ProLight & Sound 2017 Round-Up

Absen was showing the M series of LEDs that we saw at ISE which was being shown with processing from Brompton Technology of the UK. The company told us that the M series has been selling very well, with 800 m² sold in the UK, Spain and France in just four months. Absen believes this is because of the high quality with good pricing balance. Features such as the storage of calibration details alongside the LEDs so that modules can be hot swapped with no need for calibration. The company has also developed flight cases that are designed to optimally fit into European-sized trucks.

Alfalite of Spain told us that it continues to gain advantages by actually manufacturing LED displays in Europe, but said that there was no doubt that the market is getting more competitive. The new Litepix Curve cabinet is available for indoor (1,200 cd/m² – 1,300 cd/m²) or outdoor (6,000 cd/m²) and able to be adjusted ±15º for concave and convex configurations. A 2.9mm pitch version of the firm’s Litepix indoor display will be available at the end of April and will have 1,200 cd/m² of output, or 1,100 cd/m² for a lower cost version.

Alfalite Litepix curveThe Alfalite Litepix curve cabinet for indoor or outdoor use. Image:Meko

AV Stumpfl screenAV Stumpfl is a supplier of the items around projectors and displays – servers at one side and screens at the other. We heard from others at the show that the company is, by a long way, the largest supplier of portable projection screens for A/V and rental in Europe. The company was showing its latest design which uses buttons or clips to stretch the screen. The firm told us that it offers the option as some users “don’t like the last two buttons”.

AV Stumpfl Wings Server

AV Stumpfl was also showing the latest iteration of its Wings Engine server for retail, which it told us is really, really, really robust. Equipment in the staging and rental segments often gets abused, so a lot of engineering is included to make sure that the server survives. The company told us that the touch screen is a particularly popular feature as it allows rapid manipulation of the timelines event set-ups.

Christie was at the show with its latest Apex LED display – the demo unit with 1.6mm having been built into a flight case so that it doesn’t need re-assembly and alignment for each show that the firm attends. The company was also showing its narrow wall video wall LCD displays. (Christie Extreme Series is for Video Walls)

Christie ProLight

CreateLED was showing its lightweight ‘ultraslim’ indoor installation LED products which had 1.9mm pitch. The 500 x 500mm cabinets weigh 9kg, so the weight is 36kg/m². Brightness of the displays is 800 cd/m² and the company is also developing 1.2mm and 0.9mm pitch solutions. We wondered if the 0.9mm might be CoB, but we heard that the technology is SMD – the ‘traditional’ technology. The company is trying hard to really focus on small pixel pitch, it told us. There was also an outdoor display with 3.9mm pitch and waterproof to IP65 and with 7,000 cd/m² of output. The display is for installation and is front and rear serviceable.

CreateLED Install LEDCreateLED’s installation LED weighs 36kg/m2 Image:Meko

Da-Lite was at the show to highlight its Fold Fast screens which it hopes will help it fight back against its big European competitor for portable projection screens, AV Stumpfl (which, apparently, dominates the segment). We reported in detail on the new design at Infocomm last year. (Da-Lite Introduces New Fast-Fold Screen Solution). The company told us that it has introduced a version which does not have a black border for those that like a ‘seamless’ look, but the approach does mean that very accurate alignment and set up is needed. The company also showed its rental ‘cart’ that can be disassembled very quickly for shipping and storage, but which can hold a flat panel display of up to 90kg at heights up to 1.90m.

Da Lite Fold FastThe Da Lite Fold Fast screen allows calibrated set up in cm steps. Image:Meko

Digital Projection was showing existing products but was highlighting its work with Vioso to support automatic mapping and stitching.

Digital Projection Vioso mappingDigital Projection is working with Vioso on automatic warp and blend. Image:Meko

ESDLumen is an LED maker that is from, you guessed it, Shenzen and has been in business since 2007. At the show it had two ranges on the display from its full range which goes from 1.5mm indoor to 20mm outdoor. The company told us that for rental, 3.9mm or 4.8mm is typical for outdoor events.

The company was showing its rental cabinets which are based on a 500 x 500 mm size and which is available with 2,500 cd/m² of brightness or 4,500 cd/m². The company was keen to highlight the easy changing of its PSU units.

ESDLumen RentalESDLumen’s rental cabinet has an easy swap PSU. Image:Meko

The company is developing its small pixel pitch LED cabinets which were being shown with 1.5mm pitch. The small pitch cabinets are 608mm x 342mm and are in 16:9 format. The cabinets are very cleanly designed for quick and easy assembly.

ESDLumen SPP CabinetESDLumen’s SPP cabinet is very clean and has a 16:9 format. Image:Meko

Eyevis was showing its range of products at this event which is important for the firm. A highlight was a new 85″ UltraHD display with 700 cd/m² that has already started shipping. The company also had its R/P-based tile products (like the Microtiles from Christie). The company is not heavily developing the technology, but continues to make and ship it, with a recent project for a Russian TV studio. The company also had a transparent OLED and told us that it still has a few left.

Gloshine had an unusual feature with a cabinet that has been designed to be used for indoor and outdoor use, but also can be used for flooring – a feature that makes the cabinets especially useful for rental companies that can optimise their inventory. The units on show had 3.91mm pitch, but 4.8mm or 5.9mm options are availble. For indoor use, the brightness is 1,000 to 1,200 cd/m² with more than 5,000 cd/m² available outdoor. The company told us that has already put the unit into production and has had a good reception. Features include a ‘no screw’ PSU.#

Gloshine floor LED

Gloshine Cabinet

Green Hippo was demonstrating a new projection mapping technology. The company has designed a system that uses fibre optic-based sensors that are mounted on the target surface. Projecting a sequence of structured light allows the software to work out the positions of the sensors and then warp the projection image to align and map the image on the surface automatically. The company was also showing how its Notch 3D software could be used to create live 3D presentations with particle effects.

Green Hippo mappingGreen Hippo mapping software aligns automatically, we have marked the optical sensors. Image:Meko

Infiled of China was showing a 1.5mm pitch video wall for fixed installation and can be serviced from the front or the back and the design supports PSU and signal line redundancy. The cabinet is an 8:9 aspect ratio (320 x 360) so two can be used together to create a 16:9 aspect ratio. The panels will start shipping around the time of Infocomm.

Infiled indoorInfiled showed a new indoor display at 1.5mm pitch. Image:Meko

Infiled also has genuinely curved cabinets that use a screw mechanism on the back to create concave or convex configurations. The new units have a pitch of 2.9mm but others will be available and the cabinets are built around flexible PCBs. The angle of curvature can reach ±20º. The rental version should be available for shipment in Q2 of this year.

Infiled curved displaysInfiled’s curved displays are built on flexible PCBs. Image:Meko

Kinglight of Shenzen started by showing us its installation product which uses very thin modules that can be extracted using magnets for front service. The company told us that it is aiming at education and meeting rooms (so we weren’t sure why Prolight & Sound was a good show!). The display on show was a 2.5mm design with 1,000 cd/m² although other specifications are available. The company also develops outdoor product and told us that it can supply black LED type displays from 1.8mm to 3.0mm pitch. Kinglight is developing CoB technology with 1.2mm pitch. The company has developed technologies to pot the LEDs that help produce a more diffuse image to reduce moiré.

Kinglight magnetic moduleKinglight’s modules can be taken out with magnetic tools. Image:Meko

Lang Academy was at the show to promote its training services.

LEDitGo is a German company that develops LED displays which are made in China. The company has an unusual business model. It has around 40 partner clients across Europe and the deal is that they hold stock of LED cabinets that are made available for direct rental to users, but are also available to others in the network to cross-rent on a wholesale basis. This can mean double the rental time of inventory and makes the business more profitable. To make this work, the modules are very standardised so that inventory from different suppliers can be mixed and matched easily. A range of LED pitches is available from 1.5mm indoor to 20mm outdoor. The company is also developing 1.9mm floor LEDs which will be available in the Autumn.

LEDKing is from Shenzen, China, and was at Prolight and Sound for the fourth time. The company told us that one of its key advantages is that it encapsulates the LED chips that it uses. As well as the rental and staging market, the company also sells into fixed installation and produces indoor and outdoor product. LEDKing told us that it is very flexible to customer requirements and said that having its own LEDs meant it could achieve better quality control. At the event it was promoting its 2.8mm product which it sees as the optimum solution for rental at the moment.

Harman had a big booth with a range of audio and lighting including a range of LED displays under the Martin brand. The company has been supplying LED displays since 2006 but admitted that the competitive nature of the market makes it hard to develop sales just for the LEDs. However, the company has a wide range of decorative LEDs and lights that can be combined with the LED displays and so can offer a complete solution that can help. On the booth were 1000 x 500 cabinets using standard or black LEDs, depending on whether brightness or contrast is the priority.

Harman Martin 5mmHarman showed this 5mm Martin black/regular LED display. Image:Meko

Novastar of China was at the show to demonstrate its LED controllers – it claims a global market share of more than 50% and is represented in Germany by LEDCon (Ledcon Develops Curved LED). It had a new UltraHD controller, the MCTRL4K which supports 60Hz performance and a feature of the controller is that the controller can support output using optical fibre which makes connectivity much simpler than using multiple ethernet connections. The controller has a DP1.2 input, an HDMI 2.0 and dual DVI channels. The controller is in mass production now and costs around $4,500.

Nova Star UHD controllerNovastar’s UHD controller can use dual optical fibre connectors (bottom right) as an alternative to all the ethernet connectors. Image:Meko

There is also a controller that can support 4k x 1k resolutions at 60Hz and can also support ‘free rotation’ for creative designs. The controller has DisplayPort and SDI inputs and will start shipping at the end of April for $2,300.

Novastar MCTR5Novastar’s MCTR5 supports free rotation of displays. Image:Meko

Picturall is from Finland and specialises in high resolution servers – it was showing an 8K uncompressed video display shown using four UltraHD 60fps displays. The company’s servers are often used to create very large and very high resolution and the company told us that the difficulty is really in managing the I/O of mapping multiple live video sources onto the display surface. The company was showing an UltraHD image (uncompressed) overlaid on an 8K image and coming from a DP 1.2 input (it can also support HDMI 2.0). The company’s servers have been used in China and one system runs a 170m x 20m LED wall with 16256 x 1792 resolution. The company has worked with Leyard and others.

ROE of China had a focus on the advantages of black LEDs. The company was the first to talk to us about this topic at last year’s event and this year it had set up a display with a very bright lamp with adjustable output. The firm was able to show how in low ambient, both a display with black LEDs and one with regular LEDs looked good. However, turning up the lamp showed a big degradation in the contrast of the regular LED display. The company was also showing its Carbon series which are for indoor or outdoor use and is currently in 8mm – used for a recent U2 tour. There was also a new touring dolly to help to speed assembly and logistics. Cabinets can be loaded two at a time to speed packing.

ROE Black LEDROE had black (bottom) and regular (top) LEDs and showed it with variable lighting – dark (left) and bright (right). Images:Meko

ROE BarsThe company also showed new LED bar displays which use a black diffuser to get high contrast and so ‘off is off’. Dual LEDs are installed to make the illumination very even. The output is 7,000 cd/m² and the modules are certified to IP65. Lengths available are 30/ 60/ 90 and 120 cm and the units can be rotated, with the controller automatically taking this account for simple image mapping.

TDC Polska is from Poland and specialises in LEDs for video applications sold under the SCEO brand. A speciality is a diffusing technology that eliminates, the company said, moiré and the units are sold mainly into TV studios. Successful projects include an LED wall for ZDF in Germany and also for LRT in Lithuania as well as NRK in Norway. The company said that it is able to supply displays with pitches down to 0.9mm, but that the high prices below 1.6mm make the technology too expensive for most customers. As well as broadcast appliactions, TDC has success with public tenders for LED displays and builds its cabinets using a 16:9 format to make it easier to match broadcast resolutions. The company also can make outdoor displays up to 10mm pitch and has had success in Poland and both Romania and Serbia. The firm told us that it sold 1,100m² for a cultural centre in its home country.

We last reported on Shenzen Uniview from the Gitex show in Dubai in 2015. At ProLight, it highlighted that it can supply a wide range of different LEDs including a design that can be used for interactive floors. The company also has a genuinely flexible LED display that can be truly curved rather than just set at different angles.

Uniview interactive floorUniview has an interactive floor LED system. Image:Meko

Uniview curved displayUniview has a genuinesly curved display LED system. Image:Meko