And, for years, we've joked that BOSE is "better sound through marketing."
But, now BOSE has joined forces with companies like JBL, Bosch, Shure, Yamaha and Peavey, albeit indirectly, with its new partnership with Audinate to license the company's Dante patented media networking technology. In case you've paid ZERO attention to the dozens of times we've written about and explained Audinate, it has patented the way that AV systems are connected and transport media over standard IT networks, calling it Dante. Over 80 companies have licensed it and it's a who's who in ProAV - besides all the above companies mentioned, it includes audio and video powerhouses like Extron, MediaMatrix, PreSonus, Soundcraft, Stewart Audio, Harman, Inter-M, Lectrosonics, Ashley, Digico and 70 other companies that have all decided to incorporate it as a networking AV standard. Dante is a killer technology - I stake my reputation on that as I've personally evaluated it.
Dante is built on IT standards, and is a complete media networking solution. Truth is (and this isn't marketing-speak), Dante delivers low-latency, tightly synchronized, sample-accurate playback, while simplifying installation and configuration of AV networks.
And, this BOSE deal means it will become a household name in a matter of time - much like THX did in the 1990s. Mark my words - May 22, 2013.
If you don't understand AV over a network, let me attempt to explain (with thanks to Audinate, technically):
In the old analog universe of sources (e.g., RCA line audio, composite video, etc), a key element of the system is that the logical and physical connections were one and the same. This means that most connections were point-to-point and individual cables represent each channel - sort of a "connect everything to a home-run switcher to manage all sources and switch them to the display or speakers" situation. Implementing a complex audio system required careful design that had to be undertaken in advance and a lot of converter, interface and standards boxes had to be used whenever one signal wasn't compatible with another. In other words, if you wanted to connect an s-video signal to a projector that only had component video inputs you'd have to convert that signal.
And, analog audio required a physical copper cable for routing signals, but these systems offer little flexibility to accommodate unplanned changes. Moving or adding equipment in a location will add significant costs as AV system integrators need to run separate conduits for signals of differing voltages and pull heavy copper wire through them. We all agree with that, right?
Well, digital media distribution significantly reduces implementation by separating the logical and physical connection attributes of the AV system. Thus, doing a digital network can offer significant costs saving in time and money, while providing better performance than analog wiring. Digital audio distribution eliminates masses of bulky, heavy, expensive and inflexible copper wires. Installation is made simple using digital networking; a single lightweight, inexpensive CAT5 cable can carry all the required inputs and outputs as digital audio data.
IP (Internet Protocol) over Ethernet is the most widely deployed approach to networking and represents the best available foundation technology for media networking. Cat5 cables, switches and other hardware components used to build such networks are mass-market items in the IT domain.
Audinate’s patent-pending Dante technology is a flexible Internet Protocol (IP) and Ethernet-based digital AV network technology that eliminates the many bulky cables needed to provide point-to-point wiring for analog AV installations.
With Dante, existing infrastructure can be used for high performance audio as well as for ordinary control, monitoring or business data traffic. Digital networks utilize standard Ethernet over IP offering high bandwidth capable of transporting hundreds of high quality channels over 100MBs or 1 Gigabit Ethernet.
Set-up and configuring the system is made easy as well, saving enormous installation costs and long term cost of ownership on a digital network. The physical connecting point is irrelevant: Audio signals can be made available anywhere and everywhere. Patching and routing now become logical functions configured in software, not via physical wired links.
Dante delivers a no hassle, self configuring, true plug-and-play digital audio network that uses standard Internet Protocols over 100Mb and/or Gigabit Ethernet. Dante technology distributes digital audio plus integrated control data with sub millisecond latency, sample-accurate playback synchronization, extreme reliability and high channel counts.
This may sound like a Dante commercial, but, no dice -- they aren't an advertiser or sponsor of rAVe! I am writing this because I believe in the technology AND KNOW it will become the default-audio standard for networking. Just you wait, the other manufacturers who haven't adopted it -- it will.
What about AVB? Audio Video Bridging (AVB) is a common name for the set of technical standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Audio Video Bridging Task Group of the IEEE 802.1 standards committee. The charter of this organization is to "provide the specifications that will allow time-synchronized low latency streaming services through IEEE 802 networks."
Well, guess what? Dante will integrate AVB protocols, so they'll be interchangeable. Audinate has announced that Dante will be AVB-compliant as these standards are ratified, and is a Promoter Member of AVnu, an industry group that seeks to promote these new standards. Add a comment
It’s easy - just send them to open a retirement account.
I did this yesterday, and realized that they talk just like we do - and it is an eye-opener.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Rollins. I understand you are interested in opening a retirement plan with us. Have you looked at our 401k options? I think our MM2 plan may interest you, it’s more liquid than our 599 series Roth and would replace your RRSP. It would also facilitate donations to your 501c3, plus it accommodates ETFs, and FDIC-insured CDs.”
Compare this to:
“So, Mr. Smith - I’ve looked at your conference room, and I think it’s time you updated the transmission system from VGA to HDMI. Of course, it’s important to stay HDCP compliant, and those old DAs will have to go, because they wont pass EDID information. While we’re at it, we need to update the 802.11 gateways to 802.11N for the IP control system. Tell me, is your router DHCP?”
Maybe I’ll just retire... if I can figure out how...
JRR Add a comment
Anyway, in this week's edition of The Cable Diaries, we're talking about one of the factors that is often the largest factor for those who are considering cutting cable: MONEY. You know, DOLLA DOLLA BILLS, y'all.
I mean, a big motivational factor for my husband and I is CERTAINLY getting rid of the awfulness that is "Schmime Schwarner Schmable" - but another and almost equally important factor is saving money.
My husband and I are set to bring a child into this world within the next three months and so saving our pennies is very important to us. But, will cutting cable REALLY save us that much money?
Now, I'm not a numbers person, but let's do the math here... together:
What we are paying CURRENTLY:
-Cable and internet: $135/month (and remember, the service is spotty AT BEST)
Monthly grand total for television viewing and entertainment privileges: $144/month (or $1,728/year)
If we cut cable, what we would / could feasibly pay:
-Hulu Plus: $8/month
-Amazon Prime: $79/year (or approximately $6.60/month)
-Internet: $40/month (now, this is variable... I've been trying to price out internet only options for GOOD internet... I have yet to find one that I REALLY feel confident would be good, but let's say this $40/month is medium case scenario)
Monthly (approximate) grand total for entertainment privileges: approximately $64/month (or $763/year)
Total savings with cutting cable and going this theoretical route: $80/month (or $965/year)
So, $80, while it doesn't seem like much, could be extra grocery money, or money in savings, or even a nice dinner out... but is it a game changer?
Now, I ask you, the readers and fellow consumers: what factors am I NOT considering? Am I missing anything in my calculations? What else should I be including (or not including)?
Add a comment
Trust is important: People need to know that they can count on you, and when it comes to professional discretion, they need to know that you can be counted on to keep sensitive topics to yourself when necessary.
When I first started blogging and doing CE trade media, I learned very quickly about the importance of discretion: Contacts at manufacturers, distributors and retailers appreciate not having their bridges burned, and that you know the difference between legitimate news and commentary and plain old muckraking.
Not that I've never burned any bridges or raked any muck in this role, but in my defense, any muck I raked had some basis in fact, such as Circuit City's procession of woes leading up to their finale. As I said above, when you can keep a secret, people trust you with their secrets, which means you get entrusted with all kinds of juicy, scandalous gossip.
Implicit in that arrangement is the unspoken understanding that if you ever spill those secrets, you're never going to be made privy to any more.
The fact is, I enjoy being "in the know" and if keeping mum is the price paid for knowledge, that's not a price too heavy to bear.
One trade media outlet I know (and let me emphatically state that it's NOT rAVe Publications) jokes internally about how they're always working on their final, last, Going Out Of Business issue, just in case. They call it their "What We Really Think About All Of You" issue, and will contain all the scandal, gossip and drama they've heard over the years in one giant collector's edition publication.
Now THAT would be burning all your bridges. Add a comment
The purpose of this blog is to highlight the truth about the applications available today and call out some of the most important desktop and mobile video conferencing features.
- Freely downloadable in the app store doesn’t mean anyone can join your conference for free. Several vendors offer free mobile video conferencing apps in the iTunes and Google Play stores. But for many of those apps, you can’t join a call without a complex setup and licensing, and you often can’t join a call due to firewall issues. Choose a vendor whose apps are freely distributable to anyone without requiring a user-specific license key. Competing solutions often require a user-specific (or, named user) license key even for casual or one-time users.
- If you can’t easily join the call, you may not join at all. Many vendors’ solutions require downloads, complex licensing and registration. Look for a solution that doesn’t require this, and even better if it has embedded firewall traversal, which will allow you to join a call without calling in your IT team to assist. Ideally, you should be able to just click on the link and join the call.
- The benefits of video conferencing are severely diminished if you can only invite a select few. A number of mobile and desktop apps offered today are based on proprietary technologies. Only standards-based solutions enable you to speak to connect to other vendors’ standards-based systems (unless you add gateways and get a little creative). Proprietary solutions limit your connectivity to others, and gateways can add latency and produce a lower quality experience.
- If you can’t take advantage of audio, video and data-sharing, it’s not really collaboration. It’s important to select a solution that enables you to join by audio, video and share content. If any of these three components isn’t available, the quality of the experience is limited and collaboration is compromised. These features should be available on any device, whether you’re in a conference room, at your desk or on the go.
- The latest technologies don’t matter if the solution doesn’t leverage them. Some vendors’ desktop and mobile solutions don’t leverage protocols like H.264 SVC, which helps to deliver a great video experience even over "lossy" networks. Look for solutions that take advantage of the technologies available today to create the highest quality video experience regardless of how you join the call.
- It’s not cloud-based just because it has the word “cloud” in its name. In a recent blog, I talked about cloud-based video for SMBs. There are viable solutions in the market today, and we have partners offering hosted video. Make sure you are investing in a proven video solution that is offered either on-premises and through service providers.
- Everyone says they offer easy-to use mobile video, but actions speak louder than words. If your vendor can’t get you up and running on the fly with their demo, you might want to reconsider who to purchase from.
So with nearly 1000 companies on the floor exhibiting this year at InfoComm 2013 and a sea of attendees that will exceed 35,000, there is the potential to leave after 3 days transfigured into an AV Zombie, repeating taglines and promises ad hoc and mixing your adult beverage of choice with all the Kool Aid you were given on the plane trip home.
With that, if you are heading into Orlando this year for the big show, (I’m not even sure I’ll be there this year myself yet), I offer you these 8 tips for separating friend from foe and surviving the wave of AV Zombies that want to make you brain dead with their half baked innovations and “Me Too” products.
- Have a Plan- Anyone telling you how to protect yourself from attackers, undead or otherwise, will tell you to be alert and know your surroundings. Getting lost or distracted are two sure ways to lose your mind at InfoComm. Lucky for you, InfoComm offers an interactive floorplan and exhibitor list that allows you to mark out your safe houses and arsenals that will provide your business with the AV staples and new artillery needed to survive the show and the next year.
- Come Armed- It is time to engage in some mental Zombie flipping Aikido. Look at the new product introductions, technology promises, and bold marketing claims the exhibitors are making in their preshow announcements and compare them with what you know from years of integration and past experience. Formulate your defense against the those attacks, and be prepared to bring your weaponry to bear, making them prove they are friend, and not a brain eating foe before you smash them back from whence they came.
- Get Training- Sun Tzu never had to fight AV zombies, but his logic applies here very well. “Bring war material with you from home, but forage on the enemy. Thus the army will have food enough for its needs.” Coming armed is never enough. You must be able to accumulate new supplies in the battlefield. Use what you learn on the floor and in CTS training to enhance your position.
- Be Skeptical of the New Guy- InfoComm is touting over 200 “new” exhibitors this year, and I can bet you that the majority of them have a severe limp and a left foot protruding from the end of their tattered, dirty jeans that always seems to drag the floor a step behind. Innovation is not as prevalent as the “Me Too” muttering hordes would like you to think, so beware! You may find your brain being devoured by a vendor telling you about how they now can distribute video and bi-directional ethernet over 1 category cable. Swing for the fences with the “HD-BaseT-Ball” bat you brought along, and let the pieces fall where they may.
- Look for Anything “Strange”- If you look around and see what you believe to be a Fountain of Innovation to quench your AV Zombie fighting thirst, make sure you drop in a colorimetric tablet to detect potential cyanide before you take a drink. A vampire looks normal until he fails to reflect in a mirror, a werewolf is a neat guy until the moon comes full circle, and the 4k AV Zombies seem harmless enough until you notice that they are missing 3% of their face on both sides of their heads. . .
- Don’t Trust Old Friends- Unfortunately you never know when one of your most trusted friends may become infected with this AV Zombie-ism. Follow step 5 above when meeting old friends and re-evaluate them to make sure they haven’t fallen victim to the Zeitgeist. Many will turn out to be just fine, I’m just advising that before you hand them one of your tools of destruction and turn your head toward the battlefield, that you assess their appetite for your gray matter.
- Map the Exits. If all else fails, escape may be your only option. The “Me Too” Zombies may be too numerous to overcome, and even your tried and true industry friends may be exhibiting some abnormal behavior. Who knows, with 35,000 integrators locked inside 1 building in the Florida heat and humidity, the smell alone may become your nemesis. Hold on to your skull (or your nose) and head for the door before your brain is spooned out and replaced.
- Colonize and Reproduce- The good news is you will find an encampment of friendly, like -minded attendees and exhibitors at InfoComm 2013. They will in no way be the majority I assure you, so make sure you commune with these folks and form allegiances and outposts that will protect your common ground. Don’t believe the “Warm Bodies” hype and think you can change one of them. The wave of infection will have to pass at some point and by no means has to be a Resident Evil of the show floor for years to come. Wage battle, be fruitful, and multiply to outlast the AV Zombies.
In the spirit of collaboration, please add your tips to this survival guide in the comments below and make sure to print a copy before you land in Orlando in June!
If any Zombies decide to comment in protest, beware. . .
Now, in a recent twist of coincidence, Senator John McCain introduced a bill last week that would essentially create an "a la carte" system for your cable bill. I won't rehash all of the nitty gritty details of the bill in this post, you can read the coverage of it here. But, essentially, what Senator McCain is trying to do is do away with the "bundling" that the cable companies essentially force consumers to buy into and put the control in the consumers' hands by allowing them to pick and choose what networks they subscribe to and purchase on a monthly basis.
This could DRASTICALLY reduce the average cable bill of the average American TV watcher.
But is it viable? Is, at the end of the day, a system like this actually viable?
I mean, I'll be honest, I love the idea. The idea of being able to pick and choose what networks we get would be AWESOME. I know, for us, it'd be the ESPNs, History Channel, Discovery Channel, and maybe A&E because Duck Dynasty is hilarious. The rest of what's on cable? Yeah, I could do without.
But, I'll say again: is it actually viable?
There would be networks dropping like flies. Why? Because let's be real... who is going to CHOOSE to pay for Oprah's Network? Or Oxygen? Or Lifetime? (I'm a woman, so I can poke fun at those channels...) Or heck, even G4? If it's the difference between $20 a month and $50 a month or something like that (I'm just throwing numbers out there), I'm willing to bet not too many people would choose to subscribe to those channels.
Sure, a few years ago, an a la carte system like this would in no way be a plausible thing. However, with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, etc. on the rise, the fact is the TV watching game has changed and the cable companies are going to HAVE to do something to keep up and stay relevant or else more and more people like me and my husband are going to be cutting the cable cord and opting for the over-the-air plus Internet viewing approach.
So, I don't know. I don't know what will come of this (if anything), but it'll be interesting to follow as it unfolds.
What do you think? Do you think the a la carte option is a good idea or bad idea? Are you pro-a la carte or anti-a la carte?
Add a comment
Fast forward two years and now it comes in three models. The "high-end" $249 version includes 802.11abgn networking, has the capability to do multi-party calling (up to 25 people at a time) and delivers 720p video on both ends of the call (via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet.
Sure, it still sits on top of a TV, but now these features, along with a new wireless keyboard, a separate table-top microphone and clearly aiming itself at the videoconferencing market, Biscotti has to be bugging the heck out of companies like Polycom and Cisco. And, to top it off, they've now added XMPP and SIP. What's next? Skype compatibility?
Basically, what Biscotti is giving you is a glimpse into the future. Sure, it lacks a lot of the heavy-duty features of most professional VTC systems, but what it does do is show you how simple it is to take videoconferencing to the cloud. Basically, Biscotti is just a camera (5MP), mic and network connection to the Internet. Most of the codec functions are happening in the cloud through the company's servers. That's why it's so cheap ($150 - $250) with unlimited calling for a $25 per month plan (or free if you use less than 40 minutes a month on multi-party calls and all one-on-one calls are totally free). And, since it's completely in the cloud, they actually automatically record every VTC call for you and store it up to 30 days. Plus, you can then move the call to YouTube or download it at your convenience after that.
Now the company has officially decided the business videoconferencing market is something it wants a piece of. It's even launched a Biscotti for business site - here' a video that explains how it works: http://www.biscotti.com/business. If I were you, I'd go there and watch the two-minute video.
So, should the commercial VTC market be worried? Well, maybe a little. Biscotti is a small company and it's brand new technology. In fact, I'm betting one of the big boys of videoconferencing is already making a play to buy them. Or, if they aren't, they should.
It's only $150 for the home version. Oh, and by the way, that $150 one can handle connecting up to 25 people together on one screen, too, as long as you don't spend more than 40 minutes a month doing it -- or you'll have to pay the $25 per month fee. Why not buy one and try it? I think once you have, you'll see that this might not just be a thorn on the VTC market side -- it might be more like a stake.
One of the things that make me shake my head today is that students are not allowed to use cell phones, or personal tablets in classrooms. Really? I understand the argument that is made, about how all they will do is text and not pay attention. But smartphones and tablets are an amazingly critical part of young people’s lives. To tell a student they need to put these devices away is akin to telling them that school has no bearing on regular everyday life. Our teachers may as well say, “You have now left the real world; please put away all devices that connect you to it.”
Why don’t we engage these students where they are? Why don’t teachers integrate Twitter in their classroom presentations? Let the students in the class ask questions or contribute to the discussion via Twitter. One reason is that along with Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and many other real worlds sites, Twitter is blocked from most of our schools. Makes a lot of sense right?
Why don’t we let students use their phones in class as research devices? Certainly you have never learned anything new by popping on the Internet to research more about something you heard on the TV. Certainly not -- I am sure you still get in the car, drive down to your local library and check out the Encyclopedia Britannica. By the way, those are a little out of date, as their final print edition was put out three years ago.
Why don’t we let them use their phones in class as in-class polling devices? Why can’t teachers reach out to their students via text messaging? FYI, in case you don’t know, email is old school. No one under 21 even checks it anymore.
Although I have had these thoughts for a long time, a Tweet from space finally inspired me to write about it. I figure that if we are going to treat schools like they are not the real world, maybe something from out of this world will bring us back to our senses. Commander Chris Hadfield has been Tweeting from space, where he is aboard the International Space Station. His recent viral video of him singing “Space Oddity” has put him on the Nightly News, but his tweets for months have been educational and inspiring. The picture that accompanies this article is one that has to make you wonder about the earth and how it works. Check out his other pictures and you will find yourself asking, how big is space? How did we develop a ship that can get people to and from the ISS? Yes, even, how does someone go to the bathroom with no gravity? When you start asking these questions yourself -- guess what? -- you start looking for the answers and learning. You know what else is pretty cool? You can Tweet back to this guy who is up there in space and ask him a question. He may or may not respond, but you can reach out to him. This is HERE, this is NOW!
But children, please put away your phones and look on page 57 of your history text at the black and white picture of the moon landing. Yes, it says that this happened 15 years ago, but that was when this book was published in 1975.
Its almost a cliché in the AV trade media that if you need a topic for your blog, post a picture of a dreadful installation and write a post that both mocks it and moralizes to the AV Pro readers about the importance of doing a better job than the one you're writing about.
Well, that's one cliché. The other cliché is writing a blog post about how terribly awesome (or awesomely terrible) you think Apple is.
For todays blog post I'm going to go with Option A.
When I'm in Calgary for business I usually stay at the same hotel. I was there on a prior visit when the hotel was upgrading to HD set top boxes in every room, and I saw the techs from the cable company scurrying around the hotel with spools of RG-6 and armfuls of new HD boxes to outfit the TVs in the 200-odd rooms in the hotel.
Pictured here are the fruits of the cable guys labor in the hotels exercise room. I especially like the way the power cords and RG-6 are casually intertwined, with a single IR plug dangling despondently into space from the whole mess, as if contemplating ending it all out of shame.
Needless to say, when I entered the room, the installation wasn't working.
However, as the saying goes, once an AV Nerd always an AV Nerd. I troubleshot the connections and the settings on the remote control and got the TV working again (And yes, I watch cartoons while doing cardio. Don't judge me).
I did however draw the line at cleaning up the cabling; theres a fine line between passion and working for free. I try to avoid the latter.
I know that this was the result of installation done by cable techs, whose daily responsibility is generally limited to running and validating lines, and doesn't include trimming out well-managed installations.
So lets forego the moralizing this time, as I know that no regular rAVe readers would dream of leaving an installation looking like this, right? Right!?Add a comment
Page 1 of 58