Video Bars in AV Projects: The Rise of Simplicity and Efficiency

Published: 2023-06-22

The world of AV integration has been witnessing an increasing popularity of video bars for small to medium-sized meeting rooms. With a myriad of features packed into one device, video bars have become a game-changer for businesses and AV integrators alike. However, this rapid growth has also brought about competition among manufacturers, who are constantly trying to outdo one another in terms of technological advancements and unique selling points.

While video bars offer an affordable and feature-rich solution for end users, they present a challenge for integrators in terms of profitability. Due to their straightforward design and swift installation process, engineering time on-site is minimal, which can impact an integrator’s bottom line. In some cases, the time spent travelling to a customer’s location may even exceed the actual installation duration, highlighting the need for integrators to explore additional value-added services to maintain profitability in the face of the growing popularity of video bars.

A Simple Solution with Advanced Features

Video bars are designed to be simple, yet effective solutions for meeting-room AV requirements. Typically, targeting small and medium-sized meeting rooms, they offer an easy installation process and can be connected to a variety of devices such as PCs or Android-based systems. Some of the more advanced video bars even come with built-in Android versions, making them an affordable option for organizations looking to implement video-enabled meeting rooms without the need for additional equipment.

With the rapid progression of camera and microphone technology, video bars have become increasingly sophisticated. Some of the latest video bars also have multiple embedded microphones that create a specific pickup pattern for different room sizes. This ensures optimal audio quality for all participants, regardless of the size of the meeting room.

Camera technology has also come a long way, with budget cameras offering wide-angled lenses for small rooms, while more advanced models boast higher quality cameras and AI algorithms that can track and zoom in on participants for a more engaging experience.

Competitive Landscape of Video Bar Manufacturers

With the increasing demand for video bars, various manufacturers have entered the market, each offering their own unique features and solutions. Different brands all have their own versions of video bars, with the level of sophistication and support varying between models and manufacturers.

When it comes to selecting the right video bar for an AV project, there are several factors that integrators and end users must consider. Budget, specific features and compatibility with existing systems are all crucial aspects. Additionally, the level of support provided by the manufacturer should also be weighed in, as remote diagnostics and monitoring capabilities can greatly impact the overall user experience.

Installation Considerations

Before commencing the installation process, it is vital to conduct a site survey and assessment to determine the appropriate video bar model for the designated meeting room. Factors such as room size, the number of participants and the intended usage of the space must be taken into account.

When it comes to installing a video bar, one of the main considerations is ensuring that the necessary cabling and connectivity are in place. Most video bars require a simple USB connection to a laptop or an Android device for seamless operation. However, some models may necessitate additional cabling, such as HDMI or network connections, to facilitate certain features.

The proper positioning and mounting of the video bar are crucial for ensuring optimal audio and video quality. Video bars should be mounted at the front of the meeting room, at an appropriate height and angle to capture the entire room effectively. Attention should be paid to potential obstructions, such as furniture or lighting fixtures, that may interfere with the video bar’s performance. Additionally, it is important to consider the room’s acoustics, as this can impact the overall audio quality.

Once the video bar has been securely mounted and connected, the next step is to configure and calibrate the device. This may involve adjusting the camera settings, such as field of view, zoom and focus, to ensure that all participants are clearly visible during video conferences.

The microphone settings may also need to be fine-tuned to achieve the best possible audio pickup for the room. Some manufacturers provide remote diagnostic and monitoring tools, making it easier for integrators to configure and calibrate the video bar without physically being in the room.

Finally, after the video bar has been successfully installed and configured, it is essential to provide end users with the necessary training and support to ensure they can effectively use the equipment. This may include educating users on how to connect their devices to the video bar, as well as providing guidance on the various features and functionalities of the system.

Final Words

Video bars have certainly come a long way in the past few years, becoming an indispensable component of modern meeting-room AV setups. As technology continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how video bars adapt and innovate to keep up with the ever-changing demands of the AV industry. For now, however, video bars offer a simple, efficient and cost-effective solution for AV integrators and businesses alike.

Steve Clarke is technical director at ITSL Group.

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