2016 is right around the corner, and it started me thinking about the future of AV. Here is a look into my AV crystal ball, along with some thoughts about what we can expect to see in AV next year.
In 2016, 4K video resolution will continue to replace the 1080p displays we commonly see now. As usual, this will start with the larger displays and work their way down to the smaller sizes. Obviously, 4K has been around for years, but there has not been much content. Now, manufacturers have announced true 4K format Blu-ray players (not just converting 1080p to 4K), which should be out in 2016. People will finally have access to more 4K content than House of Cards.
Get Ready for 8K
Are you ready for 8K? It seems as though 4K is just a stop on the train ride to 8K resolution. 8K is actually close to the limit of what your eye has the ability to resolve, so it is truly the ultimate in video. Some 8K displays have been previewed, and the pro video cameras are coming soon. In 2016, you will hear more chatter about 8K, and it is coming quickly. In fact, it was recently announced that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, will be covered in 8K.
Bring Your Own Device
Meeting spaces are evolving. The ability to bring your own device (BYOD) into the workplace is more popular than ever. So in 2016, it will be more important than ever to be able to incorporate sound and video content from these devices into meeting spaces. As a result, big players, like Polycom, are moving away from their ubiquitous “starfish-like” conference phones, and moving toward technologies that can accommodate the BYOD trend. Also, see Cisco Spark.
In 2015, Microsoft officially renamed Lync as Skype for Business. In 2016, collaboration and conferencing will really start to live up to the hype. As choppy as Skype for Business can be, people seem to be accepting it as a sufficient form of collaboration. Hardware-based codecs will provide the best performance for videoconferencing, but it is still the more expensive option. As software-based videoconferencing solutions, like Skype for Business, continue to evolve, we should see the quality drastically improve. Once this happens, I envision that the hardware-based solutions will go away completely.
Price Drop for Laser Projectors
Laser projectors continue to drop in price, and they are gaining in light output. So, generally, the days of lamp-based projectors are numbered. Even though many organizations are replacing their projector-and-screen combinations with flat-panel displays, projectors and screens will still be required for many larger meeting spaces and classrooms. Laser-based projectors require less maintenance. The better performance in light output, less maintenance, and the dropping price, will mean that laser projectors will continue to be growing in popularity. Essentially, going with a laser projector over a lamp-based projector is a no-brainer.
Encryption has always been a sore subject for Hollywood execs, since hackers seem to be able to hack content as soon as a new format is released. Content protection has been an issue since the VHS era, back when it was called Macrovision. It evolved into CSS for DVDs, and eventually that gave way to HDCP, which stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. So, here we go again. HDCP 2.2 is coming for 4K content. It is incompatible with the older version at 4K resolution, so another generation of equipment will be obsolete. Smart folks, like the ones at Crestron, are already gearing up for the mess.
There seems to be a great deal coming in 2016. As the AV industry continues to evolve, I think that it will be fun to try to stay ahead of the trends!