Over the years, Sencore has become synonymous with AV test & measurement gear in the CEDIA channel. While the company continues to offer the same types of products that has been known for, including video processors, test and measurement equipment, and calibration tools marketing manager Brad Johnson says that the company is also seeing new opportunities for its products and services in the commercial channel. As a result, Johnson explained in this recent interview, Sencore is developing new products and tools, in response.
Sencore has two divisions, with one that services broadcast/satellite/telco and the other that focuses the CI market. How are you seeing your markets converge?
Brad Johnson, Sencore marketing manager
Home theater is no longer just a stereo, television, and DVD player. Today’s consumers want to stream content from the internet, download movies to a home theater PC, or switch from watching television to surfing the internet. In fact, consumers are creating their own VOD systems from a variety of sources. So what we are seeing is that much of the technology being used in the broadcast or content delivery market is now making its way into the CI market, just as the CI integrator is looking for ways to expand his business and delve into light commercial applications. Sencore is a leader in the professional video delivery market, with our professional broadcast equipment in use at major television and cable networks as well as satellite-to-home providers. This experience makes us very familiar with new digital video technologies and gives us an advantage in developing new products tailored to the CI channel.
Sencore’s RadianceXE and RadianceXD video processors are switching and distribution hubs for audio/video systems. The MP500 MediaPro provides multi-format and multiresolution audio/video signal generation and HDMI analysis. The SP495 SoundPro Audio Consultant handheld analyzer was designed to perform fast, accurate adjustment of speaker coverage and cluster alignment, time delays, and speaker frequency response EQ.
What is the core offering for the residential systems integrator?
Among Sencore’s core offerings are state-of-the-art instruments to help custom installers provide exceptional picture quality for their customers. The Sencore line of VideoPro generators provides all the HDTV formats for testing any video display, while ColorPro analyzers provide measurement and guided calibration for the installer. Along with video calibration, Sencore offers SoundPro audio analyzers, which allow integrators to calibrate their customers’ audio systems to their full potential.
How can installers successfully sell calibration using the right toolset? How does it differentiate them?
Since every room is different, the best calibrators know that a picture that looks great in the showroom won’t necessarily look great in the customer’s home. By explaining what calibration does, the integrator helps the customer who came in looking for an LED to understand the advantages of plasma in a different setting, and vice versa. But it’s more than just technical support. The best installers create long-term service relationships with customers that go way beyond the sales pitch. All in all, the most successful installers create an environment in which customers recognize that they are getting more than just a product, they are getting a solution. This type of consultative selling is what differentiates the best installers from their competitors. Sencore has been there from the beginning to help successful installers not only sell to their customers, but serve them.
What challenges in the field do calibrators seem to be dealing with the most right now?
Consumers today are better educated when it comes to HDTV. They have seen good and bad video and know the difference between 480 and 1080 resolution. As a result, they are more demanding of their equipment, not just in the home, but anywhere they are watching video. In the past, a professional calibrator working on a system only heard complaints about getting the correct setup procedures or setup menu for a particular model. Today, those complaints are going away as manufacturers put their white balance and color management settings in either a calibration or user menu, and give the installer the ability to password-protect the setup.
What new new issues does 3-D present to the video calibrator?
Three-D offers an exciting new technology challenge as well as an opportunity, and Sencore is responding with new products and methods to help the custom installer make the most of it. Right now, there are no consistent 3-D standards coming from the manufacturers. In other words, each brand is using a different scheme or design and different calibration for its models. Sencore has done extensive research on the subject, and will be releasing our findings and procedures to the public very soon.