Convert Your Video Systems to Digital by Tom Sauter
Most of our clients are implementing, or preparing for, the implementation of digital video technologies for use in their telepresence, presentation, and conferencing facilities. Blu-Ray players, iPads, some cellular phones, and most newer laptops and PC’s now support digital video. Take a moment to look for a logo that reads “HDMI”, or a letter “P” inside a letter “D”, on your device. These digital video connectors, HDMI and DisplayPort, are multiplying rapidly.
Do you have to convert your systems right away? Not necessarily, but the first time the boss wants to show a PowerPoint from his Android phone you will. In the meantime, dedicate older PCs to your conferencing facilities and install the free Microsoft PowerPoint viewer on them. If security is a concern, don’t even bother connecting them to your network. Allow anyone who wants to show a powerpoint to plug in a thumb drive and have at it, or email their presentation to you so you can set it up for them. This is a short-term solution that Veraview can assist with while you plan your conversion.
There are also digital to analog converters on the market that are perfectly acceptable as an interim solution. Available for both laptop computers and iPads, these are stopgap measures at best. If you intend to show a movie from iTunes or need to view high resolution images, you will be disappointed. Copyright protection and processing limitations may result in poor quality images or no image at all. Still, this will get you by for an occasional PowerPoint presentation. Ask your account representative for product recommendations.
If you have a Polycom Telepresence system installed by Veraview, you are in luck. Polycom has a free application called People+ContentIP that requires only that your laptop and the telepresence device be connected to the same network. Even if you are not in a call, you can send the presentation from your device to the telepresence system, which conveniently displays it on screen for you. It even works wirelessly! Veraview can work with your IT department to set this up quickly and securely. There are a few steps and some end-user training involved, so keep this in your back pocket until you need it.
If you are installing a new system, Veraview will recommend an all-digital, hardwired solution. Crestron DigitalMedia is the industry leader and one of the trailblazers of the HDBaseT initiative. This new technology allows the transmission of uncompressed HD video, multichannel audio, network, and control – all over a single Category5e cable. HDBaseT is being adopted by many display manufacturers, and soon will support power to your display as well – again, all over a lan cable. Digital video has now permeated the entire market, and there are great solutions available that fit any project size or budget.
When it becomes necessary to upgrade an existing system, it is possible that many of your components will not need to be replaced at all. Newer displays, touchscreen controls, and audio systems are oftentimes compatible with digital video technology, mitigating the need to renovate an entire room that was built just 3 or 4 years ago. Veraview has successfully overlaid digital video on top of older systems, saving clients thousands in the process.