Lots to See at Infocomm 2017

By Bob Raikes
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Infocomm was considered a success this year by the organisers, with 44,077 attendees, up 14% on the last event in Orlando in 2015 and up 13% on the event in Las Vegas last year. There were 950 exhibiting companies with more than 545,000 sq ft (50,600 m2).

There were some obvious big trends. Of course, there were a lot of LED suppliers from China and we ‘cherry-picked’ those that we visited. Although Leyard had a small area of 0.7mm pitch LEDs, there is not a big push towards smaller pitch at the moment, because of the restrictions on supply. At the show we heard from a display maker (who should know!) that the supply of 0.9 mm pitch LEDs is just 30 million or so per month at the moment, which severely limits the area that can be sold and that factor keeps the pricing high.

Chip on Board technology is developing and Cedar Electronics of China joined in this time with Silicon Core, DeepSky and Sony who all had the technology at ISE. Sony remains the most impressive LED product visually, but SiliconCore has new processing that allows higher dynamic range and really makes the screen have great impact.

Looking at projection, Ultra Short Throw (UST) was the topic everywhere, with a number of companies developing shift mechanisms (Barco’s was especially impressive) that move the projector out of the line of view. That means that projectors can be easily hidden away for live events or in installation. Elsewhere, Dell, DNP and others had neat cabinets for hiding away the projectors very neatly.

TI has clearly re-priced its UltraHD chip. Although this uses modulation to achieve the full resolution (as Chris has written about in a recent white paper Insight Reviews 4K/UltraHD In Projection) it does seem to give good results and prices for the new products is very competitive indeed – projection may be fighting back. Combining this development with the improvements and adoption of laser/phosphor technology is really making projection a very attractive option in many cases.

Transparent displays were something of a topic, with a good number of companies showing ‘transparent’ LED displays, that is with the LEDs mounted on strips. LG formally introduced its LED film product in the US and we expect this to prove popular as it provides a quick way to brighten up existing glass installations. We also were intrigued by the transparent display shown by Sun Innovations, although this has not moved on hugely since SID a couple of years ago.

Still on display hardware, there were no public demonstrations of video wall displays with narrower bezels and I don’t think I saw any real innovation in LCD since ISE.

Collaboration products were everywhere and InFocus launched a very low cost cloud-conferencing system that could have quite an impact. Meanwhile, Intel’s Unite platform is gaining support. We would have liked more time to dig deeper, but in the end, this is a short show with a lot to see!

Next year’s event is in Las Vegas again, from June 2nd to 8th.

Infocomm 2017