- New advancements in liquid crystal displays (LCDs) are now allowing for commercial-grade products with very thin bezels (the visible rim or edge of the display), making them suitable for video wall applications, according to DisplaySearch.
- “In recent years, in order for professional video installers to create video walls with no noticeable lines, their choices were limited to direct-view LED or rear-projection DLP displays,” noted Chris Connery, DisplaySearch Vice President of PC and Large Format Commercial Displays. “Advancements in technology in both LCD and plasma have allowed for the spacing between adjacent displays to almost disappear. New thin bezel LCD technologies can be used in ways never thought of before.”
- As examined in the January edition of the DisplaySearch Monthly Large Format Commercial Displays Sell Through Report, major vendors are selling more narrow-bezel commercial displays. Four of the top brands offering commercial-grade LCD flat-panel displays in the US (Samsung, NEC, LG Electronics, and Sharp) are competing to offer the thinnest uniform bezels, marketing products as narrow, ultra-narrow, and even super-narrow bezels with specifications ranging from 15 mm to less than 5 mm
- The ability to make large video walls with minimally visible seams puts LCDs in competition with direct-view LED displays, which have the handicap of low resolution—limiting how close the display can be comfortably viewed—compared with LCDs. Other technologies, such as projection cubes, are now starting to feel pressure from LCDs as well. Companies with a long-time presence in the rear-projection video wall market, such as Christie Digital (Planar), Clarity, BARCO, and Mitsubishi, are now providing narrow bezel commercial LCD displays for both single-use and multi-tile installations alike. Long-time players in the direct-view LCD space, including NEC, Samsung, Sharp, and LG, are all either offering, or planning to offer, narrow bezel variants of their commercial-grade displays for video walls.
- Some providers of plasma display panels (PDPs), such as Orion, which have focused on narrow bezel plasma solutions for years, now find that larger PDP producers, including LGE, are not only developing narrow bezel LCDs, but PDP as well.
- This technology comes at a higher price, however, as narrow bezel LCDs can have ASPs twice that of regular-bezel displays and three times that of consumer TVs. However, now that there is a discernable, visible difference, as well as a real end-market for commercial-grade displays, AV professionals can more easily explain the differences between displays used in harsh commercial environments and that which the end-user might have purchased for the home.
- These and other technology advancements in LCDs and PDPs help to separate commercial grade products from consumer grade products. It also allows these displays to further encroach into existing commercial markets and are catalysts for growth in the sector. As detailed in the DisplaySearch Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report, worldwide shipments of commercial-use FPDs grew 44% Y/Y in 2010 and are forecast grow more than 50% by 2012.