These 10 AV products stood out at the 2014 InfoComm conference in Las Vegas last week

Built for live broadcasting, the Blackmagic Studio Camera features a compact size—with a large viewing area.

We’ve already described some of the key AV trends to emerge from InfoComm 2014, North America’s largest AV trade show. Now, here are 10 AV products on display at InfoComm that caught our eye.

Dante Via makes it easy to create an audio network

Audinate’s Dante is an industry-leading digital audio networking technology. It’s a combination of software, hardware, and networking protocols that have been built into the AV products of more than 150 manufacturers to deliver uncompressed, multi-channel audio over an Ethernet network, Audinate says.

At InfoComm 2014, the company announced new software called Dante Via, which turns any Windows or Mac computer into a networked audio input/output device. With Dante Via, you can now build a complete, stand-alone audio system of networked PCs or Macs for less than $850 per device—without the need for any dedicated, Dante-enabled hardware to be present on the network.

Dante Via greatly expands AV capabilities, Audinate says—freeing users from the constraints of short-reach, point-to-point analog and USB cables. The software will be available in December.

“Dante Via opens up endless imaginative use cases,” said Gary Southwell, Audinate’s vice president of product management. “Audio from USB microphones, or any audio interface, can be routed to other rooms in the building. Dante Via extends networked audio from facilities like classrooms … to [other] rooms. You can even monitor individual streams from the network for music instruction.”

A live broadcast HD camera for under $2,000

Blackmagic Design showcased its Blackmagic Studio Camera, a new camera designed specifically for live video production and available in 1080 HD and Ultra HD models starting at just $1,995.

Students often have to use cameras designed for general video production when doing live work, Blackmagic says—and that means they don’t get features that live production demands, such as a large viewfinder, talkback, optical fiber, and a super strong metal design.

Inside a compact, tough, and lightweight magnesium alloy body, the Blackmagic Studio Camera features a large, 10-inch viewfinder; a four-hour battery; talkback, tally indicators, phantom powered microphone connections, and built-in optical fiber and SDI connections that let users connect to a live production switcher with a single cable.

The viewfinder’s LCD screen is extremely bright and has a wide viewing angle, allowing it to be used even in direct sunlight. The camera also includes a fold-up sun shade, making it perfect for outdoor use—and the sun shade also acts as a privacy shield. The built-in talkback allows the camera operator and crew to communicate at all times during production.

The Blackmagic Studio Camera HD costs $1,995, and the Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K (the Ultra HD version) costs $2,995.

RapidRun Optical simplifies AV cabling

RapidRun, from C2G, is a modular AV cabling system that consists of a runner cable and a choice of connectors. It’s designed to evolve with your AV components, so that when your equipment changes, you don’t have to rerun the cabling—all you have to do is snap on different connectors.

At InfoComm 2014, C2G introduced the latest version of its RapidRun line, RapidRun Optical. It’s the fastest and strongest RapidRun product yet, the company says—capable of transmitting high-definition digital AV signals up to 1,000 feet.

RapidRun Optical features 18Gbps of bandwidth, a diameter of just a half inch, and OFNP (plenum) rating—offering sufficient bandwidth to serve the AV needs of schools for years to come. Its fiber-based construction prevents electromagnetic and radio frequency interference, allowing it to be used in sensitive environments as well.

RapidRun Optical is available for pre-ordering now and is expected to ship July 18th, C2G said.

LG Chromebase combines a Chrome computer and an HD display

LG’s new Chromebase is a 21-inch, high-definition display that functions as a Chrome-based computer. It also can serve as a stand-alone HD monitor, thanks to an HDMI port on the back of the system. At $349, it offers a good value for Google Apps-based schools looking to deploy computers in labs or on teachers’ desktops.

The Chromebase features 2GB of RAM, 16GB of Flash storage, and a keyboard, mouse, and webcam. Its 21-inch screen is much bigger than that of Chromebooks, and it offers both Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity.

LynTec offers simple power control of AV and lighting systems

LynTec’s Remote Power Control Panels allow schools to manage, monitor, and protect their AV and lighting systems right at the power source, the company says—eliminating unnecessary power draw and protecting against power surges.

Today’s intelligent lighting and AV systems often remain powered even after being turned off, LynTec says—and its products can help schools eliminate this “phantom” power use.

The company offers systems for adding circuit control to an existing breaker panel, as well as controlling circuits for any panel through a browser-based interface. LynTec also offers a mobile power cart solution that enables schools to control power in mobile, remote, or temporary audio and lighting set-ups.

Stream high-definition video wirelessly to a projector

Peerless-AV demonstrated a Wireless Short Throw Projector AV System, for streaming HD video to a projector when cabling is inconvenient.

The system includes a projector mount with a built-in wireless receiver and a 50-watt audio amplifier. It streams sound and full HD 1080p content wirelessly up to 131 feet from as many as five AV input devices, eliminating the expense and inconvenience of being tethered to hard-wired connections and enabling users to switch AV sources without plugging and unplugging equipment, the company says.

Peerless-AV also showcased its series of full-service wall mounts for flat-panel video displays, which feature a quick-release mechanism for popping out the screen—giving school staff easy access to the controls on the back of the display. The mounts include eight-way adjustable positioning and can accommodate a wide range of display sizes.

Revolabs wireless mics allow for high density with no signal interference

Revolabs Executive Elite four- and eight-channel wireless microphone systems are built to allow for a high number of microphones to be used at the same time in close proximity, without any signal interference.

Revolabs’ technology enables receivers in close proximity to synchronize automatically, allowing schools to deploy multiple receivers to optimize the number of available audio channels. By adjusting the audio settings, schools and other users can introduce as many as 44 microphones in a single area, the company says.

The Executive Elite line includes a choice of omni-directional, directional, gooseneck, and wearable microphones, all of which are rechargeable.

Ricoh ultra short-throw projector features a unique design

AVRicoh’s PJ WX4141N ultra short-throw projector features a unique design that gives schools a lot of flexibility in how they deploy it. The device has a footprint of only 10 inches by 4 inches, and its lens is angled so the projector can either stand straight up on a desk or table for portable use, or be mounted to a wall hanging upside down for a permanent installation.

The projector can cast an 80-inch image from less than 10 inches away from the wall. It features WXGA resolution, wireless networking capabilities, and doesn’t need calibration, Ricoh says. And it weighs less than seven pounds, so it’s easy to carry from room to room.

Ricoh also sells an interactive version with the same form factor (the PJ WX4141Ni). The interactive version retails for about $2,000, while the non-interactive model sells for less.

SMART kapp ‘disrupts’ the traditional dry-erase board

SMART Technologies has introduced a creative replacement for the dry-erase board. Called SMART kapp, it’s like a standard dry-erase board, on which users can write, draw, diagram, and brainstorm using an ink marker—but everything they write appears simultaneously on others’ digital devices and can be saved as a PDF or JPEG file.

“It’s time to disrupt the dry-erase board and bring it into the 21st century,” said Neil Graydon, CEO of SMART Technologies, as he demonstrated the new technology.

The product will ship this fall for $899. It consists of a 42-inch glass surface that hangs on a wall and plugs in, accompanied by an app installed on users’ devices. As a presenter is writing on the board, he or she is “writing to the cloud,” Graydon said, and anyone with a web browser can follow along in real time.

Available as a free download for iOS and Android users (with Windows mobile support coming soon), the SMART kapp app enables users to link their tablets or smart phones to a SMART kapp board with a scan of its unique QR code or a tap of its NFC tag. The app activates live web sharing, along with access to the snapshot library, PDF and JPEG saving and sharing, and Evernote—but the downside for schools is that only five users at a time are supported with the free app.

Later this year, SMART will launch subscription services within the app that open up advanced features for cloud collaboration. These will include live web sharing with PIN protection, a larger number of concurrent web viewers, and advanced search and index tools to get even more out of SMART kapp snapshots, the company said.

Visionary Solutions makes it easy to stream video across an IP network

Visionary Solutions showed a new product called PackeTV, a modular, end-to-end IP video and asset management system that enables secure, scheduled, and on-demand delivery of live and recorded video across an IP network.

With PackeTV, schools can easily and cost-effectively deliver HD or standard-definition video content to TVs, set-top boxes, computers, tablets, smart phones, and other IP-connected devices across a local or wide-area network, a Wi-Fi or cellular network, or the public internet, the company says. The open-standard system is compatible with a wide range of encoders, decoders, and other equipment, and its modular design allows schools to upgrade as their budget allows.

The full system includes PackeTV Portal, a web-based interface that controls the system, enabling users to create, manage, and schedule video assets for distribution across a network; PackeTV Player, a browser-based HD video player; and PackeTV Player Mobile, an integrated player for iPhones, iPads, and Android devices.

Separate modules also are available for the scheduled recording and archiving of video; searching, managing, and playback of archived video files; and more.

Follow Editorial Director Dennis Pierce on Twitter: @eSN_Dennis.

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