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Multimedia streaming and control and digital signage

Streaming Technology Increases Engagement and Sales – A Case Study

Written on April 17, 2018 at 7:45 am, by

Entertainment venues are always looking for the ways to improve their audience’s experiences which ultimately lead to increased sales from the higher value added of those experiences.

 

Dolphinaris Arizona was searching for modern methods that could help educate and amaze their guests and ClearOne was there to help transform their visitors from passive guest to interactive ones with the implementation of a large video wall streaming content driven with VIEW Pro encoders and decoders and flexible layout  control with our PANARMA video wall software.

 

Dolphinaris was able to display content that helped their audience take proactive interaction with the staff for shows and events driving sales up and customer enjoyment even higher.

 

Read the Full Case Study Here!

 

 

If you’re interested in learning how a VIEW Pro Streaming Solution can help your venue reach new levels, contact us today for and we’d be happy to discuss your project.

 

The 2018 ClearOne Connections Tour for Commercial AV Integrators and End-User Customers has Begun!

Written on January 16, 2018 at 12:23 pm, by

 

The 2018 ClearOne Connections Tour has begun. We’ll be touring the Western U.S. visiting 18 cities from January through May 2018 in our 36-foot ClearOne Tour Bus that’s stocked full with our complete line of conferencing, collaboration and streaming solutions directly to you, our commercial AV practitioners and your customers.

 

Here’s What You’ll Experience!

 

  • See live demos of our latest products.
  • Watch full product set-ups and configurations.
  • Meet with a ClearOne rep about new product features and benefits.
  • Get a hands on approach and interact with the products and see how they’ll fit into your next project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2018 ClearOne Connections Tour has been created to make it easy and convenient for systems integrators and end-users across the country who can’t always get to larger trade shows and conferences to experience first hand our entire line of diverse AV communications solutions.

 

 

Here’s What’s Installed

 

  • CONVERGE Pro 2
  • Beamforming Microphone Array 2
  • WS800 Wireless Microphone System
  • DIALOG 20 Wireless Microphone System
  • Ceiling Microphone Array
  • Touch Panel Controller for CP2
  • USB Expander for CP2
  • GPIO Expander for CP2

 

  • COLLABORATE Pro 900
  • COLLABORATE Pro 300
  • COLLABORATE Versa 150
  • COLLABORATE Share
  • UNITE Cameras
  • Spontania

 

  • VIEW Pro Encoders
  • VIEW Pro Decoders

 

  • INTERACT AT
  • MAX IP
  • MAX EX
  • CHAT 150
  • CHAT 50

 

 

 

 

 

The tour will include presentations, trainings, question and answer sessions, networking opportunities, and product demonstrations of ClearOne’s solutions in video conferencing and collaboration, pro audio and network media streaming.

 

 

The ClearOne Connections Tour Schedule:

 

Salt Lake City, UT January 4 – January 5
Sacramento, CA January 15 – January 16
Northern CA January 18 – January 24
LA Metro  CA January 29 – January 31
Orange County CA February 1 – February 5
San Diego, CA February 6 – February 9
Las Vegas, NV February 12 – February 15
Phoenix, AZ February 19 – February 23
Albuquerque, NM February 26 – March 2
Oklahoma City, OK March 5 – March 9
Dallas, TX March 12 – March 16
Austin, TX March 19 – March 23
Houston, TX March 26 – March 30
New Orleans, LA April 2 – April 6
Memphis, TN April 9 – April 13
St. Louis, MO April 16 – April 20
Kansas City, MO April 23 – April 27
Denver, CO April 30 – May 4

 

Eastern U.S. dates coming soon…

 

Visit the dedicated ClearOne Connections Tour web page where you can stay on top of where we are and where we’re going next..

 

Come Experience the Fun and We’ll See You There!

 

 

 

 

 

Using Video DSP to allow Augmented Reality for your video wall

Written on January 12, 2018 at 9:44 am, by

 

VIEW ® Pro is an award winning line of video streaming products by ClearOne.

 

Using the free software, PANORAMA, you can create any unlimited number of video layouts.  In these layouts, users can augment any live video streams based on common requirements.  For example, we have some casino customers who have large sports books and show live video throughout their facilities.  Usually they’re showing live sports on these displays; and sometimes it’s just the highlight shows like ESPN’s SportsCenter.  One requirement many of these gaming operators have is to minimize outside branding elements, including channel identifiers.  Another requirement is to eliminate, wherever possible, any current time information such as clocks.

 

With these two requirements in mind, VIEW Pro can help you create this augmented reality.  Using PANORAMA, users can create a video layout for each channel of content they would like to distribute. A single layout could be created for each new channel typically used, and these layouts could then be uploaded into the VIEW Pro encoders or decoders.  Each layout will have specific regions of the video that would be cut out, and/or replaced with the specific content that a client would like to use.

 

Since PANORAMA allows you to mix media types; you could replace the channel logo with the client’s logo image.  Using transparent .png files will work best; and can be done in such a way that the viewers will not notice any difference. This would cover the first requirement.  You can use the same method for removing any time information or even entire lines of text no matter where it’s located on the screen;  satisfying the second “display of time” requirement.

 

In a more advanced layout, you could displace the live crawl line with the client’s own crawl line.  If done well, letters of the same size and color will again make this augmented part of the live video stream look the same as the original; but now you can control the text that is crawling and remove any time references.  Using simple digital signage for your custom crawl, such as ClearOne MagicBox, could not be any easier.

 

 

To illustrate the above requirements, let’s look at this live video image in PANORAMA. Keep in mind this is not a file, this is live streaming video. We first cut the red highlighted area of the screen, cloned this stream, and then cropped the area just above the red highlight, making a layer, and placing it on top of the original cut-out area.

This kind of augmented reality is easy to do and easy to manage from any control system using simple ASCII commands over IP.  Inside the blue highlight, below, we simply create another layer to place the client’s logo image.  Again, you can make as many of these layouts as required and it can be automated with the content schedule.

 

 

 

Below are the results as played out from any VIEW Pro decoder.

 

 

Notice on the live output of the augmented results, there is no more clock in the upper left-hand corner, and no more ESPN logo. It has been replaced by the client’s logo.  Again, this layout would be one of many layouts on the decoder (or encoder) and can be changed within a single frame, so when another program is playing, and or a different channel or program is on, the layout(s) can change as well.

 

With VIEW Pro and PANORAMA software, the possibilities of layout and design are endless.

 

If you have a video project that has special layout requirements, we’d love to chat with you and see if we can help.

 

 

 

Video Codecs, they’re not all created equal

Written on December 8, 2017 at 2:29 pm, by

 

We see h.264 used in so many applications.

 

 

This is one of the most incredible things about ClearOne’s ViewPro AV over IP solution.  ViewPro can decode streams that some other device encodes, or native H.264/265 devices like IP cameras.  Or, send a stream to ViewPro directly from a PC/Mac, iOS or android device or others.

 

Same is true at the other end, you don’t need one of our ViewPro decoders, simple devices like an AppleTV, or an IPTV set-top box can decode our streams.  Recording or playback on an NVR (network video recorder) is easy, watching streams on a PC/Mac/iOS/Android, etc is easy too.

 

 

It’s the beauty of being standards based.  But h.264 isn’t known for its high quality streaming, or so we are conditioned to think.  H.264 and 265 High Profile, in both 4:2:0 and 4:4:4 variants are what we use in ViewPro. With High Profile h.264 compression, you would be hard pressed to notice any difference in signal or image quality, with fast motion video, or fine text like spreadsheets.  Whatever the content, High Profile, h.264 encoding and decoding will give you an output that looks just as good as your original content.

 

 

High Profile H.264 is the codec used on BluRay discs, and most often in broadcast/Cable TV, it is extremely powerful in its compression capability, and the key is, within ViewPro we put the priority on low latency, latency that comes extremely close to some of the other AV over IP products that require 10 times, or even 100 times the bandwidth of ViewPro.

 

 

When you come across a project that needs long-distance signal distribution, and/or a large number of sources or displays, you really should give ViewPro a chance.  Once you see everything ViewPro is capable of, I’m sure you will agree it is ideally suited for the Pro A/V community.  And we haven’t even discussed advanced features like TRUE VideoWall processing.  We can save that for next time.

 

Please share your comments below and if you have any questions on how VIEW Pro streaming encoders and decoders can integrate into your business, contact us today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Case Study: VIEW® AV Network Streaming at Unilever Singapore

Written on August 15, 2017 at 11:25 am, by

 

 

ClearOne® VIEW® AV Streaming System Powers AV System at New Unilever Singapore Training Facility

 

 

With 24 AV zones spread throughout two buildings, the company now has full, simple control of its expansive AV system.

 

 

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, August 15, 2017 — When Unilever, the world’s largest consumer goods company, built its new training facility in Singapore, perhaps the most crucial component was a robust audio/video system that would be easy to use, had no audio lag and could deliver multiple sources to a total of 49 endpoints including digital signage displays. Working with Principle One, a leading technology integration firm with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Tokyo, the company turned to ClearOne (NASDAQ:CLRO), the leading global provider of audio and visual communication solutions, and the ClearOne VIEW network streaming system based on Streamnet®-patented technology TCP/IP solution to provide the 24-zone, four-source system that makes the training center more efficient and enjoyable for both employees and trainees…

 

Download the full article

 

 

 

Yes, 4K Really DOES Matter!

Written on July 13, 2017 at 11:58 am, by

 

I recently read an article titled “Does 4K even matter?” It was a good article with some salient points. I would argue that 4K does matter for a variety of reasons; and I agree with the author that 4K is a tool…and the right tool is going to depend upon the job. 4K makes sense when all the parts in the entire system support 4K or when a customer wants to future-proof an installation and install as many 4K-compatible devices as possible in the project.

 

VIEW® Pro 4K – Encoder

Just as our currently-shipping 2K version of VIEW® Pro; the 4k version supports all of the awesome licensed features that make our ecosystem unique. We offer a composition feature that allows the user to create video walls and/or multi-viewer compositions. The number of sources that can be shown on a video wall or even a single screen is virtually unlimited — and it’s incredibly scalable with no requirement for a video wall processor. Applications span almost any vertical market- from Command and Control Centers to medical appliactions; any customer that requires the highest resolution, best color space (4:4:4), and finest detail.

 

Using both H.264 and H.265 video coding compression, VIEW Pro 4K can ride on existing networks. These streams are 1/10 to 1/100 the size of comparable streams using Motion JPEG or Uncompressed Video offering incredible scalability. In addition, our current VIEW Pro 2K solutions can be intermingled and work in the same installations as our 4K solutions.

 

Another important feature of VIEW Pro is the ability to both ingest and create RTSP streams to work with 3rd-party decoders like VLC. 4K video playback on VLC does have some specific requirements for it to work successfully, including enabling the GPU accelerated feature in VLC. By using the processing power of the graphics card, it will reduce the load on the processer. Newer operating systems with the latest drivers will be required for 4K decoding to work smoothly. Consider an application in a medical or dental school where a professor streams 4K via RTSP for students to pick up on their laptops. Through a 3rd-party control, the professor can switch these streams at will.

 

ClearOne’s 4K VIEW Pro continues the lineage of providing the best value, greatest flexibility, and interoperability with 3rd-party control systems that earns it’s moniker of being the only “true video DSP” in the streaming marketplace.

 

4K encoders and decoders have their places in the AV world, and adoption will continue to grow as the entire industry matures and expands, with all pieces in the chain become 4k-enabled.

 

Learn more about the ClearOne VIEW® Pro 4K Multimedia Networked AV Streaming Solution that was Awarded InfoComm 2017 – Best of Show.

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Creative With AV over IP

Written on June 22, 2017 at 4:30 pm, by

 

One of the interesting things about AV over IP is that it offers a unique way to accomplish AV communication goals.  The rules change when your sources and end points are routed over a network; and this offers a great deal of flexibility.  An integrator recently presented some design requirements that allow an advantage with this flexibility.

 

The system called for 16 IP cameras on a network that needed to be routed to and controlled from a separate network without any Ethernet connection between the two networks.

 

The 16 cameras are connected to a layer-3 switch.  The IP addresses of each of those cameras are entered as a proxy on the decoder which has an RTSP license for hosting 3rd-party streams.  Each IP camera can provide different resolutions; and by using lower-resolution streams, the decoder does not to scale the video.  With the decoder hosting these RTSP Streams, the decoder now becomes the source into the encoder.  Usually we think of the decoder as the end point, but not in this scenario.  The connection between the two is an HDMI cable.  This addresses one of the primary requirements of the system which is security.  The customer does not want the IP cameras accessible from the network on which they are being viewed.

 

The encoder that is connected to the switch has an RTSP license that allows it to send RTSP streams to 3rd-party devices.  Viewers with access to the “viewing” network can use a soft decoder like VLC to pick up the stream via a URL.  The viewer sees whatever is on that URL which could be any of the 16 camera feeds or a combination of multiple cameras in a layout created in the VIEW® Pro Panorama Software.  The switching between these sources and layouts is accomplished using our VIEW Virtual Matrix software (see links to sample videos below) or our free Virtual Control software.  This GUI can even be accessed via a mobile device.  For more extensive control we offer free modules for all of the popular control systems.

 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0sUvEZJUaAMMnhIOThUTmRtVWc

 

From the ClearOne side, all this requires is a single Encoder with and RTSP License and a Single Decoder with both and RTSP and a Composition license.  While it’s not something you run into every day, it is a unique way to solve a problem.  The end result is a very flexible, scalable and certainly a very cost effective solution.

 

 

 

See all of our VIEW® Pro Streaming solutions.

 

 

 

Video Walls Cannot be That Simple

Written on June 8, 2017 at 10:15 am, by

 

It can seem daunting – creating content on such a large canvas for public consumption. Video walls make a huge impression (pun intended) for lobby areas, informative signage, or even retail use. Even with the hardware setup, just configuring the sources to appear as desired can be a time-consuming task… at least until now.

 

Auto-discovery of sources can be key to saving time — and sanity — with a video-wall project. The foundation of a fully expandable mesh network of sources and endpoints makes the concept nearly nirvana, and VIEW® Pro delivers. It’s really that simple, with one screen or many, and the PANORAMA software license, you can add a video wall to your existing network, and configure it literally in minutes.

 

Watch these examples, to see just how easy it can be with our latest VIEW Pro Features and Tips:

(4 videos in Playlist)

 

 

What is 4:4:4 color and why should I care?

Written on March 15, 2017 at 5:45 am, by

 

In the AV industry we pride ourselves on providing the best-quality audio and visual communication to our clients.  One way in which we can do that is to offer video solutions in 4:4:4 color.

 

 

When digital video was first introduced, video files sizes were large in relation to storage and transmission capabilities.  One of the ways to address these larger file sizes was to introduce “chroma sub sampling.”  In digital video there are two main components; Luminance and Chrominance.  Luminance (or contrast) is the difference between the lightest and darkest parts of an image.  Chrominance is the color saturation of an image.  The human eye is very sensitive to small changes in contrast (Luminance) and is less sensitive to changes in color saturation (Chrominance).

 

 

To make digital video files more manageable, compression was introduced.  A true-color video signal (4:4:4) includes all of the red, green, and blue color information of each pixel.  In a 24-bit system, there are 8 pixels for each color and thus 24 bits in true color.  Chroma subsampling reduces file size by removing color.  In the AV world, the most common color space is 4:2:0, which is DVD quality. However, with 4:2:0 quality, the viewer is only seeing 50% of the available color.  To make up for that loss of color, the pixels that were removed are recreated by borrowing or “interpolating” from the adjacent pixels.  In some instances 4:2:0 quality is perfectly acceptable.  In other instances however the chroma sub sampling provides the viewer an experience that is less than optimal.

 

 

I can think of at least three instances in which 4:4:4 color is required:

 

  1. Telemedicine:  Surgical procedures streamed over a network require extremely accurate color information on the receiving end.
  2. Spreadsheets: Small text on a spreadsheet in color is virtually unreadable at anything other than 4:4:4 quality.
  3. Corporate Branding: Accurate color representation in a company logo.  Think of how some iconic brands might appear if the colors were not accurate represented.

 

 

If two video streams with identical content are placed next to each other, one at 720P 4:4:4 color and the other at 1080P 4:2:0, chances are extremely high that the average viewer will choose the lower resolution image with the true color as the more impactful.  Color trumps resolution pretty much every time.  So the next time you are specifying a streaming solution make sure to factor in which color space is most appropriate for the application.

 

Learn More about our VIEW® Pro streaming product lines and see the difference.

 

 

 

The Power of AV over IP

Written on November 2, 2016 at 11:04 am, by

 

Traditionally, AV content is distributed using fixed hardware matrix solutions – a method still being used in some projects. This method will have one piece of hardware with fixed number of inputs and fixed number of outputs; all the sources and destinations being connected to this same box.

 

 

There are some major disadvantages in using this traditional method. To name just a few:

 

a) Multiple racks of equipment and more footprints are needed
b) Expensive, specialized, and source-dedicated cables are  needed
c) Complex installation and maintenance is required
d) Cable restriction for length limitation is a consideration and even it may pick up noise and distortion
e) Rigidity is a reality – the system is neither scalable nor flexible. For example: Starting with one 16×16 (sources x destinations) unit, a customer would face purchasing another entire 16×16 system should they need to add just two more channels…a 32×32 system in which only 18×18 are being used.

 

The modern and new way of distributing AV contents is through TCP/IP Ethernet network. To explain simply, the source devices are connected to a device called an “Encoder.” The destination devices are connected with a device called a “Decoder.” The Encoders and Decoders are connected with an Ethernet Network Switch.

 

 

There are countless advantages in using this new method. To name just a few:

 

a) Highly scalable: Any source to any destination in any combination of the inputs/outputs can be connected in the system. Add a device when needed and if needed.
b) No distance limitation in the network.
c) Highly flexible, including video, audio, data, and control – all in the same network. Can extend the system by increment of 1 unit (unlike the purchasing scenario above!)
d) Highly reliable with high-quality signal transmission over standard Ethernet networks, using standard CAT5e/6 cables.
e) Internet Protocols are matured and standardized for interoperability and are future-proof.
f) Highly affordable, using the existing IP network infrastructure that includes the switches and cables.
g) Ease of installation and maintenance.

 

 

ClearOne’s StreamNet technology – a high-quality, AVoIP streaming solution that provides digital media distribution with unmatched scalability and ease of deployment on existing IP networks. It supports all types of AV sources to be distributed through existing Ethernet networks to all types of endpoints – from video wall screens to single, large-display screens and laptops or mobile devices.

 

ClearOne’s VIEW® Pro delivers the highest-quality multimedia streaming & distribution on an existing IP network with 1080p60 resolution, and an H.264 codec with ultra-high-quality 4:4:4 color-space video, ultra-low latency, low & adjustable network bandwidth, self-discovery, built-in control, RTSP/UDP streams for 3rd party products interoperability.