Jan 16

Context aware control and monitoring using touch-screens

Control systems are being installed with graphical interfaces to provide real-time control and monitoring.  The Alcorn McBride ShowTouch provides such and interface for the V16 Pro and V4 Pro show controllers.

But with show systems today having 20, 30, or even more devices to control and monitor from a single location, the amount of information can become overwhelming.  So here are some ideas on how to provide useful information and control based on the current state of your control system.

1.  Categorize and create “Go To Event” buttons


Jan 16

2016 – A Special Year for Alcorn McBride

This year will mark a very special moment for Alcorn McBride, when on March 1st we celebrate our 30th anniversary, a remarkable accomplishment for any company, and especially for an American audio video manufacturer.

It’s fun to reflect on the tens of thousands of products we’ve produced in that time, and especially fun to take a peek at where it all started, in my spare room in 1986:

1986 alcornmcbrideatrydercup

Our products (and our computers!) have changed a lot in 30 years (had Ethernet even been invented yet?) But one thing that hasn’t changed is our total dedication to product support. In fact, we still support products we made back then! I’m proud of the amazing staff that makes that possible, and excited to share this special year with them. Here’s to many more!


Aug 15

The Ultimate Video Wall Solution

Using the A/V Binloop HD to feed high-quality content to any video wall.



Video wall eyeWith the rapid expansion of flat-panel and LED wall technology, video walls are so ubiquitous that they have become a common part of modern architecture. They are often used to display content like video art, advertisements, promotional videos, and much more.

A typical video wall consists of multiple panels that must each be provided with their own video source. The tricky part is that those video sources must by synchronized with one another to form a coherent image across multiple panels. This is not something that can be achieved by your everyday set-top box or DVD/Blu-Ray player. It requires specialized A/V gear that is designed to provide multiple video outputs that are synchronous with one another.


Aug 14

It’s still going…until 2034?

In an era when electronics have come to be regarded as expendable commodities that are replaced annually whenever the next version comes out, at Alcorn McBride we do things a bit differently. Our products are designed to last a really long time — as evidenced by our unprecedented five year warranty. But we often support them far beyond that time frame. It’s not unusual for us to see products that have been in service for more than twenty years. And our customers tend to become attached to them. So we’re always happy to upgrade them as long as we can.

Recently our support department received a unit that has been in use for more than twenty years — so long, in fact, that some of our staff had never seen that version of the front panel (and some of our team members were in diapers when it was released!). It was a V16/DMX, the predecessor to our DMX Machine lighting controller. The unit was returned to us because although it still worked, it rattled. It turned out a screw holding down the circuit had fallen out.
After replacing the screw, our engineer noted that the unit’s programmable devices were rated to store their programming for twenty years. He checked the manual, discovered they could be updated for another twenty years, and just to be on the safe side reprogrammed them with the newest code. That should get the box to 2034. Stay tuned to find out if we can still support it once everyone is driving flying cars.

Aug 14

Alcorn McBride on the Web — in 1996!

Microsoft is celebrating 20 years on the world wide web by recreating its site from 1994.


While Microsoft.com was one of the first commercial sites on the web, Alcorn McBride wasn’t far behind. Here’s our web page from 1996. While a lot has changed, many other things haven’t. And unlike Microsoft, we still support all the products we were making in 1996!



Jun 14

Our controllers know where you are!

We’re introducing a new feature for our controllers at InfoComm14 – location based control at your fingertips!  By adding iBeacons, our ShowTouch for iOS app can detect where you are and automatically bring up predetermined screens when you approach the area.

Joy Burke, the Lead Engineer on the project, tells you how to make it happen.

What is an iBeacon?

iBeacon is an indoor low-powered proximity system that can notify nearby iOS 7 devices of its presence. While many different brands of iBeacons can be supported, we recommend using Estimote beacons for your application with our Touch screen. iBeacon technology only works on iPad 2+, and iPhone 4S+, and Bluetooth must be enabled for it to work. iBeacon functionality built into iOS uses the same “location services” feature as GPS – so the arrow will appear in the menu bar of your iPad or iPhone during use. You also may be prompted to enable location services. These services must be enabled for iBeacon apps to work correctly.


May 14

We’ve increased our Product Warranty!

5yr_warrantyWe believe in taking care of our customers and standing behind our products.  Our standard two-year “no-questions-asked” warranty was already top notch.  But we’ve decided that five is better than two.

Steve says it best:

“The Alcorn McBride brand is known for rock-solid reliability and unsurpassed customer support,” says CEO Steve Alcorn.  “We’ve always had a two-year product warranty and the industry’s most customer-friendly support policies.  Now we’ve decided to increase that to an unprecedented five-year product warranty.”

“Frankly, our existing customers have always known they can expect that level of support from us, so we’ve decided to make sure the rest of the world knows, too.”

You can read our policy HERE.


Feb 14

Controller Status Information: We Share!

v16frontIt’s great that our controller products work together and speak Alcorn McBride’s protocols. What’s even better is that we openly share these protocols so that your custom applications can communicate and receive data just like our software!

We’ve recently updated our manual to include a bit more about the V16Pro, V4Pro and VCore’s “Live Mode” protocol. Using this protocol allows for applications to easily get status of hundreds of variables and all of the controller’s sequence status information. You can read more about this in our Knowledge Base or in this section from our Manual.


Feb 14

What’s on the Line?

In an existing attraction, it sometimes seems like the ethernet cable
coming from your V16Pro is a magical mystical wire that controls all
of the equipment. When equipment is re-arranged or removed, this
sometimes leaves the person trying to debug the system scratching
their head and staring at this single wire.
Fortunately, WinScriptLive has some tools to help see what’s going on.
You can go online with the V16Pro and easily pull the script. Going to
the “devices” screen reveals information like IP addresses and type of
connection. You can see the messages going to and from the V16Pro by
going to the “Live Log”. To do this, click on the “Watch” button. Then
add the device’s name (by itself) to the “watch” list. All traffic for
this device will now be reported in the log. Of course, if the  TCP
device isn’t there at all any more, you can see the connection status
by adding the device’s “TCPStatus” variable to the “Watch” list. This
will show information like “Connected” or “Waiting for Response.”
If the device is serial or MIDI, you can always see what message the
V16Pro is trying to send to the device, even if the device doesn’t
exist. But then, if it was serial or MIDI instead of ethernet, Jim
would be giving you a hug, and you probably wouldn’t need to read this
post. 🙂


Feb 14

Lincoln Heritage Museum Selects Alcorn McBride


The life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln will come alive in the new home of the Lincoln Heritage Museum on the campus of Lincoln College when it reopens in April 2014 in Lincoln, Illinois.  The museum will use Alcorn McBride’s Digital Binloop, A/V Binloop HD, ProTraXX, DMX Machines and V16 Pro to interpret the world in which the 16th president lived, particularly as it pertained to Illinois.

The life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln will come alive in the new home of the Lincoln Heritage Museum on the campus of Lincoln College when it reopens in April 2014 in Lincoln, Illinois.  The museum will use Alcorn McBride’s Digital Binloop, A/V Binloop HD, ProTraXX, DMX Machines and V16 Pro to interpret the world in which the 16th president lived, particularly as it pertained to Illinois.