at this year’s NAB Show.

Complete details were unavailable at press time, but Forecast Consoles is promising to show a brand new “green environmentally-sustainable product” that has been specifically designed for automated production control room (APCs), and which will feature an innovative new surface detail.

TBC Consoles will introduce ControlTrac, a fully height-adjustable broadcast control room console that provides operators with a full range of workstation height adjustment. Not only does the countertop move up and down at the operator’s commands, but also monitors, rack turrets and anything else mounted above the work surface. ControlTrac also allows large screen displays of up to 40-inches to be mounted directly to the console for the first time, eliminating the need for a separate monitor wall mount.

TBC’s new ControlTrac product

Middle Atlantic’s VisionFrame video monitor wall system

Winsted’s Ascend sit/stand consoleMiddle Atlantic’s new VisionFrame video monitor wall system provides heavy duty structural support for monitors and can save time for system integrators in planning and installing monitor walls. VisionFrame parameters have been incorporated in Middle Atlantic’s Designer 3D layout software, allowing designers to produce layouts with monitor heights more than 13 feet above room floors, and with unlimited wall widths. VisionFrame is available in both freestanding and desk-mountable configurations.

Winsted’s Ascend Sit/Stand model, a new addition to the company’s Prestige series of consoles, can be raised or lowered to accommodate the requirements of individual operators. It features work surfaces trimmed in Corian or other plastic laminates and the work surface can be adjusted from 29 to 45 inches above the floor. The Sit/Stand is equipped with three preset heights, but can be easily adjusted to any height within its range. Easily accessible vertical and horizontal wire and cable management options are available for the product. Winsted will also show two new products in their M View monitor wall line. The new units accommodate plasma or LCD flat screen monitors up to 64 inches when freestanding, and larger units when the M View wall is secured to a building wall or ceiling.

James E. O'Neal

James E. O’Neal has more than 50 years of experience in the broadcast arena, serving for nearly 37 years as a television broadcast engineer and, following his retirement from that field in 2005, moving into journalism as technology editor for TV Technology for almost the next decade. He continues to provide content for this publication, as well as sister publication Radio World, and others.  He authored the chapter on HF shortwave radio for the 11th Edition of the NAB Engineering Handbook, and serves as editor-in-chief of the IEEE’s Broadcast Technology publication, and as associate editor of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. He is a SMPTE Life Fellow, and a Life Member of the IEEE and the SBE.