More than 700 technology companies exhibited products at InfoComm 2005 in Las Vegas. Here is a look at some of the highlights.

Christie unveiled a number of new products at InfoComm, including a wireless AV system called the ChristieNET WAVE-DVD. Compatible with virtually any PC or component/S-Video source, the device reportedly transmits and receives wireless computer video signals at resolutions ranging from VGA to 480i high-definition (HD). It can operate at a range of up to 500 feet and transmit video wirelessly at 30 frames per second, the company said.

Dell introduced its first sub-2.5 pound projector, the 3400MP. The latest model in Dell’s lineup uses DLP technology; features 1,500 ANSI lumens and a contrast ratio of 2,100 to 1; projects native XGA resolution and adjusts to accommodate the resolution of the source device automatically; and sells for $1,399. Three adjustable feet help provide more stability when the projector sits on uneven surfaces, and its 156-watt lamp reportedly can last up to 4,000 hours in Eco-Mode. The 3400MP will be available beginning June 28, Dell said.

ELMO USA demonstrated its new ELMO P30 XGA document camera, which includes the capability to produce digital-effects slide shows. The camera can capture both still and moving images (at 20 frames per second) and includes a 60-times zoom for intricate detail focus. It also feature annotation tools for enhancing on-screen images. You can save moving images in AVI or WMP format to a PC through a USB connection, ELMO says.

Extron Electronics debuted more than 50 new products at the show, including its System Integrator series, a family of seven speakers designed for AV applications. These range from surface-mount speakers to ceiling and in-wall units, each designed to deliver smooth, accurate reproduction of voice and music for classrooms, conference rooms, and other environments. All System Integrator speakers are sold in pairs and include a five-year parts and labor warranty, Extron said.

FOCUS Enhancements demonstrated a new offering in its FireStore line of products, which provide “Direct to Edit” (DTE) video recording capability. The devices attach to a video camera and allow users to record directly to a disc in the format of their choice, eliminating the need to capture video footage and saving tremendous time in the editing process, the company says. The new FS-4 and FS-4Plus portable FireStore devices are much smaller and more lightweight than earlier versions of the technology. They reportedly work with any DV camera (low-end or high-end), and an optional upgrade adds HD functionality.

LG Electronics introduced a 55-inch, high-definition LCD monitor and a 15-inch LCD tablet monitor. The 55-inch model features a 178-degree viewing angle, reportedly the widest on the market today, for distortion-free viewing from almost any angle. The 15-inch tablet monitor allows for on-the-spot annotation of any computer-based presentation; teachers can share ideas with the class by working and writing directly on the screen.

LifeSize, a supplier of high-definition video solutions, has partnered with Codian, which makes videoconferencing infrastructure and equipment, to offer a multipoint control unit (MCU) that can connect up to 20 different locations in a high-definition videoconference. The partnership addresses the needs of schools and other institutions that need to connect a large number of locations simultaneously, the companies said.

NEC Solutions of America demonstrated six new digital projectors that it says give users more bang for their buck while still maintaining high quality and reliability. The company has refreshed its VT, LT, and WT series of projectors, and the VT series is most apt for schools looking for a projector that is bright, easy to operate, and fits within their budget, NEC said. The new VT37, NEC’s most affordable projector at an estimated street price of $795, features rapid startup and shutdown capabilities, up to 4,000 hours of lamp life, 1,500 lumens, and an updated remote control.

Optoma announced its micro-portable, XGA-quality EP729 DLP projector, which the company claims is the lightest and brightest (2.2 pounds, 1,600 lumens) in the micro-portable category. The EP729 features a letter-size footprint, up to 4,000 hours of lamp life, and a remote mouse control with freeze, hide, and laser pointer capabilities and is HDTV-ready.

Panasonic introduced two new large-screen plasma displays, a 37-inch model and a 42-inch model. The new models feature improved brightness, refined aesthetics, and additional elements designed to make customization easier. Enhancements include a 20-percent increase in peak brightness; hidden touch controls; an advanced Picture-in-Picture mode that displays a full-screen PC image with a video overlay; and a new system monitoring function that remotely monitors plasma functions (such as on/off or slot-in-use indicator) via a RS-232C port.

Philips Electronics unveiled several new HDTV-compatible LCD and plasma flat-panel displays ranging in size from 30 to 50 inches. The devices feature low power consumption for a lower cost of ownership and a rugged metal enclosure to extend their product life. They’re also compatible with Philips’ AdtraXion digital signage solutions, which can display anything from advertisements and promotions to video and multimedia presentations.

Serious Magic previewed a brand-new software program that is a companion to Microsoft PowerPoint. Called Ovation, the software allows you to add a more professional look to existing PowerPoint presentations. Simply drag your presentation into Ovation and choose a theme, and the program creates a more visually compelling style to the text that is highly readable and enables you to call attention to your points more effectively through the use of graphics and other visual effects. Version 1.0 will be available in the fall, and subsequent versions will allow you to send and share presentations or post them to the web by saving them in Flash.

Sonic Foundry introduced a new series of Rich Media Recorders for capturing and publishing AV content without time-consuming, complex, and expensive authoring or post-production processes. The Mediasite 440 Series of appliances enables schools and other organizations to record all presentation audio, video, and supporting materials with the simple touch of a button, according to the company. The expanded Mediasite line now includes a newly designed mobile Mediasite ML440 Recorder, the rack-mountable Mediasite RL440 Recorder, and an entirely new addition: the Mediasite VL440 videoconferencing recorder, for capturing and distributing school videoconferences.

Sony announced that it has teamed up with Glowpoint to provide an “Instant Video Everywhere” (IVE) IP-based communications solution that enables users to conduct face-to-face telephone conversations anytime and anywhere there is broadband access. Sony’s IVE service takes video communication beyond the conference room and typical videoconferencing equipment and moves it to desktop or laptop computers or other video-enabled devices, the company said.

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