New developments in AV technology come into focus

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A new way to measure the brightness of colors; the ability to recognize inputs from any source, and not just a computer; and the move toward more lamp-free projectors are among the latest developments in audio-visual technology that have big implications for schools.

These developments—along with a wider range of formats that give school leaders new choices for deploying digital signage—were some of the key trends discussed at the 2012 InfoComm conference in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Measuring color brightness

When evaluating projectors, everyone looks at lumens as one of the primary indicators of image quality. But lumens only measure the brightness of white light, not colors. Until now, educators haven’t had a standard way to measure and compare color intensity.

That all changed in June with the introduction of the International Display Measurement Standard (IDMS). Developed by the Society for Information Display along with the International Committee for Display Metrology, the IDMS includes a uniform method for calculating what it calls “color light output.” This measurement gives school leaders an easy way to evaluate the color performance of various projectors.

“Twenty years ago, a typical projector presentation was text-based, usually plain black and white,” said Tanya Lippke, a principal at the market research firm TFCinfo. “Today, users demand high-quality photos, graphics, and video in their daily presentations, driving the demand for superior image quality.”

The new color performance metric applies to digital displays as well as projectors. Besides asking for color light output data when comparing different models, educators also can measure this for themselves with a simple light meter.

“A color light output specification should be of real benefit to … those responsible for projector selection, [making] it possible to properly compare different projector technologies,” said Art Feierman, president of “Many projectors produce a hefty amount of white lumens but come up very short when trying to produce rich, accurate colors.”

3LCD, an industry group of projector manufacturers that use a three-LCD-chip design, has long claimed that its red-green-blue chipset produces more vibrant colors than Texas Instruments’ DLP technology. At this year’s InfoComm, 3LCD put its claims to the test by letting visitors to its booth measure the color light output of high-end (7,000-plus lumens) 3LCD and DLP projectors.

When measured side-by-side using what 3LCD claimed was the same standard configuration, the output from the three-chip projectors measured a higher color intensity than that of comparable single-chip devices.

Inputs from multiple sources

Another development worth noting is the ability to control a projector and interact with projected content from a variety of input devices, which gives educators more flexibility when teaching.

Dennis Pierce

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