SID’s Done – time for Infocomm

By Bob Raikes
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Phew, that was a busy week. We finished the mammoth SID report, which was a relief and thanks to all of the team that contributed. (We had a problem with some of the mailouts this week, so if you didn’t get a note about the report, it is available for download on the website http://tinyurl.com/yctkqcza. It’s a big file, so download is more reliable than email!)

We finished just in time for Infocomm – I’m flying off in a couple of days. That should be interesting and a distinct contrast to this week’s news which is so much about OLED, VR and smartphones. Next week will be all about big LEDs and big LCDs as well as projection. The Display Summit has moved away from Infocomm which, for me, is a disappointment as I got a lot from it and won’t be able to attend with the revised date because of IFA and IBC. Surprisingly, there may well be some new desktop monitors with at least LG showing some new ones.

I was thinking about the decline of Infocomm in importance – it is widely viewed as less important than ISE these days. That would have been unthinkable some ten years ago when it was very clearly the top event in the A/V world. One of the key attractions in the old days was the shoot out. For those that didn’t attend, the format was a huge space where makers could show off their products using identical content to their competitors. It was a real eye opener. As a salesman more than thirty years ago, I learned that we humans have almost no detailed visual memory, when I saw the difference between side-by-side CRT monitor tests or those where the same screens were not viewable at the same time. It was also an eye-opener for hardware reviewers from magazines that I trained when we helped the ‘Monitors Matter’ campaign to train editors to do a better job of reviewing monitors.

infocomm logoWhen Infocomm held the shoot outs, we would hear all year about different projection technologies, with claim and counter-claim. However, an hour or two spent looking around the shoot-out quickly helped us to understand which device looked brighter or more accurate, or more uniform or with better colour and grey scales. It would be great to see the return of the shoot-out, which might make Infocomm much more fun and useful. On the other hand, looking back through my reports, in 2001 we said that there was less and less difference between the products and so it was of reducing value, even then. So perhaps Infocomm needs something else to reinvigorate it.

Although SID was all about OLED, I don’t expect to hear much about it at Infocomm, except from LG. I have heard from the company that it has received a great response to its commercial OLEDs from high end and prestige locations, but the technology remains at a disadvantage in most commercial applications. However, I do expect to hear a lot about LED. As we report this week, SiliconCore has new driving technology and after the CinemaCon announcement from Samsung, we expect more from that company on LED. Unfortunately, we won’t have as many writers at the show as last year, but we’ll do our best to cover the important topics.

Bob