REAC Merge Technology for the Digital Snake and V-Mixing System Lineup from Roland Systems Group..

21 11 2009

Roland Systems Group, developers of the REAC (Roland Ethernet Audio Communication) protocol – a transport technology for low latency, high quality digital audio via Cat5e – today announced the new RSS S-4000M REAC Merge Unit at the International Broadcast Equipment Exhibition (Inter BEE).

The S-4000M REAC Merge Unit allows up to four Digital Snake heads to be merged into a REAC stream where the master device recognizes it as single REAC slave unit. This important technology enables distribution of multiple input/output units around a location, venue or stage for flexible point-to-point digital snake or V-Mixing System configurations.

Connect any combination of the RSS Digital Snake heads such as the S-4000S, S-1608, S-0816 or S-0808 and merge all the input/output to a single REAC signal. The four ports on the front panel also supply REAC embedded power to compatible devices such as the newly announced S-08088×8 I/O Unit.

The intelligent Auto Map function assigns input channels automatically. If the number of inputs connected is greater than the 40 channels allowed by a single REAC stream, choose which inputs go to which channels using the free remote control software (S-4000RCS) or directly using a M-400/M-380 V-Mixer when using as part of a V-Mixing System.

The S-4000M also serves as a distributor of outputs and/or splitter. Any inputs returning from the master (Port A) are distributed to the outputs depending on the devices connected. When S-0808 units are connected, specific output assignments can also be mapped.

“We are happy to be able to announce merging capability within the REAC protocol. Consultants, designers and integrators have requested the ability to distribute I/O around their installations and stages so we’re happy to be able to now meet that need”, commented John Broadhead, Vice President of Technology and Communications. “The S-4000M represents an evolution that now permits flexible digital audio configurations that were just not possible before”.

About REAC

REAC (Roland Ethernet Audio Communication) is the audio transport protocol developed by Roland to meet the Pro-Audio market’s need for a point-to-point 24 bit/ 96kHz, low latency digital audio transport for live sound use and commercial applications. The REAC protocol is capable of transmitting 40 channels of 24bit / 96kHz audio over inexpensive Cat5e cable and can be easily split using standard gigabit switches making it easy and very cost effective to have lossless all-digital splits of the stage audio for FOH, monitor, broadcast and recording locations. Products using REAC technology are installed today in many venues and have been used for high profile events worldwide.

via [press release]





India is morphing into a global R&D hub, but can it ever take on Silicon Valley?

15 11 2009

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When Americans think of the Indian technology sector, they still perceive a nation of call center workers and low-level computer programmers administering databases and updating websites. But while the West was sleeping, Indian IT morphed into a giant R&D machine. Indian companies that started out doing call center and low-level IT work have climbed the value chain to become outsourced providers of critical R&D in sophisticated areas such as semiconductor design, aerospace, automotive, network equipment and medical devices.

This is happening as multi-nationals set up their own R&D operations in India and partner with local shops. Both the Palm Pre smart phone and the Amazon Kindle, two of the hottest consumer electronics devices on the market, have key components designed in India. Intel designed its six-core Xeon processor in India. IBM has over 100,000 employees in India. A large number of these are building Big Blue’s most sophisticated software products. Cisco is developing cutting edge networking technologies for futuristic “intelligent cities” in Bangalore. Adobe, Cadence, Oracle, Microsoft and most of the large software companies are developing mainstream products in India.

Equally important are the arrival of Indian multi-nationals who are tackling global markets, such as Tata with its dirt cheap Nano car that the company is now positioning for a European market entry and Reva, which recently announced it was planning to build an electric car factory in New York state to address the U.S. market for electric vehicles.

What has been missing to date in India, however, is early stage venture activity and the type of grass-roots entrepreneurism that is the hallmark of American capitalism and Silicon Valley. In that respect China is way ahead of India with many startups taking advantage of huge government incentives and reeling in talented native Chinese returnees to serve as CEOs and CTOs. Note that Kaifu Lee, formerly Google’s top guy in China, was able to launch a $100 million startup incubator focusing entirely on the mobile sector — and he was flooded with business plans within days of opening his doors in the Middle Kingdom.

On my recent trip to India I started to see new signs of life in tech entrepreneurship.  Many of the startups that Sarah Lacy and I met were really smart and hungry. Some were even doing things better than their Silicon Valley counterparts. Not all of these startups are developing breakthrough technologies but many of them are solving problems that U.S. companies have thus far failed to solve and doing it with fewer resources.

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One of the most interesting companies I met is in the mundane business of developing offset printer ink. Their ink is made from vegetable oil and is entirely bio-degradable. The offset printing industry consumes 1 million tons of petroleum products and emits 500,000 tons of volatile organic compounds every year. An IIT-Delhi incubated startup called EnNatura developed a printing ink which emits no volatile compounds and is washable. And the overall cost of their solution will be significantly less than all present compounds when produced at scale. I can see a company like this growing into a billion dollar global business.

Another interesting company was LiveMedia. This is an out-of-home advertising company that has 4,500 screens in 2,200 destinations with a total reach of 50 million people. Of course, you can find exactly these sorts of TV screens in thousands of places across the U.S. Unfortunately, it has been very hard to make real money selling advertising on these networks. LiveMedia appears to have cracked that by creating specialized content that is more engaging and interactive than a box droning CNN or the Disney Channel. LiveMedia content includes games, quizzes, horoscopes, a few short animations, and other content that is both cheap to produce and easy to play along with or understand. LiveMedia has also perfected context-relevant advertising spots keyed to the crowds at the screen location.

LiveMedia is in the process of building out a partnership with Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs India that would give the network even more interactive capabilities. Bell Labs has developed a content management and routing system, dubbed Mango, that makes it much easier and efficient to deliver high-bandwidth, high-quality video and interactive content over existing networks. In the developing world, everyone wants a TiVO-like capability to share, store and manage content. But existing GPRS or EDGE-based cell networks are not up to snuff. And the broadband infrastructure still lags behind that of the most developed telecom networks in places like Japan, Korea and Scandanavia.  A product like Mango is tailor-made for VC investment to get it out of the lab and into a spin-off company.

This is partly why so many U.S. venture capital shops have opened up branches in India. In fact, the two lead investors in LiveMedia are both U.S. venture capitalists including the respected Valley firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. But India lags in home-grown venture capital activity. As I have previously discussed, VCs follow the innovation. So the lack of native VC in India is notable in that it implies a critical mass of activity remains lacking, as well.

For example, in the first nine months of 2008, total early stage VC investments in India totaled $678 million, according to the Global India Venture Capital Association. In the U.S. over that same period early stage investments tallied $5.2 billion according to the U.S. National Venture Capital Association – and that number is not entirely reflective of the real situation. The economic downturn hit the U.S. much harder than the Subcontinent and VC activity in the U.S. fell faster and harder. Regardless, a 10-fold difference between early stage venture activity clearly illustrates the capital is not there yet.

So when will there be enough innovative startups to support an explosion in venture capital? I’d argue, sooner than you realize. During my week in India I spoke to close to 100 startups. A few of them had products or prototypes that would easily compete in Silicon Valley. Some of the leading lights of the legacy Indian IT giants are also moving quickly into VC. Infosys founder Narayan Murthy recently sold millions of dollars of shares in the company in order to launch a venture capital fund targeting investments in India.

The dynamics of entrepreneurship are the same in India as in America. Company founders usually come from the ranks of experienced business executives and are middle-aged. They get tired of working for others and want to make an impact and build wealth before they get too old. Given that there are now hundreds of thousands of R&D workers in India who are gaining valuable experience and are getting old, it is simply a matter of time before they begin to hatch their entrepreneurial plans. After all, their colleagues who migrated to the U.S. now start nearly one in six of Silicon Valley’s tech firms.

I’ll bet that in 5 years, if you stacked up a TechCrunch 50 of Indian start ups versus a comparable number of U.S. startups, it would be a pretty even match. That’s pretty amazing considering the relatively short length of time that the Indian startup scene has existed. And it’s a good lesson for America that the barriers to starting a company are lower than ever before—and some ambitious engineer in India will eat your lunch if you don’t get your prototype built and perfected ASAP.





Epson concocts world’s first 4K HTPS panel, 4K 3LCD projectors closer to reality

15 11 2009

4k-htps-panel-epson

Oh, the beauty of progress. Just a few months back, Epson seemed fairly content showing off an HTPS panel with a WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) resolution, though today that very product just seems lackluster. Up until now, 4K x 2K projectors were reserved strictly for cinemas, businesses and consumers with a) more money than sense and b) room for a 200-pound beamer in their basement. The planet’s first 4K-compatible high-temperature polysilicon (HTPS) TFT liquid crystal panel for 3LCD projectors measures just 1.64-inches and supports displays with resolutions as high as 4,096 x 2,160. Your guess is as good as ours as to when this stuff will actually hit the market in a functioning product, but yesterday is as good a day as any to start saving up.





Matrox pushes eight displays with a single-slot PCIe x16 GPU

15 11 2009

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Matrox has been distancing itself from the consumer market for awhile now, but even we couldn’t resist this one. Hailed as the planet’s first single-slot octal graphics card, the M9188 supports up to eight DisplayPort or single-link DVI outputs, and if you’re up for getting really crazy, you can hook up a pair to drive 16 displays from a single workstation. The card itself packs 2GB of memory and supports resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,600 (per output), which should be just enough to create the Google Earth visualization system you’ve always dreamed of. In related news, the outfit also introduced the far weaker 1GB M9128, which can drive a grand total of two displays for $259. Oh, and as for pricing on the octal guy? Try $1,995 when it ships later this quarter.





“Green Tap”: NEC develops energy-saving power strip

15 11 2009

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NEC subsidiary NEC System Technologies has developed a power strip [JP] with a built-in processor, sensor (the device pictured on the right) and remote control that can cut power consumption by as much as 15% and more. The company says the so-called Green Tap, which sports four outlets, can be used by both offices and private homes.

The device can be used for all kinds of electric appliances. The sensor monitors various data such as the luminosity, temperature, humidity or human heat around it. If you’re out of the room in which you placed your TV, for example, the sensor makes the power strip send an infrared signal to the remote control, which then makes the TV go into standby mode or turn it off completely. If you return, the TV will be turned on again.

The Green Tap works similarly for air conditioners or heaters, automatically setting the temperature in a room, for example. It will even cut off power supply in case of an earthquake (the sensor has a built-in accelerometer).

NEC System Technologies plans to start commercializing its technology in 2011 but hasn’t decided about pricing and other details yet





Gefen Breaks Distance Barrier Using CAT-5 Cable to Carry HDMI v1.3 at 1080p Full HD.

15 11 2009

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Connectivity solutions provider Gefen today announced the release of its HDMI v1.3 over CAT-5 ELR (Extra Long Range) extender. This sender/receiver system sends high definition video with audio, Ethernet and IR back channel up to 330 feet (100m) over just one CAT-5 cable. This is nearly double the distance previous systems could reach using two CAT-5 cables.

“Installers can now turn to Gefen for the most cutting-edge and affordable CAT-5 cable-based extension system for HDTV,” said Hagai Gefen, president and CEO, Gefen Inc. “The HDMI v1.3 CAT-5 ELR cuts cable costs, expands the range of HDTV signal delivery and allows standard network devices to be extended over the same cable.”

The ability to extend Ethernet allows IP-based applications to be easily integrated into the system, and an IR blaster allows the remote source to be controlled by an IR remote pointed at the display.

Hi-def resolutions up to 1080p/60 full HD supporting deep color, lip sync and 8.1 digital audio with Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio are delivered instantly from the local source to the extended display.

The system’s sender unit connects to the source; the receiver unit connects to the display. One CAT-5 cable connects the sender to the receiver, and may be placed in conduit or run along the floor.

A true plug and play installation, ease of use and a reliable, steadfast performance make the HDMI v1.3 CAT-5 ELR a valuable product for anyone installing hi-def audio/video systems today.

The HDMI v1.3 CAT-5 ELR will begin shipping in December 2009. Orders may be placed with one of Gefen’s international resellers, US-based distributors or online at Gefen.com.





Extron Extended Distance Twisted Pair Receivers Are Now Shipping

14 11 2009

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Extron Electronics  announced the immediate availability of the MTP 1500RL 15HD RS and MTP 1500RL 15HD RS SEQ Extended Distance Twisted Pair Receivers for VGA and RS-232. These receivers work with MTP Series transmitters to send high resolution video 1,500 feet (450 meters) or more and RS-232 signals up to 1,000 feet (300 meters) over a single CAT 5-type cable. The extended distance receivers are compatible with resolutions up to 1920×1200 WUXGA, and feature separate continuously variable level and peaking adjustments that precisely optimize image quality for various cable lengths. Each receiver also offers an additional female MTP buffered output, enabling up to eight receivers to be connected in series, reducing the number of parallel cable runs required. The SEQ model adds independent skew compensation adjustments for each color.

“The MTP 1500RL 15HD RS receivers join our line of MTP twisted pair products that enable long distance transmission of high resolution video signals in stadiums, airport terminals and other large building applications,” says Casey Hall, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Extron Electronics. “Our new high performance receivers enable integrators to leverage the benefits of twisted pair on longer cable runs without sacrificing signal quality and integrity.”

The extended distance receivers are housed in low profile, rack-mountable metal enclosures that can be discreetly mounted in racks or behind wall-mounted displays. They are compatible with the MTP Series of transmitters, switchers, distribution amplifiers, and matrix switchers.