InfoComm Day 1: Busy-ish, Not Much Truly New, But Awesome To Be Back

June 8, 2022 by Dave Haynes

Day One of the exhibit hall for Infocomm 2022 is behind me, and I’m quickly knocking out a quick impressions post before I head out in search of beer and food.

OK, I found beer in my hotel room fridge, but the point holds …

The show looks pretty busy, and overall looks good and seems to run well. It is soooo nice to see industry friends again and see new stuff, though new is a relative term. More on that in a bit.

The hall people are naturally attracted to is the flashy, airy new West Hall of the LVCC, but the great, great majority of the display and digital signage stuff is in the North Hall – a space anyone who goes to AV industry shows will know well.

There is a digital signage zone back in one corner, but there are companies directly or kinda-sorta in the business all over the hall.

I would say the percentage of attendees wearing masks is less than 5%. Most are skipping on that and most of the people who I chatted with already had “it” and didn’t get all that sick (or at all), so they didn’t see the need or worry. On the other hand, absolutely no one gave me grief for wearing a KN94 mask, so I am fine with it.

Day 1 was my day to walk and look, but not stop a whole lot. I will stop in to more stands tomorrow to get explanations and rundowns.

My general sense is this year is like most years with digital signage tech – incremental improvements versus great leaps forward. You are not going to see “This changes everything” products every year, even though some marketers are not shy about slapping game-changing labels on things that are maybe better, but not really changing anything of note.

There are lots and lots and lots of LED companies at InfoComm once again – from the majors to the unfamiliar Chinese companies who show up every year but don’t seem to do a lot of trade on this side of the Pacific. They MAY be doing a ton, but not on the Tier 1 projects that get the attention. They might be the ones that have installed product in sports bars and auto dealerships in Montana.

There is a lot of emphasis on the use of LED for film and TV virtual location backgrounds. Gonna see a demo tomorrow. I am told it is more involved than I thought.

I noticed a shift a couple of years ago from touting pixel pitch as a big aspect of microLED-ish displays from the big guys like Samsung and LG. They actually expanded the pitches to create bigger gaps between the lights and boost contrast (and probably reduce costs, ‘cuz fewer LEDs).

But I saw a new version of the Samsung Wall that was 0.63mm pitch (super tight) and LG’s latest version of the Magnit had a nominally bigger pitch of 0.7mm. Both looked amazing, but I give the nod to LG for creative on the screens.

Sony’s Crystal LED also looked nice, as always. It was showing two versions – a B and C (Brightness and Contrast, not business and consumer as I first guessed) that were at 1.2mm and 1.5mm. If you get close and squint you can see the spaces between light pixels, but I dunno why normal people would do that.

No word on price for any of these, but these continue to be products for professional athletes and hip hop moguls. I asked LG for a free Magnit but it’s looking like I might get a fridge magnet … if I’m nice.

A Chinese company called Cedar, which I have seen around for years, was showing a 0.4mm pitch Chip On Board display that did full 4K at a size that’s pretty much the same as a large LCD. It looked great, but the guy I spoke with cautioned it was not yet on the market. They also have a 0.7mm.

With all of these (though not 100% sure on Sony’s), the displays are somewhat damage resistant because they are coated. The Cedar, only one I tried cuz I could get closer, showed very little reflection from that coating.

A company was showing 21:9 aspect ratio flat panels with 5K resolution. I’m not sure why, and maybe there were pro AV people dropping to their knees and crying, “FINALLY!” But the purpose is elusive to me. The thing about modern LCD production is some manufacturers like AUO and Innolux can do shapes outside the norm.

I saw some stupid stuff, but not nearly as much as in the past. Someone at a back corner was showing glasses-free 3D displays with lenticular lenses. They looked awful, and somebody needs to tell companies to move on.

And I finally, after writing about it for years, saw the Proto (formerly Portl) transparent LCD set-up, and got kinda-sorta-not-really hologrammed. It was impressive on YouTube and it is impressive in person. There’s not a lot of true magic to it, but instead they just do a good job with the tools (like lighting for the white screen) and how the shower stall-like enclosures and LCDs are illuminated.

I continue to be as photogenic as a fuel spill.

There are several software companies here – Stratacache/Scala, Navori right next door, Novisign, SignageOS, Visix (they always do InfoComm), and a few more – some co-located in other stands. I know my friends and masters at Spectrio are here, but didn’t stumble on them yet. Tomorrow …

The infrastructure folks are all here, of course, and Peerless-AV is again have a party people were buzzing about and seeing out wristbands. Not going, as the event is better suited to people with good hearing and livers with lower mileage than mine. I’m going to an outdoor driving range … that has a bar.

More time, I hope, tomorrow to get a better look at things.

  1. James M-P says:

    “I saw some stupid stuff, but not nearly as much as in the past.” Don’t hold back, Dave – tell it how it really is!

    Looking forward to the rest of your insights from the show floor. Keep up the good work.

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