Setting the Agenda: Ben Hu, RGBlink

As LEDs become more popular, Ben Hu talks to Hurrairah bin Sohail about RGBlink’s plans on tackling a market that is evolving and growing ever more competitive.

The increasing pervasiveness of LEDs over the years is something that cannot be doubted. Increasing functionality and decreasing costs have seen LED tiles become suited to a wide range of AV applications.

Ben Hu, founder and CEO of RGBlink, looks back at how his journey started: “RGBlink was founded out of an emerging need for quality video processing and scaling solutions. There was not a lot of innovation at that time and, particularly with LED technology really emerging as a force, there was a real need for quality affordable video processing solutions. Up to the point RGBlink started, just over eight years ago, much of the LED industry required PC software to do basic scaling. So, there was a great opportunity and need, however from the beginning the focus was on developing products with quality scaling and processing that could be utilised anywhere.”

He continues: “The development of universal processors was a key moment as this gave RGBlink the ability to support the very large displays that are becoming the norm today, and really compete for major international projects. The AiO range has been very important as it opened up the market for everyone with integrated ‘one-box’ solutions that really reduce complexity for a lot customers as LED becomes more mainstream.”

The LED vertical today is extremely competitive and continues to grow even more so with new entrants joining. Hu says: “At RGBlink we exclusively focus on video processing technologies and solutions. This is not just a division of the business, it is what we do. This focus along with our proximity to the LED manufacturers gives us an edge and incentive. We are always looking forward, but also have a keen eye on supporting our customer base, with dedicated domestic and international support teams backed up by our in- house engineering teams.”

The proximity that Hu mentions is down to the fact that RGBlink is located in Xiamen with a large regional support facility in Shenzhen. But, it also poses certain challenges. Hu says: “RGBlink is proudly Chinese, however we believe we stand out from the crowd in some important ways. Our focus at RGBlink is on technical, high performance products, which means we really concentrate on the fundamentals of quality electronic design and engineering, as well as selecting components for performance not purely price point.

“In video processors there is a lot that goes on ‘under the hood’ – that means heavy investments in R&D, and we have one of the largest investments in R&D in the industry, including a team dedicated to technology research independent of the product line development.”

Hu also has a broader vision for RGBlink and says: “We are competing in the global marketplace and aim to provide a solution-of- fi rst-choice, regardless of origin. Let’s face it, much of the world’s electronics, including those from well-known US and European brands are actually manufactured in China, so the origin is not much of an issue as how you bring it all together for the customer in a quality, seamless experience. That comes from a great team and focus in excelling at what you do.”

Being a video processing manufacturer, RGBlink has to respond to the evolution in the LED space. Of recent changes, Hu says: “No debate, displays are getting larger and getting to be much, much higher in resolution as pixel pitches get smaller and smaller. At RGBlink we are in unique position of working day-to-day with many of the leading LED companies, so we have a keen focus on keeping ahead of the curve in terms of product capability.

“At the user end, the requirements are evolving even more rapidly with displays becoming more creative rather than just being rectangles of conventional ratios, so we are really working also closely with the installers and users to make these possible.”

Broadcasting applications are a staple portion of RGBlink’s business. But the manufacturer also has its sights set on the fixed installation market. While the popularity of LEDs for fi xed installation is growing Hu says: “It is a little surprising at this point that there is a large part of the integration market that really has not discovered LEDs. That being said, there are massive investments in conventional technologies, and honestly RGBlink covers video processing for those conventional videowall processing solutions too.”

RGBlink is ready to tailor its approach and Hu details: “For the smaller installations, simple one-box solutions are really important not only to keep the costs down, but to make the installation and ownership as straightforward as possible. In the larger applications, integration is becoming even more key, as the displays become more creative and dynamic to fulfi l their purpose and stand out from the crowd. We will have some new announcements at ISE around extended capability for videowalls, with products that can be specifi ed even more closely to the needs of specific installations, and understanding the needs of mixed environments.”

Moving forward, Hu believes that the fixed installation market will become more crucial. He says: “Our capabilities, are continuing to grow and be built upon. Creative displays are a big trend. We released some rotation products this year, so you can expect to see more on that front at ISE 2018. However this is just the beginning of what we have planned, and we are looking forward to 2018 with some exciting new announcements which we hope will propel RGBlink even further.”

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