Midwich Technology Exposed Event 2017

Each year, Midwich of the UK, which is the most important UK A/V distributor, holds an event, Technology Exposed, for its resellers and end users to attend that is supported by many of its brands. We try to get along, as it’s usually close by our offices (while the Midwich is a long way away!) and it’s a good chance to catch up on A/V, several months after Infocomm and before ISE. This year, the event was again held at the Mercedes Benz World location, almost next door to LG in the UK. It’s quite a good location (although traffic seemed to be an issue for some) and we’re sure there are plenty of resellers that want to make the most of the ‘driving experiences’ that are arranged during the day.

This is what we saw…

We reported on the new AG Neovo monitors that are aimed at the medical markets a couple of weeks ago (AG Neovo Debuts MX-Series and MD-Series Medical Displays and it was showing those new models at the event. The company told us that it has done a lot of work with suppliers of medical carts to ensure that the units can run from the power supplies that are typically available on these carts.

The company was also showing new totem displays that are available in 32″, 43″, 55″ and 65″ and have been developed with a local enclosure maker in the Netherlands. Touch is an option and the totems can be supplied with or without a dedicated signage player. An unusual and completely new product (it arrived that morning) is a 10.1″ Totem-style display with a signage player integrated. AG Neovo is also continuing to develop UltraHD products for security applications.

AG Neovo 10 inch totemAG Neovo showed this 10″ totem! Image:Meko

BenQ was showing its large venue L/P projector that has 8000 Ansi lumens of output, the LU9715, which has 1920 x 1200 resolution, but has been around for some time. The company has a new projector, the LK970, that is ‘extremely similar’ to the Casio 5,000 Ansi lumen product and is selling for £7,000 in the UK ($9,300), less than when the product was previewed at ISE. Midwich has an exclusive on the higher end of the BenQ projection range, so has dedicated sales staff with demonstration units to promote the range in the UK. The company told us that it will have a 10K Ansi lumen version of the projector before long.

Brightsign was showing the Beacon technology that it introduced at Infocomm. The system uses small USB ‘pucks’ and because the app and beacons are bi-directional, they can be used for the remote control of the display.

Brightsign beaconThe Brightsign beacon puck is at the top right. Image:Meko

Canon was showing its projector in a special ‘whiteboard’ table that can integrate a UST projector from TeamMate. The WorksZone table is already configured with the connectivity needed for Canon’s WUX450ST and WUX500ST short throw projectors. The surface of the table that we looked at is a whiteboard surface so that users can sketch and write directly onto it. The concept has apparently proved popular with universities and higher education establishments.

Canon dedicated tableCanon had a dedicated table that is pre-wired for its UST projector. Image:Meko

Casio had the XJ-L8300HN 5,000 Ansi Lumen UltraHD DLP projector that we reported on from Infocomm and, unusually for Casio, uses a L/P light source rather than the LED/Laser hybrid. There has been a change in pricing since Infocomm, when it was said to cost $12,000, but the company told us that it now costs £6,499 in the UK ($8,640).

similar casio benqThe Casio and BenQ Units were very similar. Image:Meko – click for higher resolution

ELO was showing some of its latest touch displays. The company highlighted the extent to which PCap is now important and reinforced the messaging around its pivot to offer complete solutions rather than just touch displays. The firm has a deal with a provider for a car configurator that will take 500 units in the first phase. At the event, the company confirmed that it was happy to publish the name of the end user and integrator, but by the time we got back to the office, it had changed its mind! The company told us that its 5502 55″ unit has been updated to include HDMI and use PCap technology rather than infrared.

Epson was highlighting the EB-1470Ui UST 3LCD projector which has 1920 x 1200 resolution and outputs 4,000 Ansi lumens (and 4,000 CLO) and is the first laser phosphor-based UST projector that the company has produced. It is designed for display diagonals from 70″ to 100″ (although it can go up to 130″) and was being shown in use with the included infrared curtain touch system. Staff told us that pricing was TBC. The EB-700U is the same projector, but without the interactivity and the unit is listed at £2463 + tax on the company’s website. ($3,275). Both units have five year and 20,000 hour warranties. The EB-700U is rated for 24/7 operation and has three HDMI inputs.

Epson interactive projectorEpson’s interactive projector uses an infrared curtain sensor. Image:Meko

Hitachi was showing the LP-WU6500 5K 1920 x 1200 projector which uses a single 0.67″ DLP and has both H & V shift along with both HDMI and HDBaseT. The unit will start shipping in November and will cost £2,300 ($3,060) plus tax.

Iiyama had three of its displays set up as a driving simulator, and was highlighting its G-Master monitors for gamers.

Iiyama gaming monitorsIiyama focused on its gaming monitors

Leyard/Planar was showing it 1.2mm touch-enable LEDs in a monolithic display configuration and told us that it is starting to see some interest for use in meeting rooms.

Leyard Planar touch

LG Display had the 65″ OLED video wall panels that it has been showing for some time, and which are now shipping. Staff pointed out to us how the very thin display means that the bezels of the displays can be overlapped to half the effective bezel width. We’ve adjusted the brightness of this image from the displays quite a lot so that the overlap is more obvious

LG bezel overlapLG showed how the bezel can overlap in its very thin OLED video wall displays. Image:Meko

Next we looked at a new ‘stretched’ display, an 88″ which has 3840 x 1080 resolution and can be thought of as like two of its 86″ units, side by side, or dual 43″ FullHD panels, side by side, giving 32:9 aspect ratio. Brightness is 500 cd/m² and there will be a 700 cd/m² version later. The unit is a smart display supporting WebOS and has 8GB of storage. It will cost around £8,500 ($11,300).

Also at the event was a new 75″ high brightness LCD that has 3,000 cd/m² of output and replaces the 72″ high brightness version that was previously supplied. Staff told us that the panel used is just FullHD, but this allows better efficiency and the power consumption is, apparently, just 360W, which is low for that level of brightness. The company told us that it can also supply the unit in an external housing that has been developed with LG-MRI. In the UK, a number of these displays have apparently been installed outside Tesco stores. (In checking the details, we were told that what was shown was the 75XF3C, which is a 3,000 cd/m² display with UltraHD and using 750W!)

LG Stretch DisplaysLG had a new stretched display (top right) Image:Meko

NEC was the first company we spoke to. On display was the EX341R curved monitor, shown at ISE and the new “C” series of commercial LFDs that are shipping at the end of the year in Europe and that were previewed at the NEC Solution Showcase (NEC Emphasises Solutions) There were projectors as well and we looked at the P502HL-2, which is very similar to the P502HL, but has “better colour”. We asked if this was quantifiable, but apparently not! The company also had the PX1004UL Laser phosphor projector, using a UST lens to project onto the ceiling, highlighting the flexibility of projection. There weren’t any new products, but the company told us that there would be a new 10K UltraHD unit at ISE as well as new very high brightness direct laser products.

In the interactive area, there was an 84″ Infinity display and the company was showing the new Mosaic version of DisplayNote that we reported on at Infocomm, and which adds collaboration features including video conferencing. ISE 2017 Round-up

Panasonic was showing a range of products including the latest version of its Space Player projector for retail and mapping applications. However, the company didn’t have anything that we haven’t previously reported.

Peerless had a presence at the event and told us that it was highlighting a new trolley with height adjustment that will be officially released, shortly.

Philips was showing its public displays and was at the event with TeamViewer, the software company. The reason for this is that the companies are collaborating on ensuring the support of TeamViewer on Philips Android-based displays to allow the control and diagnostics of remote displays, including even powering the displays down.

Samsung is an important supplier for Midwich and the firm had a presence at the event, but was not showing any new products. Staff confirmed the news story from the US last week, that the company is discontinuing its small signage displays (10.1″ and 21.5″) in Europe as well as in the US. That was frustrating for local staff that have a customer that would like to buy 10,000 next year. The company is working with Midwich to decide how to meet as much of this requirement as possible. The company showed us its MagicInfo Remote application which allows the remote control and monitoring of displays anywhere in the world. That means an option to check what is happening without the need to send someone onto site every time there is a problem. The software costs around £50 ($66) per display and Samsung expects resellers to use the technology to offer complete remote management and monitoring services.

Absen and Samsung are the main LED brands for PSCo, the division of Midwich that sells LEDs and we heard at the show that it now has several million pounds worth of inventory of 1.5mm, 2.0mm and 2.5mm LED. The company acts as a wholesale rental company, renting to integrators and retail rental companies. Samsung has now shipped ‘four or five’ LED installations and has a dedicated Business Development Manager including the Samsung Experience Store on London’s Oxford St and Land Securities. The company told us that there is a large display in a pub in Dublin.

Sharp had quite a few people at the event, partly because the company was presenting a new division – a furniture company that develops special furniture for meetings and huddle spaces. There were a number of these around the event. We tried one and it was quite effective at helping to create a more quiet space for video conferencing and remote meetings. The company has also developed a 40″ display for huddle spaces.

Sharp huddleroom furniture

Smart is working closely with Midwich to particularly develop the enterprise side of the business. The company showed us its latest displays which can now support screen casting from Airplay, Googlecast and Miracast at 30fps. The company has its 2000 series (non-touch) and the 6000 (65″ and 75″) and 7000 Series, which is the top of the range. Features include presence detection and automatic security features that can ensure that browsing history, passwords etc are automatically cleared. Smart has found that 80% of huddle rooms have dual video sources and so it has put in some special features such as a preview mode that shows a less than full-screen image from each input to make switching easier and clearer. The display also supports PIP functions. There are two USB ports that can be linked to video sources – effectively a kind of KVM. The largest size is 75″ now, but later there will also be an 86″ unit.

Other recent developments include a one year advance replacement warranty and the new units start to ship in January.

At the top of the range, Smart is using what it calls HyprTouch (Hybrid Precision Touch) which the company described as ‘even better than in-glass touch’ (although at BETT, the company told us that it is actually the FlatFrog InGlass technology!)

Smart Pro series 800Smart showed its Pro series. Click for higher resolution. Image:Meko

Sony was showing its first professional Bravia Pro OLED display. The 65″ unit is based on the A1 TV set and includes speakers. It has a three year warranty and staff told us that the usage rating is 17/7. Pricing has been set at €5,225.

Sony bravia OLEDSony’s Bravia OLED for B2B is based on the Sony 65A1 TV. Image:Meko