Interview: Justin Knox, RGBlink

Hurrairah bin Sohail speaks with Justin Knox about how RGBlink is preparing to capitalise as the LED market segment matures and consolidates.

With the explosion of growth in the LED market segment it is easy to overlook the fact that progress and maturity take time. Justin Knox, marketing director for RGBlink, says: “The LED industry is still pretty young, about 15 years old in its modern iteration although the technology has been around for decades, and the adoption of LED is really spurring technology innovation across the sector.”

The youth of the LED industry is evidenced in how LED video systems are built and delivered. Knox says: “The LED control system, as typically deployed today, is really almost separate from the LED panels. Manufacturers rely heavily on others for control systems, and then the processing and scaling is separate too. The industry has evolved really rapidly with displays becoming very large and dense, and with multi-display installations – the challenge with that growth is for all the components to really come to work together to spark the next round of adoption.”

LED displays, control systems and video processing being individual components means different players can specialise in different areas. RGBlink’s expertise in video processing is undoubtable. Knox talks about what RGBlink brings to the table: “Our products provide specific advantages and solutions to the table that cannot be matched. You can think of our products as the glue that holds an LED system together by linking the content and the LED display together. With LED displays getting even larger, real video processing solutions to support ultra-large and unconventional resolutions are becoming essential.”

As the LED market segment matures consolidation of the three components of an LED display system under a single banner will be inevitable according to Knox. He says: “The market will need to deliver a complete solution, and as the market matures clients will want a single point of contact for that solution. At RGBlink we are well advanced towards closing and bridging that gap between the technologies. This is the next stage of the industry and it will make not just LED displays but mixed display systems more readily applicable in the market.”

RGBlink is preparing for this eventuality. Knox says: “This year we announced our Subito LED control system which is fully integrated with our video processors. We are taking the goodness of our video processing capabilities, with all of the scaling and processing features that we offer, and bringing this together with a truly integrated control system within a signal environment. We are eliminating the gap between the multiple parts of an LED display system enabling a simple totally integrated point of configuration and control.” While RGBlink is doing its part as a manufacturer to move the LED market segment forward, Knox believes that AV professionals, on the end user and integrator side, must also do their fair share of work.

A change of mindset is required according to Knox: “The traditional approach has seen one LED display and one video processor essentially working together as a ‘ones creen-one processor’ solution. Why treat each display as an individual, stand-alone system? Why not treat all the display surfaces in a space as one system? Process the video sources once, centralise and simplify control, reduce points of failure and enhance redundancy. I believe that, particularly for LED displays, this approach of integrating displays into one cohesive system is going to become more and more important. And of course, we are also seeing LED displays getting larger and more creative in configuration which is also driving the demand to treat these displays as contiguous pixel spaces in built environments.”

Both these trends bode well for RGBlink. Knox says: “The new generation of LED displays will require a more sophisticated processor. We are one of a handful of companies that can produce hybrid, high quality solutions for these video systems, where the all the displays, the control system and the video processing can be treated as a whole rather than different pieces.”

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