Gremlins Are Waiting To Strike – Is Your AV System At Risk? Part 1

by: Carol Emmens

AV System Service and SolutionsStop waiting for the convergence of AV and IT – it is here. Used effectively, the combined power of audiovisuals and networking improves communication, inspires creative thinking, impacts learning, provides entertainment and on a practical level, increases sales.

But gremlins are always waiting to strike, patiently biding their time to cause problems and mishaps. Gremlins need to be addressed and conquered to ensure the successful marriage of AV systems / IT systems wherever and whenever they are used. Zeo Systems is your solution.

Ways To Combat AV System Gremlins And Places They Can Appear:

1 – BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices)

Bring Your Own Device is now ubiquitous; presenters, colleagues, teachers, and students all bring their own devices to meetings and lectures to present and to collaborate with the team. Here’s one place gremlins spring into action. The laptops, iPhones, iPads, and tablets do NOT have the same inputs and outputs; they connect in a variety of ways. Is your AV system ready or are you still using VGA connectors (a Video Graphics Array connector is a three-row 15-pin connector)? For iPads alone, there are at least four Apple adapters to connect them to a projector or flat screen TV. A pocket full of “dongles” or adapter is needed to connect each device.

What about streaming and television? Some devices only output to HDMI. Does your projector have an HDMI port? Is it time to upgrade? There are HDMI to VGA adapters on the market, but they do not always work. Any video that is copy protected does not allow a connection to work and the streaming or video will be blocked.

Now you’ve licked the connection issues with a pocket full of dongles. But the display is still wrong. Why? It is likely the size of the screen or the sightlines were miscalculated or ignored. This often happens because the architect(s) and interior designer(s) worked in a vacuum without consulting the AV/IT departments or vendors.

2 – Size Matters

Flat panels are everywhere we look from airports to zoos but are they appropriate for your project? Are they large enough for everyone to read the information or are additional screens needed in supplementary locations? Is the room large enough to require a screen? The dimensions of the room, the layout and the height of the ceiling help to determine the size of the screen. Are multiple screens required to ensure everyone an opportunity to see the presentation? Are the screens positioned correctly so viewers aren’t straining their necks to see them? What will you show on the flat panels or screen? Do your objectives require a wide screen? By the way, does your screen have a wide image aspect ratio and does your projector show wide screen images? If not, it is time to replace them.

3 – Sightlines

The sightlines are the angles at which the screen is viewed and they are just as important as the size of the screen. In a very wide room, the sightlines for those on the far right and the far left are critical. In an auditorium, performance center or lecture hall the incline of the floor is critical to whether or not everyone is able to view the screen. The sightline to see the presenter or instructor is also important to keep the audience’s attention. Is the location of the lectern or the pulpit easy to see for the audience? Is it easy for the presenters to connect their devices? Is the wall plate close or is it across the room resulting in long cables that create a tripping hazard?

4 – Audio Solutions

OK, one issue solved; everyone can see the screen. But can they hear the presenter or teacher or movie? The use of a microphone and speakers are often overlooked despite the demand for presentations that dazzle both the visual and auditory senses. The speakers in a projector or flat screen TV are rarely adequate except for a home theater, yet the installation of additional speakers is often overlooked. Is surround sound desired and is it achievable in a particular room? Installing an adequate number of speakers, however, does not overcome audio issues such as interference or “noise” nor will it compensate for poor audio quality. In fact, poor audio sounds even worse when it is amplified through a sound system. The key word is system! All the components of an audio system need to meet a high standard in order to achieve a high quality of audio. The use of the audio – for voice reinforcement, music or both – determine the speakers, mixers, assistive listening devices and microphones needed as do the audio characteristics of the facility or room. Sound often “bounces” in rooms due to structural issues such as glass walls and marble columns, and furniture.

Obviously, gremlins can appear in a myriad of ways; Tune in next week for more…
Meanwhile, if you have a current gremlin in residence, contact us for a free consultation and let Zeo Systems assist you in determining the solutions to any problems that may arise.

Zeo Systems provides AV system integration services in the greater Philadelphia area, including Montgomery County PA, Bucks County PA, and Delaware County PA.