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ProAV Roundup

Latest projectors, flat panel displays and much more By Gary Kayye, CTS

For the latest news and product views, here's a roundup of what's new in the ProAV market. In this edition of ProAV Roundup, read about a giveaway from HP, new projectors from Panasonic and Epson, Lightspeed Design Group's and InFocus's co-development of a new 3D projector, and much more.

HP Gives Wireless Freebies to 205 Schools
05 schools were the beneficiaries of HPs Technology for Teaching grant program. The grants, designed to equip teachers with HP wireless technology, totaled $8.5 million in products, cash and professional development. In all, 174 K-12 and 31 colleges in the U.S. received grants from the program, which is in its second of a three-year, $25 million commitment. 400 schools in total have benefited so far.

Among the K-12 applicants, preference was given to schools serving low-income students and projects including a math or science component. Teams of five teachers receive more than $35,000 worth of HP Tablet PCs, multimedia projectors, digital cameras, an HP Officejet All-in-One and a $500 stipend per teacher. Training is provided by the International Society for Technology in Education.

The professional development program will include customized learning opportunities, expert mentoring and participation in an online learning community to support teachers' innovative uses of technology.

The 31 higher education institutions received $2.3 million in cash and equipment. Recipients will use wireless technology to enhance student achievement in math, science, business and engineering courses. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for example, will use HP Tablet PCs, outfitted with global positioning system receivers and geographical information system software, in field-based earth science courses to gather data and test hypotheses in real time.

Many of you may assume that this is business that an AV dealer might have gotten had it not been for the freebies, right? Well, look at it this way, they will want to buy more they always do. When Apple gave elementary schools free Macs in the late 1980s, look what happened. Just about every elementary school in the world uses Apple computers still today. So, this will eventually mean more business. 


New Panasonic Portables Adjust Brightness According to Ambient Light
In a move that is popular in the consumer world with plasma and LCD displays, Panasonic has a new series of micro-portable projectors (4.9 lbs) that actually have light sensors to detect the ambient light, and then adjust the brightness accordingly. They bump up the ANSI lumens quite a bit when in a bright room. Here's a rundown on the models:

    * The PT-LB20NTU is specified at 2000 ANSI lumens and XGA resolution with WiFi, $2,999
    * The PT-LB20U is specified at 2000 ANSI lumens and XGA resolution, $2,299
    * The PT-LB20VU is specified at 1600 lumens with XGA resolution, $1,999
    * The PT-LB20SU is specified at 1600 lumens with SVGA resolution, $1,699

The Daylight View technology increases the 1600 lumens to 2400 and the 2000 to 3000 in bright rooms. It also provides white balance adjustment settings for both fluorescent and incandescent lamps to match the room lighting.

Also of note is that in Multi Live mode, a single PT-LB20NTU can receive data from up to 16 PCs and display their images simultaneously on its multi-window screen. The projection style can be selected from either four individual Windows, Index Style (four thumbnails with one large image), or Extended Index (16 thumbnails on the entire screen). It is also possible to send images from a single PC to up to eight PT-LB20NTUs.

This is a good idea as it allows Panasonic to stand out as a differentiator in a market full of me-toos. However, I expect everyone will have this feature by year's end.

Epson Marketing Crossover 1600-Lumen Projector for $899
Epson is targeting both home and office with the new PowerLite S3 3-LCD projector. It is specified at 1,600 ANSI lumens, SVGA (800x600) resolution and 500:1 contrast ratio. The announcement said the price is $899 but the website says $944 so, well take $899. It weighs 5.6 pounds.

Epson is boasting a fast-on feature of just five seconds, and automatic signal detection, so that the projector recognizes when a cable is plugged in. It also has the Instant Off that eliminates delays after you turn the projector off, a feature now becoming popular among manufactures.


Lightspeed, InFocus Develop Stereoscopic Projector
Lightspeed Design Group and InFocus announced the co-development of a new 3D projector for offices, labs, boardrooms, CAD offices, game rooms and anywhere else stereoscopic images are needed or desired. The DLP InFocus DepthQ is a 120hz, DLP projector with a single lens weighing 6.8 pounds. It allows real-time projection of stereo 3D CAD designs, as an example of its capabilities (and CAD software company SolidWorks and others now support stereoscopic 3D).

The DepthQ is specified up to 1,600 ANSI lumens, and full on/off contrast ratio of 2000:1.

MSRP is $3,495.


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