ICIA's Projection Shoot-Out® Tour Continues-Next Stop: Köln-Messe Platz

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  • Joe da Silva, Vice President of Marketing
  • Extron
  • E-mail: pr@extron.com
Anaheim, California (August 4, 1998) - Steve Somers, Extron Electronics' VP of Engineering and 1998 Shoot-Out Chairman recaps the Shoot-Out in Dallas, Texas and discusses what to look forward to in Köln, Germany for Photokina '98. Those who live, work or travel to Europe may have missed one of the professional AV industry's most popular events at the International Communications Industries Association's Inc.® (ICIA®) 1998 Projection Shoot-Out®. The Tenth Annual ICIA Projection Shoot-Out was staged recently at the association's INFOCOMM International in Dallas, TX. The Shoot-Out is the world's only side-by-side comparison of video projectors and monitors which use the same signal. ICIA and its partner, Extron Electronics, will host the ICIA Projection Shoot-Out again at Photokina '98, September 16-21, 1998 in Köln, Germany. This year's ICIA Projection Shoot-Out at Photokina '98 is expected to be as large as the INFOCOMM event so be sure to visit this world-renowned event in hall 14. Starting in 1999, ICIA will launch INFOCOMM Europe marking the first time three ICIA Projection Shoot-Outs will be offered in three cities worldwide. These three Shoot-Outs can be seen at INFOCOMM International in Orlando, FL; INFOCOMM-Asia in Singapore; and INFOCOMM-Europe in Germany.

What to Expect

The mix of projection technology is relatively stable but the actual numbers of technology entrants is a direct indicator of the market trend. In 1996, CRT projectors dominated the event because the volume of projector sales nearly doubled. There were a smattering of DLP projectors in 1996, but the DLP presence has dramatically increased. The leading ICIA Projection Shoot-Out technology continues to be LCD units for their popularity with consumers. For the highest resolution, CRT projectors continue to deliver the top-end images along with ILA type technologies. ICIA added new resolution categories to expand the limits of display devices. The Shoot-Out in Photokina '98 will also provide these expanded categories. Each year there have been several individual resolution categories in which display manufacturers enter their product. With these fixed categories it is easy for a manufacturer to pick the projector's or monitor's sweet spot for the best image possible. At Photokina '98, viewers will see how the display devices really perform under varied resolutions in 4 different categories which impose more than one resolution. Those who attend the 1998 Shoot-Out will be able to see how different projectors and monitors perform under two different resolutions side by side with the same composite and/or HDTV signal input. Viewers will also see how devices such as LCD projectors will interpolate an image and how well projectors will react under these varied, but monitored, conditions.

New Resolution Categories

The new categories affect all display device groups including the front screen projectors, large venue projectors, and the self contained projectors and monitors. The resolutions will appear as follows:

-Front screen- All will receive PAL composite video input signal.
A. Composite PAL only
B. 640 x 480 -800 x 600
C. 800 x 600 - 1024 x 768
D. 1024 x 768 - 1280 x 1024
E. 1280 x 1024 - 1600 x 1200

-Large venue-All will receive PAL composite video and HDTV input signals.
A. 800 x 600 - 1024 x768
B. 1024 x 768 - 1280 x 1024

-Self contained (retros, monitors)- All will include PAL composite video input signal.
A. 640 x 480 - 800 x 600
B. 1024 x 768 - 1280 x 1024

Texas Recap

If you haven't been to the Shoot-Out since 1996, here's a recap of one of the largest audio-visual events ever presented. In Texas, there were 108 displays in addition to a combination of line doublers, line quadruplers, and scan converters which bring the total units up to 129. This is still a high number considering that the reconsolidation of categories (with each category having two RGB graphic resolution rates) modified the Shoot-Out to 4 categories instead of 5. Just as the LCD projectors have edged the tried-and-true CRT projectors toward the high resolution end of the arena, we see other technologies making appearances too. This year viewers saw the first reflective LCD projector in the Shoot-Out. As well, the first direct addressed ILA, or D-ILA, projectors were present amongst the LCD throng. The large venue area contained sixteen units showing some impressive imagery on 12 foot by 16 foot screens. The dual RGB graphics resolutions, implemented for the first time, provided very interesting results, and challenges, within each two resolution category. Image resizing is a significant processing operation that can be an important factor in selecting a projector, depending on the user's application. At the Shoot-Out, only one of the test patterns was animated so as to provide a particular challenge. In the selection of CRT projectors, the user should be concerned with purchasing a unit capable of a wide range of display resolutions. With fixed resolution projectors, one needs to be concerned with how it will perform at the specific resolutions of interest. Video processing methods vary widely among fixed resolution products. The lumens measurement exercise showed that most of the large venue projectors are making great strides toward producing colorimetry much closer to industry norms. The overall results of the lumens project were very interesting and are available on the ICIA web site (www.icia.org) if you want to take a look.

All Video is Not Equal

Another first for the Shoot-Out this year is that all video and HDTV materials were digitally mastered. In the past, HD material seen at the Shoot-Out was shown from an analog laser disc format. Since 1997, the NTSC material has been mastered from digital component (D1) format identical to that used in professional broadcast and production. This year, for the first time, the composite PAL video material for Photokina '98 is mastered from D1 format. The HDTV material is unique in that obtaining digital mastered material in the 1080i format is difficult at this time. There are only a handful of facilities in the entire country capable of providing the services to make this available. Some of the material came from HD Vision in Texas. This material was shot with a digital HD camera in native video format. The images from this piece on Texas were stunning. There are no conversion artifacts or compromises in this production. Between the professional formats coming into being through our new digital television standard and existing DVD, we have a new world of video quality ahead of us that is pure enjoyment- just like the first CD player that I listened to. For more information about the INFOCOMM International® Projection Shoot-Out® contact ICIA (International Communications Industries Association) at 703.273.7200 or Extron Electronics at 714.491.1500. ICIA is a not-for-profit organization that supports the audio-visual/presentation industry, providing cutting-edge education, training and certification through the Institute for Professional Development and four advanced schools - Installation, Rental, Design and the new ICIA/Sony Sales School. ICIA courses are stepping-stones to the prestigious Certified Technology Specialist designation - the industry's standard for professional achievement. ICIA also sponsors leading national and international expositions - INFOCOMM International® in the U.S. and INFOCOMM Asia™ in Singapore - and publishes Communications Industries Report and the annual Directory of Video, Multimedia and Audio-Visual Products.

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