by Perry Goldstein
As Internet communication continues to improve, it seems the world is getting smaller and smaller. Just thirty years ago, sending a video meant putting a VHS tape in the mail. Audio messages were left on answering machines containing little cassettes. Twenty five years ago, text-only emails were the newfangled way to communicate.
Now we can transmit full motion video and audio messages in microseconds, in full high definition. We can include multiple parties, and collaborate on shared documents, from anywhere in the world, in real time. We can use the Internet to create our own TV channel and reach millions of people for the cost of a basic computer and broadband connection. It’s amazing.
Marshall Electronics and MXL have been known for some time as an end-to-end hardware solutions provider for the broadcast and pro audio markets. Over the past few years, we have found that our products are gravitating in ever increasing numbers to the IPTV and VoIP markets.
Both of these markets are growing at exponential rates. As costs go down and quality goes up in hardware and “production” related services, more and more users are entering this world. We are continuously evaluating and creating new solutions for these new media. Some are good for collaborative web conferencing, some for one-way IPTV, and some have crossover capability. It’s difficult to assign them to a specific category.
The ecosystem of these communication systems is very complex. There are cameras, microphones, switchers, encoders, computers, software, hardware mounting, to name just a few. We make many of them right here at Marshall.
Marshall Electronics recently introduced a series of mini and mid sized HD cameras, capable of multiple frame rates and resolutions. This makes them good for broadcast, streaming and even VoIP. Originally, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) was a term for collaborative voice-only communications. Today it is accepted to include video, and is commonly known as web conferencing or video conferencing. There are many ways to use these cameras for VoIP. MXL has introduced a USB3 converter, taking either an HDMI signal or HDSDI signal, and converting it into a USB3 signal. Coming soon are conferencing system switchers that have multiple inputs for either HDMI or HDSDI cameras.
When MXL was founded, the primary microphone produced was the condenser mic, used for recording studios. Over the past five years, we have become known for our web conferencing mics. Our first VoIP mic, the AC-404, is one of the best selling and most highly regarded USB boundary mics in the market. From that start, we have expanded the line to gooseneck mics, wireless mics, audio mixers, and various audio solutions for both the VoIP and IPTV markets.
Marshall has had a line of encoders and decoders for a number of years now. As video distribution moves from satellite and cable to the Internet, Marshall offers a number of solutions to meet this growing demand.
The end user is becoming more and more sophisticated. They are discovering that a one-camera production, be it for IPTV or VoIP, is no longer adequate. Multiple cameras with interchangeable lenses will give the operator the choice of camera placement and focal lengths. This can be accomplished with an HDSDI camera with the capability of running up to 300 feet of cable, which makes this a great solution for conference rooms or TV studios. MXL will be releasing a simple-to-use, four-camera, seamless switcher in the spring of 2015. With an IR remote, the switcher can be operated remotely, which makes this a one person solution. It is also designed to be portable and battery powered.
The biggest issue in the world of electronic video and audio is the lip-syncing. Video often has latency, caused by all of the electronics it passes through. That can cause the sound and movement of the speaker’s lips not to match. We have all seen that on TV somewhere. It can be very annoying. MXL will be releasing an audio mixer capable of taking multiple mics, mixing them and adding delay to accommodate for the video latency. This mixer will also be capable of running on a battery.
It’s an exciting time to be in electronics. There is a revolution of services and products making it possible for high speed, low cost communications. Now, anyone of us can have our own IPTV channel, You Tube Channel, or professional collaboration web conference. With the growth of these services, better hardware is needed to deliver the best picture and sound possible. Marshall and MXL are dedicated to bringing unique solutions to market to enhance the user experience.
Keep an eye out for our blog posts and email updates as we announce these new products. We are excited to help bring the future to you, today.