Non-Technical AV Presentation Issues Solved


when-youre-giving-a-presentation-and-you-click-on-the-2895876Have you ever launched full-swing into a great multimedia presentation, only to have the technology fail in the middle of your talk? Have you been left wondering, “Why won’t my video play?” or “Why won’t my file open properly on this computer?” We know we can’t always be there to help, so we’ve developed this guide with our best tips to help you make sure your own presentations go off without a hitch.

You’re prepared for your big presentation, with backups in hand, but what do you do if you encounter problems at setup, and don’t know how to fix them?

The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that everything will work just the way you expect it to. Computers are fickle. Our number one tip is to test all the technology you’ll be using in the venue in the exact configuration you’ll be using it at the event. This “dress rehearsal” will help you find any technical bugs, and will help you feel confident that your event will go as planned. After rehearsing, you can focus on giving a killer presentation and feel confident that all your technology will work as planned.

Here are our top tech tips for presentation problem solving:

Before you leave the office

  • If you are sending your slides ahead by email, bcc your personal email address to make sure the attachment comes through ok.
  • If bringing your slides on a USB disk, use a USB drive that has nothing else on it. You don’t want the AV tech to go through all your personal files looking for the right presentation.
  • Always have a backup copy of your presentation in Dropbox or another cloud storage sites, and/or in your email, just in case your USB drive gets lost or corrupted.
  • Bring your own computer and any adapters you will need in case the conference-provided computer will not work. Make sure you have adapters to VGA, DVI, and HDMI, as different venues may require different connections.
  • If your presentations have audio, verify with conference organizers that an audio connection will be available for your presentation room – often that will not be hooked up unless you ask for it specifically.
  • Avoid relying on online content. If you really need an Internet connection for your presentation, make sure you specifically request it on the presentation computer. Try to bring offline copies of any material you need.
  • If live Web content is critical to your presentation, and you cannot bring an offline backup, bring a mobile hotspot, or a cell phone with tethering enabled, just in case.
  • When you communicate with event organizers, specify if you need Presentation View (with your notes) or if you need a Mirrored desktop. Most computers can be set up either way, but the event’s AV team will need to know in advance to set that up.
  • If you have complex graphs in your presentation, save them as static images (.jpg or .png), in case the presentation computer does not render them correctly.
  • If you are using a Mac to create your PowerPoint slides, make sure you test your slides on a PC before you leave the office. Pay special attention to transitions, graphs and media files. You may not have the option to use a Mac onsite.
  • If you are using Keynote to make your slides, make sure that the organizers know you will need a Mac with that software to give your presentation. Make a backup of your slides as both a PDF and a PPT just in case. Test both on a PC before you arrive.

Dealing with Embedded Media

  • Videos and embedded media are involved in 90% of the presentation problems we deal with at events.
  • Make sure if you create a presentation with video or audio in PowerPoint, that you embed the files into the .pptx file, and don’t just link them to a file on your computer. That said, ALWAYS bring a backup copy of any embedded media, just in case it didn’t embed properly.
  • Make sure you have your video as an external file in more than one format. If it’s a .mov file it will most likely NOT play in PowerPoint on a PC and if it’s .wmv it will NOT play on a Mac.
  • If you are presenting on PowerPoint 2010 or 2011, make sure you have the media in Windows Media format for a PC or Quicktime format for a Mac.
  • If you are presenting on Microsoft Office 2013 or Office 365, bring the files in .mp4 format with H.264 encoding for best cross platform compatibility, but make sure to bring backups.
    • Copy the presentation and all its associated media onto the presentation computer – do not run it off a USB drive. If that comes unplugged or your drive fails, your media will not play.

Onsite

  • Load your slides at least two breaks before your talk. Do not expect to plug in your USB drive as you’re being introduced. TEST your presentation when you load your slides into their final destination.
  • If you have embedded media, load the slideshow and all associated media into its final location on the presentation PC before you test it. And once you test it, do not move it to another folder on the computer. The files may become unlinked.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth 10,000 embedded videos. Or something like that…

For AV hardware or integrated solutions contact us at SpaceCoast AV Communications

What’s the Point of HDMI?


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With HDMI, it’s about copy protection. But let’s first address that coax jack. The coaxial cable input on a TV’s back panel is provided to connect an antenna designed to pull in digital TV broadcasts. A tuner inside the TV then demodulates the signal, stripping audio/video from the radio frequency carrier. Next, the MPEG-compressed A/V stream is decoded so that your TV can display it.

With digital cable, the process is similar, except a different modulation method is used to convey signals over the cable TV system’s wired network to your cable box.

Once HD signals are decoded by your cable, satellite, or other-type receiver, the uncompressed video and audio gets routed to an HDMI output. Those signals are then encrypted using a DRM (Digital Rights Management) scheme called HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). For the source device to pass the signals, a handshake must occur with he receiving device. This process creates a secure digital connection that prevents any content from being copied.

 

 

Got a tech question for SpaceCoast Audio Visual? Email us at  ask_the_AV_Pros@scavcom.com

Getting Ready for the Big Game: A 3-Step Plan Are


football-game-1Are you ready for the Big Game? Ready to take in all its glory as if you were in the stands sitting on the edge of your seat immersed in the action? Ready to impress family and friends with a jaw-dropping experience that leaves them, well…jealous?

And, no, we’re not talking about your awesome Kegerator or those hot, tangy, succulent wings everyone loves. We’re talking about a killer audio/video setup that not only “transports” you to the stadium but puts you on the field. A setup that let’s you feel the action – the bone-crunching thuds of a goal-to-go pileup, the brutal kidney-punch of a sideline takedown, the roar of the crowd when the announcer shouts “touchdown!”

The best of today’s home entertainment technology can get you closer to the game than ever before. And in some ways, a topnotch AV system can deliver an experience that’s better than being there. So if you’re tired of the small screen and tinny sound, it’s time to time to take things to the next level with an AV setup that will serve not only sports but also movies, music, and TV.

Here’s our three-step plan for upping your AV game.

1. TAKE A TOUR OF AV-LAND.

If it’s been a while since you’ve bought a TV or sound system, you might want to talk with one of our experts or pick up a magazine like Sound & Vision to get a feel for what’s new in AV. You’ll quickly see that a lot is going on.

If you’re serious about taking your AV game to the next level, find a home technology professional in your area and have him walk you through options in your price range. A pro will guide you through the maze of AV gear and present ideas on how to integrate it into your room – or hide it away.

2. GO FOR A BIG SCREEN.

And not just any screen but the biggest screen you can afford (as long as it’s not too big for the room you have in mind). Take a close look at the new 4K/Ultra HD sets, the best of which deliver stunning pictures at prices that are getting lower every day. OLED TVs – known for their vibrant, lifelike color – are also worth a serious look, but there are fewer options and they tend to be quite a bit more expensive.

If you have the physical space and budget to go bigger than, say, 70 inches, consider a theater-like projection setup where screen sizes start at 100 inches. There’s no better way to get in the game.

3. DON’T SKIMP ON THE SOUND.

Forget soundbars and cheap home-theater-in-a-box systems. Go for a bona fide surround-sound audio system with a full complement of speakers and a real subwoofer. For the best experience, you’ll want a 5.1 system, which means three front speakers – left, center, right – two rear surround speakers and a standalone subwoofer.

Speakers come in a wide variety of types and sizes, including models that can be mounted in (or on) the walls and ceiling for a stealth look. Professional guidance will go a long way here.

Following these few simple steps will put you on the path to an at-home game experience that you might not have imagined possible.

To learn more about home entertainment technology and options, consult a SpaceCoast AV professional today.

September News


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SpaceCoast AV invites you to Embrace and Share the Power of AV as we continue to partner with you, our friends, working together as we:

1. Continue to be your “go-to” experts when it comes to providing exceptional designs, equipment and installation for Home Theater/Cinema Systems, Commercial Audio Visual and conference room design,  AV for Houses of  Worship and audio video furniture.

2. Create Exception AV Experiences to you and those who matter most in your lives... 

We hope you enjoy the AV news stories and find them entertaining, educational and informative.

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Some Audio Video Basics


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Home audio and video equipment are available in a wide variety, such as stereo, home theater systems, music systems, surround systems, DVD and blue ray disk players. These appliances are manufactured by various manufactures such as Sony, LG, Phillips, Samsung and creative among others.

Regardless of the manufacturer you choose, most of the features are pretty much the same and the appliances will serve you well. The choice of a home audio and video appliance depends on personal taste and preferences as well as financial status. Most of the entries level electronics are very cheap, while high end powerful home audio equipment are very expensive.

Most first time buyers choose entry level product that cost less, although such items are priced reasonably, they will serve you well and can last for a very long time. Some of the cutting edge technology in the recent past includes the release of light weight TVs, the plasma TVs, and the LED TV sets. These television sets are known to offer high quality video and a good quality sound output. Most of the entry level buyers opt for smaller screens such as 32 inches or 42 inches, while the other shoppers opt for high end TV sets that are expensive and have a huge screen.

Some of the most popular features in most of the TVs released in the recent past include:

– Internet browsing capability via Wi-Fi connection

– USB port

– HDMI port

– AV in AV out port

– 3.5mm Audio jack

Remote control

– Plasma or LED screens

The ability of a TV to connect to the internet via a Wi-Fi connection means that you can stream movies from the internet right into your TV and enjoy the movie on a big screen. In addition, you can connect the TV to your home theater system to boost the sound systems and enjoy a high quality sound output.

About SpaceCoast AV

SpaceCoast AV is an all-in-one solution for your audio video, theater, telecom, automation, and home networking needs. We handle all size jobs at all levels. Whether you are building a new home, remodeling, or just want to add a new flat-panel television in the living room, our experienced staff has a solution for you. SpaceCoast AV is a full service company providing design consultation, full installation, programming, and sales of equipment at competitive prices.

 

Cleaning Your Home AV Systems


home-theater-spring-cleaning-1If you own a Home Theater system you should have some basic do’s and don’ts when it comes to this invested area of your home.

Screens – there are many types out there and of course that means many ways of cleaning them, the number one word of advice we can give you is Windex is a big no and secondly refer to the manufacture website as to what can be used to clean these screens.

Projectors – they do get dusty and the lamps from time to time can dim…Canned Air should not be used to clean the dust out; the cold air can freeze components of the projector and create a costly mistake.  A dry dust rag is all you should use to take the dust off your projector and regular maintenance from your technician will assist with keeping the light brilliant from your projection system.

Equipment Rack – The more dust that collects on this costly equipment the harder it has to work to keep from overheating.  Customers commonly ask if vacuums are ok to suck the dust out, while most home vacuums do have the odd soft brush attachment for the hose it can be a little intrusive and end up sending dust into the equipment instead of removal.  Dust feathers and/or a Swiffter® without any oils will do an “ok” job of keeping the dust off, but you may want to keep away from moving your equipment around, as this could put strain on your wires and loose connection.

Sound Proof walls , Furniture & Curtains – these all can be done with typical home vacuum, but if any spills occur contact a professional cleaner to come assess the situation.  Most home theaters have special carpet and curtains to assist with acoustics and typical carpet/drape cleaning solutions can bleach out or burn the fabrics.

The basic components of any home theater need regular love and attention on a quarterly basis…and should have dedicated time and attention.

A cost efficient solution is to ensure your system has a maintenance contract. Just imagine using your home theatre the way you intended it to…a way to lock yourself in for “clean” entertainment