In August 2012, the Consumer Electronics Association decided to retire the term “4K” and dub the latest resolution champ “Ultra High Definition” instead. Partially defined as a resolution of “at least 3,840 x 2,160 pixels,” Sony decided the very next day to call the technology “4K Ultra High Definition,” now the industry-wide term. With the advent of 4K-UHD, there are now four major screen resolutions used: standard definition (480p/540p), high definition (720p), full high definition (1080i/p), and ultra high definition (2160p).
Today, with HD and 4K sets widely available, most television programs, online videos and DVDs are still broadcast in standard definition, which is 480 “lines” per the tube-TV-era specification. There’s a good reason that graphics and post-production pros get up close and personal with a 4K monitor rental. The benefits of 4K are even greater for professionals in design, multimedia, video, film, or post than for home theater aficionados, who are understandably excited about the new resolution, too.
4K: For doers, not watchers
TV makers big and small will release 4K models or lines in 2014, most of them in the “premium” niche, along with the “smart” TVs that display streams from your MacBook Pro rental, PC, iPad, or phone. For the kind of creatives that CRE supports with render farms and other high-powered tech tools, there is a lot of work ahead. That’s a double-edged sword: They’ll work a lot on 4K displays, creating better and better graphics and viewing experiences for others to watch on their own home theater 4K screens. (More about consumers and 4K coming soon!)
The TVs at CES 2014 revealed that manufacturers have accepted the fact that we have entered “the 4K era.” Today’s creative and production pros depend up0n the highest possible resolution for use in the entertainment industry and a 4K display offers unmatched visual clarity. CRE now offers a 50-inch ultra high definition monitor with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, perfectly suited for film editing, video, and post production with its stunning picture clarity and superior color saturation. CRE has worked closely with the entertainment industry, from music and TV shows to feature films, awards shows, and state-of-the-art animation.
Good for Business, Too
What works in the entertainment industry can also do double duty in the business world, where clear and direct communication that gets noticed is essential to corporate events. A 4K display monitor will grab the attention of conference attendees by replacing traditional printed signage with motion graphics, beautifully rendered. You can easily control messaging and everything else with a MacBook Pro or iPad rental. Since 2014′s the year that 4K screens will replace the current “high-end” 1080p models to become the latest and greatest, don’t wait too long to ask us about how they can help you, too!
You can also depend on CRE Rentals for technology rentals you need to set up a production office or to make a splash at your next corporate event or conference. Our seasoned professionals can help so complete a Quick Quote (if you know what you need) or give us a call at 877-266-7725.
Most historians date the beginning of the modern environmental movement to 1970, as that is the year of the first Earth Day. (The main worry then was that we’d all freeze, remember?) By the 1980s, consumers in industrialized nations were concerned with household chemicals, energy conservation, air quality, and alternative fuels – and energy, always energy. These were the issues that influenced the eco-sensitive lifestyles of today, and will influence tomorrow’s.
A new era, a new definition
The high-tech sector began its biggest growth at the end of the 20th century, at the same time that the term (and goal) of “greening” entered most every Earthling’s vocabulary. From smart phones and TVs to household appliances and the latest desktop computer rental, it’s all about getting more work and play from fewer amps and volts. This mindset is just now taking hold in another commercial area, that of signage. The fact that its definition has completely changed in just a couple of years makes a little bit of a history lesson necessary (but worthwhile).
Digital signage began as a high-tech green alternative to such large displays as printed billboards and building signs, but with costs dropping precipitously and screen sizes available from a few inches to stadium size, the applications are now nearly numberless. With recent and ongoing advances in digital display technology like ultra-efficient LED-LCDs and our interactive LCD touchscreen monitor rentals, extending your green strategies into digital signage – the traditional areas as well as new ones – can help the planet and your business at the same time.
Not just for retail anymore
Signage applications are most numerous, perhaps, for retail firms, and not only for large-scale advertising or building signs. With flat panels popping up everywhere – small 15- to 20-inch screens at grocery checkouts, big ones like CRE plasma display rentals on sports bar and hotel walls – and in-store displays capable of integrating various screen sizes, retailers can save serious money by reducing or eliminating printed materials. Easy-to-use software that runs on everything from a computer to an iPad rental empowers you to change messages, schedule on/off times and manage display settings.
Compared to disposable or recyclable printed materials – signs, sale sheets, price lists, in-store directions, company office locations, etc. – digital signage is almost always greener. It saves both paper and plastic while eliminating the purchase of inks, paper, and chemical coatings used in printing. This is especially true at special events. Renting digital signage displays in place of single-use printed guides and maps can add up to make a huge difference, and since the displays are rented they can continue to be used for numerous events – reducing electronic waste as well. The environment wins in many ways, a goal of CRE’s own Green Statement, from the reduced use of chemicals to the dramatic reduction in trash created by mountains of signs, flyers, catalogs, etc. In addition to the aesthetic value, green alternatives will save you a good chunk of “green” in the long run.
Most people know that the fourth dimension is time, and a few even follow the meanderings of string theory, which posits 11 dimensions (this week, anyway). But it’s the 3D world that everyone is talking about now, especially as it pertains to new display technology (and even newer printing methods). Here’s a quick update on the 3D technology that most of us will be using soon enough, if we’re not already.
Monitors and displays
Samsung released the first “3D ready” television in early 2007, and the first 3D plasma model in 2008. Viewsonic then debuted the first LCD computer monitor in 2009, and by 2010 the big “consumer tech” firms had launched a tidal wave of 3D models. There is now a wide range of consumer 3D TVs available from scores of manufacturers, as well as 3D displays even being considered for new versions of all-in-one multitouch display PC models.
More than a few tech pundits predicted a huge, immediate market for 3D TVs and monitors. The actual results have been underwhelming. Media professionals working on 3D models for animation or product design – the sort that use the AJA HD IO and other high-end gear – have a true need for a 3D display. Most graphic designers, and the overwhelming majority of “average” computer users, do not. For growth in this sector, watch the TV makers.
“Additive Manufacturing” (AM) is the industry term for “3D printing,” a new technology that could gross over $5 billion worldwide by 2020. Low-cost 3D printers span the professional and consumer markets, and their gradual introduction over the past several years has brought additive manufacturing into the mainstream more than anything else. 3D printers made by the same “biggies” that make some of our printer rentals have made the new technology accessible to hobbyists, entrepreneurs, students, researchers and inventors.
3D viewing still requires the use of special glasses. Initially, manufacturers made proprietary ones that worked only with their own products (and possibly with similar models from other makers). The “Full HD 3D Glasses Initiative” is a new consortium of “entertainment giants” – Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and others – that hopes to replace a slew of incompatible glasses with ones based on the “Xpand 3D” standard. This new standard is expected to proliferate on everything from high-end digital theater screens to plasma display rentals.
3D was supposed to be the “next big thing” in television (and computer monitors, once the cost went down) following the success of flat screens. Some Mac fans even thought Apple might have plans for a “3D-ready” screen in the iMac (circa 2010). You can trace the waning 3D mania to CES 2010, where firms such as Samsung and Sony promised a fast, painless paradigm shift.
Despite a few years of expensive, celebrity-filled ads aimed at getting folks excited about 3D TVs, monitors, smart phone screens, tablets and mobile gaming devices, pretty much everything “3D” has come up way short of the hype. Frankly, 3D has to be one of the biggest technology flops of the admittedly young 21st century, despite little islands of development or adoption. TV makers went full speed ahead, marketing 3D as if it were as “ready for prime time” as the mature technology in plasma displays, LCD touchscreen monitor rental and other state-of-the-art screens. It wasn’t.
Niches, not riches
Apparently many manufacturers felt that 3D was the natural upgrade path for all the flat screens in the world. Unfortunately, those unpredictable consumers were not ready to replace their still-new HDTVs just to watch the few good 3D offerings. And some of the “active” 3D glasses sell for up to $100, a very expensive proposition for a family. So much for the mass market.
Although 3D technology for TV is still a work in progress, the price and the discomfort are major factors to it not being adopted by everyone. There is also the fact that some users of 3DTVs have complained about feeling sick and having headaches after viewing programming on 3DTV.
There is also a lack of content in 3DTV even though some of the big broadcasters have aired programs especially in 3D. Unfortunately, they were all one-off attempts, and there is no proper 3D channel of programming available. There are DVDs of 3D movies available which allow users to recreate the 3DTV effect at home but not everyone wants to watch 3D movies at home as its cheaper to watch them in the cinema on a larger screen.
3D TV could easily work well for gamers who would go for it but it does not have a place for normal TV viewing or watching movies. The biggest sign to prove that 3D TV is a flop is when the biggest 3D hit of all times “Avatar” came out only on Blu Ray and had no support for 3D.
Although 3D technology isn’t widely used, there are lots of other technology gadgets that are. From HD plasma rentals to renting iPad 2, CRE Rentals has the latest gear in stock and ready to deliver. Complete a Request for Quote or call us so we can help you figure out what works best for you.
The 1950s saw the introduction of 3D movies, but the idea never quite caught on, possibly because of the dorky glasses. Today’s computer-based 3D users are mostly gamers, but in addition to consumers who want to play PC games and watch 3D TV shows, there are professionals using apps on a Mac Pro or other high-end PC to create those games and shows, too.
CRE supports many post-production and animation professionals working in 3D, with such high-tech tools as render farms and mass storage. And, of course, other specialized professionals – architects, engineers, product designers, landscaping contractors – need to see their concepts in three dimensions. Where is this all headed? Let’s take a look.
New 3D technology helps meteorologists envision weather formations, physicists study subatomic particles and doctors examine tumors and other conditions. However, despite 3D graphics looking great and being available on most consumer PCs now – and notwithstanding rumors of 3D coming to an iPad rental – there are few applications driving adoption of 3D in the average business, and the apps that do exist are very specialized.
Of course, existing applications evolve and new ones are introduced. High-end applications like Alias/Wavefront Maya and NewTek LightWave are behind the 3D characters and effects for TV and movies, while 3D tools like Rhino from McNeel & Associates power product design for furniture, autos and other consumer items. You need real power to run these, but there’s also a growing number of low-end 3D tools that can run on basic PC desktop computer rentals. Meanwhile, companies are learning to use 3D technology in different ways.
Keys to general acceptance
The continuing evolution of realism, interactivity, ease of use and image quality over the next few years depends, naturally, on advances in CPU speed, memory and monitors – from plasma display rentals to LCD/LED models. This is true for online as well as “display” uses, such as inviting conference attendees to your exhibit booth with a 3D presentation on an all-in-one multitouch display PC. For 3D technology to succeed beyond a few niche markets, however, the following issues need addressing:
Cost: Low-end 3D creation is now fairly affordable, with software for simple 3D work and acceleration cards for aging PCs costing under $100. Plus, 3D libraries like Turbosquid.com sell 3D models inexpensively.
Ease of use: 3D image creation can be difficult with the high-end apps, but low-end ones are as simple to use as other (2D) consumer-level graphics programs. Still, new users need to learn the terminology, tools and workflows.
Demand: It will take some time to discover all of 3D’s uses, but for now the daily business practices in most firms simply don’t require an additional dimension – success is difficult enough in two dimensions!
If you haven’t said “goodbye” to the cathode ray tube (CRT), it may soon be too late. The tubes are goners, displaced first in the 1990s by the technology in our plasma rentals, then by LCD screens that continued the trend toward lighter, flatter and less power-hungry. We are already in the midst of a surge in screens like CRE’s LCD touchscreen monitor rentals, but there are new ideas on the horizon promising screens that are flatter, lighter and more energy-efficient still.
The next big thing
Kodak developed the first OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays in 1987. As opposed to older technologies, the screen’s individual display elements emit their own light, meaning no separate lighting source. Ditching the light source makes OLED displays lighter, thinner and more energy-efficient. Future desktop displays, TVs and even laptop rentals will start to feature these OLED displays once the price starts its downward trajectory.
Since these displays are still new, they’re still expensive. The first appeared on mobile phones, quickly becoming standard equipment in the high-end Samsung models as well as phones from Nokia, Google and others. Rumor has it that the upcoming iPhone 5 will have the technology.
From OLED to… ?
Phones, TV screens and monitors are only the beginning. It won’t be long before CRE’s iPad rentals and other tablets feature OLED screens. In fact, Samsung has already announced plans for an OLED-screened tablet. Industry analysts see OLEDs as the next “big thing” and sales should take off in the next year or two.
Of course, OLED is not the only game in town, not by a long shot. These other display technologies will be vying for dominance in a hustling, bustling market:
• Super LCD (SLCD) is another challenger for that screen dominance. It offers improved color fidelity and screen contrast than previous LCD panels, but uses more power than AMOLED.
• AMOLED (active matrix organic light omitting diode) is, as the name suggests, one of the related display technologies being built off the success of OLEDs.
• Super AMOLED (SAMOLED) is the result of Samsung combining a touch panel with the top glass layer of an AMOLED display. The first panel specs suggest a form factor similar to CRE’s tablet PC rentals. Less material between the screen colors and your eyes means better images at every resolution.
Speaking of resolutions, we can help you resolve all your workflow challenges and digital dilemmas. Need gobs of storage for that video project? Consider our Ethernet disk RAID rentals. Need an interactive kiosk rentals for a trade show lobby? Got you covered. One call or e-mail is all it takes to put an experienced Account Executive on the job to help you find the right solutions. If you already have it figured out, use the handy Quick Rental Quote form.
Many technological advances (the Internet, monitors, computers) have been driven by overwhelming consumer demand for games . To satisfy gamers, who spend a lot on both hardware and software, R&D money has continued to pour into the development of ever-better display technology and graphics processors.
Days of future past…3D monitors?
Media, entertainment and science professionals also rely on the biggest, best and most color-accurate monitors, and these folks are looking forward to hooking one of CRE’s powerful Mac Pro rentals to a new 3D monitor. Apple has continued to upgrade graphics processing across the Macintosh line, and all the models from the latest laptops to the workhorse iMac rentals have display performance that would have seemed miraculous only a few years ago. Adding 3D will be icing on this cake.
Fact is, 3D imaging is nothing new, and existing attempts at 3D displays (for TV or computer) are based on an aging electromechanical approach called “shutter technology.” It displays two images that alternate between the right and left sides of special eyeglasses, the same technology used in movie theaters in the 1950s. Today’s fast LCD monitors and shutters can create these images in higher resolutions with faster refresh rates, which means smooth, clear images.
The real future (of real 3D)
The latest 3D approach dispenses with the eyeglasses, opting instead for a special filter (a parallax barrier) that makes light from the LCD act differently at different angles so that the image shifts between your eyes. This produces a sense of depth without using glasses that can cause eye strain and headaches. The 3D view is important to graphics, media and audio/video pros, but the last thing you need when you’re working on high-res images with one of CRE’s AJA Io HD rentals is blurred vision or a headache.
Monitor and computer makers have been moving gradually from DVI to HDMI since 2008, putting one or the other (or sometimes both, or even adding DisplayPort) on new PCs and displays. You could connect most of CRE’s computer rentals to such a monitor now, with an adapter if necessary, but there are other 3D solutions in the works, too. Volumetric displays rely on rotating arrays of lasers or LEDs to create an image in a field of light, so the monitors can’t be like today’s flat panels (yet). Other major limitations to this newest 3D approach include color issues and high material/manufacturing cost.
Until then…LCD monitors
You will not likely see volumetric displays for five or more years. In the meantime, LCD monitor rentals are state-of-the-art – and always will be. Call or e-mail an Account Executive today, or use the Quick Rental Quote form, and let us know how we can help you!
One area area of interest to many CRE clients is graphics performance. Designers to graphic artists doing Web work, and engineers developing circuit boards, need the best possible graphics processing, as they rely on precision, accurate color and consistent performance. So, what’s new?
Not the good old “color card” days
In most early computers, you had to specify what “color card” you wanted, first of all. In 1987, the industry settled on IBM’s Video Graphics Array (VGA) as the model for the image output. After trying various adapters and connections, cards were eventually mounted, in most cases, in PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) slots. The Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) was introduced in 1997, to offload processing of graphics to a device closer to the core functioning of the computer. Several forks in the road later, there were solutions based on varying customer needs for precise imaging – from “not much” on the low end to “all you can get” at the leading edge – offered by such manufacturers as ATI and nVidia (often all-caps, NVIDIA) which CRE Rentals stocks.
What finally evolved was a way in which systems could “share” some of the CPU’s memory, RAM, with the graphics processing circuitry. This model is still in place in low-end computers. Potent PCs like the HP 8600 computer rentals and the awesome Mac Pro rentals have fast graphics processing units (GPU) mounted in PCIe (PCI Express) bus slots for maximum bandwidth. With all the graphics number-crunching (of which there is a lot) happening on a dedicated subsystem, the CPUs in these high-end computers can devote every single clock cycle to doing the unseen work.
Onward graphic processors!
Like everything else in computers, the graphics processors are getting faster, smaller and more precise. The color performance we take for granted was a far-off dream just a decade ago – and compared to the early computers’ graphics performance, today’s top performers are downright miraculous. With color calibration equipment, artists can certify that their computer is displaying (and their software generating) the precise colors called for in a particular design.
Many of those working with high-end graphics today are too young to remember how nearly impossible it was to get color consistent throughout a device chain. The advances in the unseen heavy lifting done by GPUs – combined, of course, with the progress represented by LCD rental, plasma, LED and Apple Cinema Display rental– promises a very colorful, cost-effective future for digital artists of all kinds.
Not sure what you need? We work with you to solve production bottlenecks, help plan your conference or convention, deliver the workstations you need to take on more business – and maximize your every opportunity. We’re ready to help, right now. Call or send an e-mail, any time, for a swift and thorough reply – or complete the Quick Rental Quote form if you know what you need.
“Put your world at your fingertips,” say the ads for Sony’s VAIO L Series all-in-one touchscreen PC (now available from CRE Rentals!). A stylish computer with a crisp 24-inch multi-touch display, the L is being marketed as “the ultimate multimedia machine”. Its 2.7GHz Pentium E5400 processor is dual core, and is considered by “techsperts” to be a very good low-wattage processor, one of the reasons the VAIO L is “certified green.”
Potent computing experience with all-in-one computer rental
Its graphics processor (GPU) is an NVIDIA GeForce G210M with 512MB of dedicated RAM, letting the CPU with its 4GB of RAM work with the 7200rpm, 320GB hard drive to bring forth a potent computing experience. The CPU is plenty fast enough for cruising the internet, playing the latest games, watching movies and more – all with various taps, swipes and one- and two-handed “multitouch” moves with your fingers.
The VAIO L All-In-One computer rental also includes a built-in webcam and microphone, and has a Blu-ray compatible optical drive for playing movies in stunning HD resolution (no Blu-ray recording, however). Finally, its Bluetooth wireless is the latest stereo version, so you can stream CD-quality sound to Bluetooth speakers, as well as connect to cell phones, cameras and other devices (like its keyboard and mouse, for starters). Add the right kind of outboard audio and video equipment rentals, and you’ve got a powerful center for controlling sights, sounds, lights and most everything else at your conference, seminar or shareholder meeting.
Like the standalone LCD monitor rentals from CRE, the 24-inch widescreen display uses LCD technology, and has “full HD specs” of 1920 x 1080 to create what the ad copywriters call “dazzling” colors and clarity – and, this time at least, they’re not exaggerating. The display is dramatic, and reviewers have admitted that the combination of its look and the feel of the touch commands is downright addictive. Many “creatives” will want to rent this PC computer with its CPU that can handle high-end media work (video editing, audio recording, post production, etc.).
The VAIO L could be used for presentations and “info capture”. With simple software, the VAIO L can be loaded up with presentations, product FAQ sheets, questionnaires and other push-button materials. This is a handy interactive tool when you’re exhibiting at a trade show or conference.
Talk to a CRE Account Executive for expert advice on how you can put this new VAIO all-in-one computer rental to work for you. Call or send an e-mail and we’ll be back to you swiftly, or take advantage of our Quick Rental Quote form. Whatever you do – whatever you need – we are ready to deliver the latest solutions.
The next wave in display technology for television will be called 3DTV, but marketing terms for 3D-type monitors have not been created yet. These monitors will display a 2D image with stereoscopic depth added. How good will it look? Compare an old 1998 CRT monitor to the LCD monitor rental, and you will note an incredible improvement. Going 3D will be even more dramatic.
3D technologies have improved to the point where Hollywood has a small but growing library of “depth-enhanced” films. Just as black-and-white films were “colorized,” movies can be “depth enhanced” now, especially if made with computer technology like the PowerMac G5 with Kona card that CRE rents to production professionals. Toy Story 3D, in fact, is an enhanced “combo” of the first two 2D films.
The 1950s vs. now
The 3D projection used for 1950s 3D films called for superimposing polarized or differently colored images on each film frame. Viewers wore “passive” glasses that revealed different images so that the brain would “knit” the images into layers that gave a sense of depth. Viewing newer 3DTV displays with “active” glasses would create much more convincing “alternative realities.”
Active glasses are expensive at this point, but as with all technology the price will drop. Sony, Samsung and others are building “3D-capable” displays now, and Panasonic recently demonstrated a large-screen 3DTV that it hopes to ship in 2010. Again, as happened with high-end plasma rentals, premium 3DTV models will arrive first, followed by more-affordable models.
Existing cable and IPTV networks are already capable of distributing 3D content. The bandwidth that networks use to deliver HD content will handle 3D content with the latest video compression techniques. Of course, high-end PCs (like CRE’s HP XW 8400 computer rental) and Intel-based Macs are powerful alternatives to TVs.
Using physical media, of course, means Blu-ray. It can store, burn, save and present the data needed, and 3D BR players are already in the works. No changes to the Blu-ray specs are necessary, so standards groups and manufacturers are focused on practical things, like making sure that 2D TVs can play 3D discs.
Conflicts or development dead-ends due to “battling standards” should not be particularly troublesome, as long as 3DTVs stay flexible. Just as digital TV was defined in 480, 720, and 1080 formats – along with progressive (p) and interlaced (i) versions – an industry group is working on a simple, straightforward standard, the kind that has led to the proliferation of WiFi in laptops and tablet PCs.
The first 3D displays will use alternating images viewed with shutter-style glasses until holographic displays are developed. Until then, 3DTV could be sold as a minor upgrade to existing HDTV units. Stay tuned, they’re coming soon! In the meantime, CRE can handle any display needs you have – for your office, conferences or presentations – so give one of our Account Executives a call, send an e-mail or fill out our Quick Rental Quote form. We’ve got you covered, in all dimensions.