Polk Omni S2 Wireless Music System Overview


In the category of multi-room wireless music systems, Sonos has long

Polk-Omni-S2

Polk-Omni-S2

been the leader, but DTS hopes to give Sonos a run for its money with the Play-Fi wireless audio standard. Essentially, it allows you to add up to eight Play-Fi products to your existing home WiFi network and stream full-resolution stereo audio from a mobile device, Windows PC, or DLNA server to one or multiple zones.

DTS already has licensed Play-Fi to a number of high-profile audio/speaker manufacturers, including Polk–which has launched a complete line of Play-Fi-enabled products. The line features the Omni S2 tabletop speaker , the Omni S2R rechargeable/outdoor tabletop speaker , the Omni SB1 soundbar and wireless subwoofer combo , the Omni P1 wireless adapter  to add legacy components to a Play-Fi system, and the Omni A1 wireless amplifier  to add Play-Fi functionality and power to a set of passive speakers.

The Polk  Omni S2 and its nearly identical twin, the S2R. The S2 is a simple-looking speaker that won’t draw too much attention to itself…at least not visually. Sound quality is another story, but we’ll get to that. The curvy, triangular cabinet measures just 3.92 by 3.96 by 9.06 inches, weighs about 2.75 pounds, and can sit vertically or horizontally (with rubber pads on both the bottom and side). Despite its small size and weight, its build quality feels quite solid, with an inert cabinet design and a refined finish. The speaker is available in black or white, and the front face is covered with a fabric mesh grille material. Only three buttons adorn the front face, for volume up, volume down, and play/pause. The backside includes a USB port, an auxiliary input, a DC power port, and a WiFi Setup button with a corresponding LED to assist with network connection. The S2 sports dual two-inch full-range drivers, dual 1.5- by 2.5-inch passive radiators, and a 20-watt times two (into four ohms) amplifier.

The only differences in the rechargeable/outdoor-friendly S2R are that it weighs a little more (the addition of the battery ups the weight to 3.25 pounds), it omits the fabric grille material, it adds rubber plugs to cover the ports on the backside, and it adds a WiFi antenna to help improve reception at longer distances.

The Hookup
The first step in setting up the Omni speakers is to download the Polk Omni app for iOS (v6.0 or higher) or Android (v2.2 or higher) to your mobile device–in my case, I used an iPhone 4 for setup and later downloaded the Android app to a Samsung Galaxy tablet, as well. Next, plug in the speaker, launch the app, and follow the clear instructions to add the speaker to your existing WiFi network. (You have to have a home WiFi network in place; the system cannot create its own network, but this approach means you don’t need a bridge device to link to your network.)

At this time, there is no Mac-compatible app, and Polk/DTS does not have one in development.

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TIPS FOR SETTING UP YOUR PROJECTORS, PART 3


If you are running cables to the projector, you’ll need to consider the optimal location for the cable connectors to be available to users.  For example, the DVD player might be mounted in a cabinet and the cables will need to terminate there, but the instructor may need to connect a laptop from the front center of the room.  You might elect to run the cables inside the wall to a simple and neat wall-plate, or you could run a small electric raceway channel down the wall if you need a quicker solution (although that is probably less aesthetically pleasing).  Another alternative is a combination of wired devices and wireless access for presenters.projectortable380

Once you have planned for traditional analog/digital input connections from PCs, players, and other local multimedia devices, the next thing to consider is network connectivity for accessing network content and performing remote administration of the projector.

Not all projectors will be connected to the network, but there are some good reasons to do so.  If the projector is tied to a network, presentation files on a server or from a computer can be accessed in some cases through the projectors’ built-in access point. From an asset management standpoint, projectors can be remotely monitored and managed by an administrator in order to turn them on/off to extend the lamp life.

Often, in church facilities there is minimal existing network infrastructure, and running cable isn’t an attractive option.  In these instances, wireless projectors can have a lot of merit and can speed up the installation if your building is set up for Wi-Fi.  One final connection you will want to determine is the location of the power source for the projector.  Ideally, power can be tapped from electric boxes on the ceiling.

Brightness

Most people believe brightness specifications in the 2,000-5,000 lumen range are suitable for these types of room applications. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes these room environments will require more than 5,000 lumens of brightness to compensate for certain aspects of the space. For example, with larger screens, brighter ambient lighting, and longer throw distances, a brightness-range of 8,000 to 10,000 lumens and higher should be considered when selecting a projector.

Solid State Light Sources

Laser phosphor projectors, which use solid state light sources in lieu of lamps, are giving houses of worship new technology options for brightness and longevity. Their low-maintenance design makes them perfectly suited to classrooms, sanctuaries and boardrooms alike.  Lasers have a lifespan of about 20,000 hours – up to 10 times as long as traditional installation projectors using lamps. That means the laser projector in most applications will last well beyond 6 years (depends on the usage model), compared to projection lamps that may need to be replaced within 1-2 years.  That longevity adds up to big savings for budget-conscious environments. It also saves the time and manpower typically associated with projector maintenance.

Tips for Setting up Church, Classroom and Ministry Room Projectors


Choosing a projector model to suit your needs can be overwhelming; here are some key points to take into consideration as you make this important purchase.

Consider how far the screen will be from the projector, relative to the size of the screen.  In some cases, it makes sense to select a projector projectortable380with interchangeable zoom lenses (optional) for proper projector placement. Interchangeable lenses also affect image size from a particular throw distance.  The size and shape of the meeting room will help you decide.  Most manufacturers will state the image size range at specific “throw” distances to the wall, and that information is helpful as you plan.

Not all projectors are installed on a ceiling or wall. There are many users that place them on a cart to move them from room to room. Advances in technology have allowed manufacturers to design brighter projectors in a small cabinet size which makes this type of usage more favorable. For most customers, however, fixed mounting is much more preferable – for product security, less audible noise, and other logistical reasons.

In addition, ministry leaders change their entire approaches to presentations when projectors are always available to them in a fixed-mount configuration.  They can access materials, the Web and apps, annotate using interactive projectors/whiteboards, and capture images for later use.  The availability of affordable interactive technologies and apps are breathing new life into the ways that ministry leaders can share and highlight important information.  For example, DisplayNote Software, used in conjunction with an interactive projector, lets instructors, students and others present and share content across any device creating the ultimate collaborative environment; multiple people can annotate at the board or from a device, while sharing and saving for all those in attendance.

These techniques create a much more dynamic environment, keeping those attending services, classes or special events much more engaged.

Image and Screen Size

In many small to medium sized rooms, image sizes will fall into the range of 60 inches to 90 inches.  Medium to large sized rooms typically have screen sizes of 90 inches to 120 inches.

Generally, you can calculate optimal screen size by measuring the distance from the screen to the person furthest away.  That should be a ratio of no more than 4:1 – for example, if the furthest seat is 32 feet away, you would select an 8-foot viewable screen.

Connecting Video/Data Sources

You may have video/data sources that you want to show on the projector such as DVD players, laptops, tablets and other smart devices.  Common signal source connections can include composite video, s-video, component video, HDBaseT, DisplayPort, and HDMI with HDCP.

An established practice today is transferring data from a source to a projector using a network.  Some sources, such as HD video, are best sent via a cable because the bandwidth on wireless connections isn’t usually fast enough for good video quality.  But laptop images may work well via wireless and offer more ease-of-setup for the instructor.

 

Tips for Setting up Church, Classroom and Ministry Room Projectors


projectortable380We’re talking about Projectors the next few days.

Projectors have changed a lot in recent years, with increases in longevity through laser phosphor technologies, brightness, video quality, connectivity and more – all set against a backdrop of decreasing prices.  As more houses of worship, administrative buildings and parish schools look at the potential for upgrading classrooms and meeting rooms, there are many things to consider.  In this article, we’ll take a look at the “Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts” for projector installations, and discuss what product features make the most sense for your facility.

The Room

Rooms all have unique needs, depending on size, shape, lighting, windows, and seating capacity.  A good place to start is to look at the rooms you are planning to equip, and note the comparisons and differences you see.  For example, some rooms may have minimal or no windows while others may have lots of windows, which will impact brightness requirements.  Some rooms might have ceilings well suited to the mounting of a projector, while other ceilings may create mounting challenges.

Lighting may vary, and some rooms could have ceiling lights mounted directly above the location you want to place the screen.  If you are equipping multiple ministry rooms, try to list the rooms in groups based on similar characteristics and needs.  This will help you decide if one model or several models of projectors will be needed.  If there is a drop-ceiling, often extension columns can be affixed to the hard ceiling above the drop-ceiling to bring your projector to the perfect height of the ceiling tiles.

If there is electrical lighting shining directly down on the screen area, consider relocating a row of lights, or adding a power switch for that specific bank of lights.  While projectors are much, much brighter these days, it still makes for a better viewing experience with better image contrast if you can reduce ambient lighting in the area of the screen.

If the ceiling isn’t a true mounting location, short-throw projectors with special optics can be mounted on the wall immediately above the screen.  This is a nice option for ministry rooms because leaders don’t have to worry about blocking the projected image when they stand up front.  The light from the projector doesn’t get into the presenters’ eyes, and the presenter doesn’t create a shadow on the screen.

To be continued…