You can’t get away from the digital age. It seems like digital technology is everywhere. As Audio-Video designers, the march towards all things digital is having an impact on display technologies as well. Meanwhile, flying under the radar, there is a subtle shift happening in how the average person shows information from a computer onto a projector or display.

For years, desktop computers and laptops have been manufactured with the classic 15-pin analog VGA connector for outputting video signals to an external display. Yes, that’s right, these digital computers have relied on analog video/display cabling since Bill Gates wore bell bottoms. But recently, computer makers have begun eliminating the analog VGA connector and only supporting external displays with digital HDMI or DisplayPort connections. Apple has been an early adopter of these connections on their computers. Check out the latest MacBook and you’ll notice that there is no VGA connector. Most other computer manufacturers are scheduled to do the same in the next 12 – 18 months. But wait, there’s a problem…

Almost every conference room and boardroom in the world is outfitted with cables for analog VGA connections. So, how will the CEO display the Power Point from his brand new MacBook at the next big meeting? Easy, just put an adapter on it, right? Hold on a second. Just to complicate matters, not only are the connectors different, but so is the cabling (limited to around 30′ in most typical applications). And just for good measure, part of the digital signal experience includes the fact that the display also has to have a digital input. Oh, and all the switching and processing in between has to be able to pass the signal correctly (with content protection). Suddenly we’re not talking about a little adapter here. We’re looking at whole AV systems that won’t support the computers and video sources they need to. So, that room you just re-wired and put an LCD projector in? Well, odds are it’s not ready for the digital content that computers will be putting out in the very near future.

At Acoustics By Design, we are constantly researching and testing the latest digital AVL equipment in our own working test room. Not to sell it (we’re independent consultants, so we don’t sell anything), but to learn what works. It’s our job to pass on that real life knowledge to our clients. If you get in a jam, and think you may have to scrap your whole corporate board room AV system, give us a call. We can work with you to help solve the complex challenges of the digital age.

ABD Engineering and Design

ABD Engineering and Design is one of North America’s leading independent acoustical consulting and AV design firms, serving clients across the United States and Canada, as well as other international markets from offices in Grand Rapids, MI and Portland, OR. Our specialized acoustical engineering and AV design practices help architects, building owners, engineers, facility directors, and municipalities design spaces, environments, and systems for optimal acoustical and audiovisual performance. Our consulting practice areas specialize in all aspects of architectural acoustics, environmental and industrial noise and vibration control, and audiovisual systems design.

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