David Keene, Executive Editor
As much as we hear from experts year in and year out that “content is king”, that displays and other technical tools are just that–tools– at the end of the day so much of our industry rides on the introduction of new technology. To solve problems, to dazzle, to upsell. Yes, and more. And let’s be honest– shiny new display technology is the sexiest part of that.
Yes, we are technophiles and we love new technology. And what better way to express and share that interest and passion than by shouting out the latest display technology innovations (as we did in the special supplement on innovation in displays, in the August issue of Digital Signage magazine– access the digital edition here). There has never, in my experience, been a two-year period equal to the one we’re in now where there have been so many new developments. 4K, improved light sources for flat panels, HDR (high dynamic range), and more.
4K hardly needs an introduction unless you’ve been living under a rock– even if the technology is in the beginning stages in terms of market penetration for digital signage applications. Remember that 4K display i.e. 4K TV is being pushed by the big TV manufacturers, and that in itself will lead to significant crossover into the digital signage and retail worlds, as the TV side manufacturing math and economy of scale efficiencies, combined with the almost unlimited budgets of televised sports on the capture and distribution side, will bring 4K to the commercial AV world– ready or not.
"Most LCD TVs and commercial LCD panels now use LED as their light source, not the fluorescent bulbs of yesterday, but it’s still silly to call LED-backlit LCD panels “LED displays”."Of course display technology innovations can also come from the world of LED. (No, I don’t mean here, “LED TV”. Don't get me started on the co-opting of the term “LED” by the TV manufactures. Yes, we all know that most LCD TVs and commercial LCD panels now use LED as their light source, not the fluorescent bulbs of yesterday, but it’s still silly to call LED-backlit LCD panels “LED displays”. They are LCD displays, regardless of what light source they use.) In the world of LED walls, football and baseball stadiums are plenty big enough to create high resolution images with pure LED modules, if you have enough square feet of screen. With 100 feet, 200 feet, or more, across of LED wall, you can easily do HD and even 4K. Doesn't matter what your pixel pitch is, with acres to play with, resolution is whatever you want it to be. But that being said, the LED wall manufacturers are coming up with smaller and smaller pixel pitch displays. 4mm pixel pitch was, just a few years ago, an exotic and expensive proposition– only affordable by high dollar events like automobile shows. But at InfoComm 2014 in Las Vegas we just saw some interesting new permutations of LED that bring the technology more into the mainstream.