What You Need to Know Before Buying a 4K TV

So you want a 4K television. You are not alone. It’s all anyone can talk about on social media. The terms 4K, HDR and UHD are everywhere. At four times the pixels of 1080p, about 8 million pixels, the picture is incredible! Consumers love the latest technology and want 4K televisions in their homes. But before anyone runs out and makes an investment in a 4K TV, here is what you really need to know to make an educated purchase:

Is it Really 4K?
The packaging and store display may say it’s a 4K TV, but is it REALLY? Does it support 4:4:4 color where every pixel in the television gets color info? Read the specs on the television carefully. Unless you can confirm that this is a real 4K TV, you shouldn’t move forward with your purchase.

Does it Have HDR?
HDR is the biggest change to come to television in the last 10 years. HDR aka High Dynamic Range takes the brightness and contrast controls to a radically new level of performance, this provides much greater detail and shading than ever before possible. To purchase a new TV that doesn’t support HDR would be a waste of money. Read the 4K TV specs carefully and look for HDR or High Dynamic Range. If it’s not listed, move on to the next TV!

Do the TV’s HDMI Inputs Support HDR & HDCP 2.2?
This is important because the 4K content will have the latest in security, which requires HDCP 2.2 compatibility. In addition, the new UHD Blu-ray players needed to play 4K movies will not work if the HDMI inputs will not support 4K. Since the introduction of true 4K sources Metra’s technical support team has received numerous calls about “getting no picture.” These have mostly been due to the use of the wrong TV input. When setting up your new system be sure to check with the display’s manual to know which is the correct input to use. If it is not listed, feel free to contact us for support. Last week’s blog post discussed the issue of every step in your component chain needing to support this new HDCP 2.2 technology. In summary, to have a 4K/60 picture you may have to upgrade your entire system. Which brings us to our next topic…

Do You Have the Right HDR / 4K Accessories?
Once you’ve confirmed the specs of your REAL 4K TV you need to get the right accessories to support 4K content. You’ll want your 4K TV to show true 4K content as it’s intended and will need cables that support the full HDMI 2.0a specs. Go here to print out the 4K information and bring it with you when go shopping. Ask the salesperson if their cables will support these specs. If they can’t answer that question — do not purchase the TV or accessories there. Sales staff should know the products they are selling.

Where Do You Get 4K Content?
Now that your new 4K TV system is setup with the proper accessories, what content can you watch to experience the true 4K difference? Mainstream cable services do not yet offer 4K content but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Streaming options are available for 4K on Netflix, Amazon, Ultrafix, YouTube, Vudu and various apps (Sony’s Ultra 4K). Your new 4K television may even support internal apps to stream this content. Make sure your home’s Wi-Fi broadband specs support 4K video stream and that you can get the content via streaming with your cable Wi-Fi provider. Movies are starting to be released in 4K versions (like the Blue Ray upgrade) but are only playable with UHD Blu-ray players, which use lasers of a different wavelength than regular Blu-ray players. If you want 4K movies played on your new 4K television – you will have to purchase a UHD Blu-ray player in addition to your 4K television.

Do you have more questions regarding this post? Post your question to our Facebook page or call us to learn about our HDCP2.2/4K products and learn what our technicians have learned in the field on this matter.

Cutting-edge, Compact & Very Affordable: The Z5 HoverCam!

Hovercam’s lineup needed a changeup, a faster pitch, a breaking ball. That is when the Z5 arrived. With a 96x digital zoom, this is the cure for the modern document camera. Don’t believe us? That is a more powerful zoom than any consumer grade camera, video or photo, on the market today. This shouldn’t just be called a document camera; this is a document camera/microscope. You can present proper grammar with full-screen punctuation marks. Bring size 9 font to full board projections to teach third graders. Keep the Z5 handy and examine forged signatures before the board of directors.

The Z5 has a 2592 x 1944 max resolution, that is better than 1080p!
If your presentation fails, it will not be for lack of a quality document camera. Offering fixed or manual focus you can decide your ideal picture. An optional microscope adapter allows for full dissection of any subject matter.

Touchboards welcomes ConSet America

Touchboards is pleased to announce ConSet will be offering their line of ergonomic furniture on touchboards.com:
ConSet and Ergonomics
ConSet desks offer a healthy ergonomic solution for every desk user. ConSet offers a solution to the increasing concerns with cases of repetitive stress injuries and back problems associated with intense computer use. Our desks complement your body and adjust to your specific needs. Read more…

Finally, a Document Camera Designed for Easy Use With Interactive Whiteboards: Introducing HoverCam Solo 8

By Craig Justice. VP Sales & Marketing, The HoverCam.

At education technology trade shows around the country teachers seeing the HoverCam on display walk up to me and say, “I can’t figure out how to connect my document camera to the interactive whiteboard.” Sometimes the teacher admits “the document camera just sits in the closet.” Traditional document cameras were designed to output video through a VGA port directly to the projector and lacked the connectivity to communicate with interactive whiteboards – IWBs. And, even as traditional document camera manufacturers added USB connectivity to their products, the video streamed over their USB cables is either low-resolution, unacceptably slow, or both.

From its initial conception five years ago, the HoverCam was designed to work with computers and to connect to PCs and Macs with a USB cable, just as an IWB connects to the computer via USB. The HoverCam represents a whole new philosophy in document camera design. The HoverCam is a “computer peripheral.” It didn’t take long for school principals and district IT directors to learn that the HoverCam being a USB “document camera” is an advantage, because it allows easy connecting and use with IWBs. Moreover, the HoverCam design – which uses a high-resolution sensor instead of bulky, expensive optics – has a clearer image and costs significantly less than traditional document cameras to produce. Not because it’s cheap – because it’s innovative and incorporates advanced, patented technology.

Not only is the HoverCam hardware ready for use with interactive whiteboards right out of the box, the HoverCam “Flex” software included with each unit is also compatible with IWB software.

There are four ways to import HoverCam images into IWB software.

  •  Drag-and-drop any captured image or photo from HoverCam’s software window into the IWB software.
  •  HoverCam’s “Slingshot” feature which allows an image being shown by the HoverCam to be captured and inserted into any software program – including IWB software – with just one click without leaving the IWB software.
  •  HoverCam’s “Whiteboard Connector,” a flash-app that allows the camera’s live streaming video to be displayed within the IWB software.
  •  Using the “transparency” feature of the IWB software to display HoverCam’s live, full-motion, 30 frame/second 1080p video image inside the IWB without installation of any additional software, app or driver.

It’s easy to connect a HoverCam to any computer for use with any IWB, and best of all, the new HoverCam Solo 8 delivers clearer images over USB than any other document camera costing less than 3,000 dollars with its true 8-megapixel resolution and full-motion, 30 frames per second 1080p video over USB. For more information please visit our Hovercam Solo8 product page.

Interactive Whiteboard System for only $349…and it works well too!

Transform any hard surface or LED/LCD TV display into a virtual whiteboard:
The BoardShare BC8000 is a portable and interactive technology tool that allows users to create their own personalized digital whiteboard. Draw, annotate or even surf the internet together, and save your work to a computer to digitally share with others easily.

The Boardshare BC8000 is the perfect tool to create, capture, collaborate and share at an incredible price!

ebeam january newsletter


From Beta to Birth

Hitting the streets in February!

We’re thrilled to announce the release of new software…eBeam Education Suite 3.0! Please join one of the following webinar sessions to learn all about the new look, new features and new tools! We also encourage you to pass these session links on to your customers and invite them to participate as well.

Monday, Feb 10, 2014 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM PST – https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/153113857
Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 8:00 AM – 8:30 AM PST – https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/153113857
Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM PST – https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/367235249
Thursday, Feb 13, 2014 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM PST – https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/368899785

LIVElier & WIREd. . . More Than Ever!

LIVEWIRE updates

eBeam Livewire connects to your computer via a USB port and eliminates the need to download and install eBeam software on your computer, simplifying sharing within your organization. The software launches for immediate interactivity in a conference room, classroom or really wherever you happen to be! No administrative access to the computer is required, so you can be up and running in under a minute! In late October, eBeam Livewire was given a lively update that made it unnecessary for the product to be connected to an eBeam receiver (Edge, Edge Wireless or Engage) for the eBeam software to run with full function (with the exception of meeting origination). Now Livewire users that share an eBeam receiver can run their software without having Edge, Edge Wireless or Engage connected. Whether you’re working on a lesson plan or a business presentation, you can do it when and where it’s convenient for you!

  • eBeam Livewire acts like a license dongle (Windows and Mac), and has been aligned with the other software products.
  • You can now use the eBeam Livewire as a software license without having an eBeam receiver connected.
  • While eBeam Livewire is connected, it activates any downloaded (existing) trial or un-activated eBeam software on your system.
  • NEW MSRP $199.00
  • NEW MAP $139.00

Kick off 2014 in Style!

eBeam Carrying Case Promo

From January 1 through March 31, 2014 every eBeam Edge and Engage purchased from an eBeam authorized reseller is eligible for a free eBeam Carrying Case ($49 & $99 value)! In addition to the “Buy and Edge, Get a Carrying Case” we’ll have a “Buy an Engage, Get a Carrying Case.” Please use these promotions to drive Engage sales with both Education and Corporate markets, since this is a great option for traveling trainers and sales people who need sound and screen-recording for their presentations and who can benefit from the included keyboard.


  • Keep all of your eBeam products stowed and organized.
  • A perfect solution for those who take their eBeam system from place to place.
  • The eBeam Edge carrying case has a handle, adjustable shoulder strap, sturdy zipper and fitted pockets for eBeam Edge, Battery Pack, Display Bracket, Capture Pack, Digital Eraser, Livewire and Wireless Keyboard.
  • No Limits! – Get a carrying case with EVERY eBeam Edge purchase through an authorized reseller!

How to choose an ipad/tablet charging cart? (some tips and things to be careful of)

Although Touchboards carries a wide range of ipad and tablet charging carts, we don’t think you can beat the Anthro product line. We have charging stations that are both cheaper and more expensive, but for your dollar we think Anthro is a great mix of value, functional designs, quality construction, and great customer support. And best of all they carry a life time warranty and are made in the USA!  Anthro makes a charging and sync cart for almost any laptop computer, ipad, Google chromebook, netbook, and all types of Android tablets.  Deciding can be tough so please contact us for help. Here are some factors to consider and some areas that Anthro excels in:

*Smaller foot print (many of their models are designed to be “tall” and not take up much floor space)

*Wide slots that can accommodate wider protective cases

* Better cable management – Anthro’s cart securely routes the cables along the tops of each of the bay dividers – you can control the length of the cable.

* Anthro’s cart comes with a keyed lock both front and back and in addition there is a padlock hasp so the user can also add their own padlock.

* Lifetime warranty on the cabinet and made in the USA

Here is some helpful info from our friend Maggie Summers at Anthro:

The process of choosing a charging cart may seem relatively straight-forward, but there are a myriad of pitfalls to avoid before you make your purchase. Don’t be the one responsible for ordering the wrong charging solution! Let us debunk some of the myths that could take you down the wrong purchasing path.

Myth #1:
If the device fits in the cart, you can use it.

Finding the right charging solution involves much more than simply matching the name of the device with the name on the cart. To start, there’s the issue of power. Different devices use different amounts of charge, so it’s crucial to find a cart that will be able to handle the entire fleet’s power draw. The wrong cart/device mix could overload a circuit by drawing too much power.

Myth #2:
It’s fine to choose cases for your devices after you choose a cart.

Another issue to consider before purchasing a charging solution is the size of the case on the devices. A fleet of tablets might fit nicely into a tablet charging cart, but after you add a case to each of them, they may not fit at all. If you find yourself in that predicament, we recommend you rethink the cases: it’s much easier to return cases, and find new ones that will fit, than it is to send back all your charging carts. Be proactive and avoid that problem altogether by choosing a case for the devices before you begin searching for a charging solution.

Myth #3:
Most devices need to sync via hardwire.

In the early days of tablet charging carts, the most popular device used was the iPad® mobile digital device. To enable syncing, these devices require a hardwired connection from a host device to each of the individual devices. Thus, a fully wired cart, separate USB hub or third party Mobile Device Management (MDM) system was necessary to facilitate that connection.

As the market has become more segmented, and more Android™ devices have entered the market, a hardwired connection is no longer necessary because most Android devices sync through the Cloud. Thus, a wireless cart is the ideal charging solution for those devices.

Myth #4:
Most charging solutions do the syncing for you.

A common misconception about the functionality of charging carts is that they sync the devices inside for you. In fact, even carts that have integrated USB syncing (i.e. a Tablet Charging Cart with Wired Sync) only offer a data connection. It’s actually the software program you are using that syncs data to the tablets, not the wiring inside the cart.

To put it simpler, your charging solution is simply the mechanism that stores, charges and transports your devices. Your chosen software program or MDM system is what syncs your devices; the wiring inside the cart simply allows the host computer to “see” and access them.
Above all else, use the resources available to you while searching. It’s not something you want to get wrong. Our team can help you find the something that works, guaranteed. Just pick up the phone, dial 866 942 6273

What has been your experience searching for a charging solution?

HoverCam Awarded Key Digital Imaging Technology Patent


Congratulations to our friends at Hovercam! The hugely successful T3, T5, Solo5, mini5 and Neo3 cameras finally have some protection. Over the last year or so we have seen many knock-off cameras that imitate the hovercam and copy their unique designs. However, they don’t come close to offering the same image quality. Many appear identical and now with this patent in place we will soon see some of these cameras disappear. The thing with document cameras is that most shoppers simply do not know what to look for. They see a megapixel rating and think that is the sole feature they should consider. There are so many more factors than a rating and we have seen some companies “stretch” their camera ratings. In fact, please see this demo video and you can see why we feel that Hovercam makes the best document cameras for your money. Please contact us for help choosing a document camera. We have many brands for all budgets.


This will show you the image quality you get with a Hovercam verse the competition.


Hovercam document camera comparison


Pathway Innovations and Technologies, Inc., the designer and manufacturer of HoverCam brand document cameras and scanners, announced today it has been awarded U.S. patent covering key imaging and scanning technologies that will have an impact on the document camera and scanning markets.


The title of U.S. Patent No. 8,508,751 is, “Capturing Real-Time Video with Zooming Capability and Scanning High Resolution Still Images of Documents Using the Same Apparatus” and applies to the HoverCam products’ innovative way of displaying and scanning using a new type of camera design with USB connectivity. This patent is relevant to a class of products called document cameras and top down USB scanners, which are popular devices found in school classrooms and corporate training rooms.


In addition to real-time zooming and scanning capability, the patent also covers the unique method of recording a video stream using the HoverCam camera. The HoverCam camera is able to display live video zoom through the use of high-resolution CMOS sensors and software without the need of expensive optical lenses.


The HoverCam has redefined scanning technology and camera technology into one unit. The device can scan, record video and be used in video conferencing, live presentations and training. Craig Justice, Vice President of Sales of Pathway Innovations, said, “We led the market in creating a brand new category of intelligent document cameras. This patent grant secures the key intellectual property for Pathway, and will be the cornerstone as we continue to lead the innovation in document imaging technologies.”


Pathway Innovations and Technologies, Inc., based in San Diego, CA, is the designer and manufacturer of HoverCam document cameras and scan cameras. The HoverCam is the first device to redefine the features of a camera and a scanner into a new form factor. The company develops innovative products that enhance learning, improve communication and help customers save time. The company’s goals are to have a positive impact on classroom learning, create a pathway to the paperless office and be one of San Diego’s best places to work.