InfoComm Awards 2008

You knew it was coming. It always does. Now celebrating 10 years, here are my picks for the rAVe Best of InfoComm Awards 2008!

Best Booth: Christie Digital — there isn’t even a 2nd place. Christie’s creative use of color and shapes projected images made it a stand-out in the show. We heard a lot of wow’s when people talked about its design elements.

Best New Product for InfoComm 2008: Sanyo’s 4LCD Technology — for those who like LCD quality but DLP color, this will be the technological solution for you. Although not ready for the market yet, the 4LCD concept is a winner and I am quite sure it will be emulated by Sony and Epson as well.

Best Presenter: Scala, EVP, Jeff Porter — added at the last minute to the InfoComm Manufacturer’s Forum, Jeff did a phenomenal job fielding questions from both rAVe founder Gary Kayye as well as the from the audience. His vision for the role of networking in the AV industry was right on target and didn’t include a whole lot of Scala marketing blah. He gets it.

Most Ubiquitous Technology: 3D — led by Da-Lite’s stunning breakthrough in 3D rear-screen fabric, 3D displays were everywhere.

Best New Killer App: LED-based projectors – Optoma showed a pocket (pico) projector that’s battery operated and its light source is LED (cheap to operate and GREEN). But, inside the TI booth, their theater was illuminated with an over 5000 ANSI lumen LED based projection system due out by the end of 2009 — cutting down the energy consumption of projection by over 60% and colorimetry looked almost perfect.

Best New Video Product: Extron’s new line of HDMI and DVI products including amplifiers, DAs, switchers, matrix switchers and Cat5-based converters. By Extron entering this market, it means that DVI and HDMI routing are clearly the future of ProAV integration of video distribution and routing.

Best New Audio Product: Denon’s new DN-A300M is an 8ohm, ProAV amplifier with RS232 control.

Best New Projection Display: Christie’s HD6K-M is a Mercury-based lamp 3-chip DLP projector (1920 x 1080) that screams with over 5000 real ANSI lumens and blew away the Panasonic-version with its comparably compact size and feature packed design.

Best New Flat Panel Display: Sharp’s TL-M4600 was the show stand-out, but more importantly, Sharp’s LCDs are still, hands down, the best on the market. There’s Sharp in first, second and third place and then everyone else is fighting for 4th.

Coolest New Classroom Accessory: Lumen’s DC 162 is the coolest portable document camera in the universe! They make all the others look stupid! And, at $799 for an XGA-resolution document camera, it’s a killer deal.

Best Rear Projection Display: We have to give it to Da-Lite’s 3D Virtual Black display. It was one of the first things we saw at the show, and it was the measurement point to judge the rest and after seeing their 3D demo with their new Virtual Black rear-screen technology, it made everything else seems like SD.
Best New Display: VER’s new 360-degree LED’s aren’t high-res, but they’re priced right and easy to assemble. These pictured here from the show took less than three hours to assemble.

Most Creative New Product: (tie) Holosonics Audio Spotlight sound speaker technology — created in MIT’s Media Lab, this really works and looks great!

(tie) FireFly, a small company out of California, introduced an LED-lit cable cover for rental and staging application where you have to cover cables with something so people don’t trip over it. It’s VERY cool. EVERY rental and staging company NEEDS this!
Best Product You Probably Didn’t See: Extron’s New External Compact Power Supply called ZipClip

Best New Screen Technology: Everyone can universally agree on this one — Da-Lite’s 3D Virtual Black

Best Potential New Technology: 3D — As always, Philips is at the forefront of this technology and now, they’ve even conquered viewing angles. This could be the savior for BOTH the consumer market and the professional market. You’ll see a plethora of movies released over the next 18-months in 3D in the theater and you’ll see 3D for videoconferencing move toward mainstream over the next few years. Everyone stands to gain from this real-life emulation technology (display manufacturers, signal routing and distribution, screen providers and even end users). We may even see a 3D show one day.

Best New Projection Technology: All the wide-screen projectors (i.e. WXGA, WUXGA, etc.) Finally, we have a plethora of wide-screen projection technologies to choose from and we can STOP specifying 4:3 projectors.

Best New Digital Signage Products: (tie) On the software side, Scala’s THE leader in Digital Signage stuff and their Channel 5 Release 3 is incredibly powerful and re- established them in the leadership position.

(tie) On the hardware side, AGN|PRO’s miniBox is the ultimate portable media server solution for digital signage — priced inexpensively and a great way to enter the digital signage market
Best VTC System: Polycom’s HDX — hands down, the best HD-conferencing system around because of its user-interface design.

Best New Control Room Product: Jupiter System’s PixelNet

Best In-Booth Presentation: Laura Shay of Polycom and her HDX presentation.

Best New Programmable Control System: Crestron’s new TPS-6X — looks incredible and NOT like a lunch box.

Best New Software-Based Control Product: Extron’s GlobalViewer Enterprise Edition

Best InfoComm Ad: DLP’s anti-LCD ad.

Worst InfoComm Ad: All the Going Green Ads. This is sooooo three years ago…

Best Show Uniforms: Crestron’s sparkle!

Worst Show Uniforms: Anyone wearing a suit! Hey, even Randy Klein was spotted wearing khakis and a polo shirt!

Best Booth Giveaways: InfoComm’s Wii Giveaway to CTSers

Worst Booth Giveaways: Anyone giving away their own products — especially one’s that you can’t use in a house — who wants those??? You just know they’ll end up on eBay.

InfoComm’s Where’s the Beef? Award Winner: InFocus