Flat Panel Displays Are Seeing Growth Across the Board
As organizations embrace visual displays for not only advertising, but internal and external communications as well, the flat panel industry is witnessing steady growth across all vertical markets. With the cost of this technology decreasing, more facilities have access to larger-format screens, as well as brighter displays that are designed to perform in heavily lit environments.
“Bigger is better when it comes to flat panels, as long as the real estate is available,” said Rick Albert, vice president, Panasonic Solutions Company. He noted that the manufacturer is seeing a lot of success with its larger-format panels, those in the 65-, 85-, and 103-inch range. “The prices have come down, especially in the 50- to 65-inch range, and the smaller displays are becoming more of a commodity, and are meant for large deployments, such as signage.” He added that Panasonic is also addressing the need for specialized monitors, such as those utilized in patient rooms in hospitals, as well as critical view monitors for the broadcast industry.
Technological advancements coupled with falling prices is what Kevin Schroll, senior product marketing manager for large format displays at Samsung, attributed to the substantial headway that digital signage has made recently. “It is making more sense for end users of all sizes to not just convert static poster boards to digital; they are finding a whole new way to connect with and engage with their customers,” he said. He noted that LED backlight technology addresses concerns surrounding green compliance and total cost of ownership. “As digital signs are becoming much more prevalent and more businesses are concerned about the cost of running those screens from a maintenance perspective, LED backlight is a better technology.”
Rachel Karnani, product manager for large screen displays at NEC Display Solutions, observed that the purchasing decisions surrounding digital signage are starting to be driven by departments other than IT. “There are specific benefits that you can get from digital signage, such as target marketing,” she said. “You can get that brand manager excited about how they can better spend their marketing dollars by delivering a more targeted message, which is what digital signage allows you to do.”
Gary Bailer, director of product management for information system products at Sharp, noted that for flat panels, one of the largest growth areas is in higher education, especially in the area of emergency notification. “There is an increasing need for universities to take responsibility for quickly notifying students and faculty about any security issues that may be occurring on the campus, and one of the technologies that is helping with that is digital signage,” he said. “In an economy that is trying to rebound, this is one area where it’s difficult for customers to say that this isn’t a priority for them.” He added that corporate campuses, as well as healthcare facilities, are also investing in this technology as a means of circulating rapidly-changing information. At InfoComm, Sharp unveiled several new models, including 60-inch high-brightness panel and video wall technology that incorporates local dimming in the interest of reducing energy consumption.
While each manufacturer is competing with its own set of features, Brandon Tarnow, brand manager at Mitsubishi, pointed out that they are also working together. “The new trend is figuring out how we can make both the customer’s and the systems integrator’s lives easier,” he said. The integration of elements such as touchscreens, control systems, and digital media players has grown less cumbersome. “There is a lot more collaboration among manufacturers to make the end user feel like they are getting a lot more from a solutions perspective. For integrators, it’s a lot easier to install these products. They play more nicely together in the sandbox.”
“Systems integrators have to convey the message that this is more than just a display on the wall,” said Brandon Tarnow, brand manager at Mitsubishi. “A lot of times, I think end users feel like—with monitors specifically—they could go to a local retailer and buy something at a much cheaper price. However, when it breaks six months later, they are at a loss.” The systems integrator’s job, he said, is to convey the message of what a professional display really is, and what that means when it comes to durability and support.
As professional flat panel displays grow larger and feature more inputs, systems integrators offer clients the value of their expertise. “With a consumer, it’s fine to say, ‘It’s got three HDMIs’ and that’s all the consumer needs to know,” said Rick Albert, vice president, Panasonic Solutions Company. “In a commercial environment, the client may need a more sophisticated version of HDMI. They may need DVI. They may need HD-SBI. It goes on and on, and this is where the integrator comes in.”
Carolyn Heinze is a freelance writer/editor.
ViewSonic’s VX2753mh-LED features an LED backlight 27-inch, ultra-thin widescreen monitor with up to 40 percent energy savings compared to other 27-inch monitors. Environmentallyfriendly and mercury free, the VX2753mh-LED offers full HD 1920x1080 resolution, two HDMI inputs, external power supply, 1ms response time (through over-drive technology), 30,000,000:1 MEGA dynamic contrast ratio, book stand option, and SRS Premium Sound. The aspect ratio adjustment feature automatically senses the input signal and will not stretch a 4:3 signal, but instead, will position the image in the middle of the screen with sidebars.
Mitsubishi Touchscreen Overlay
Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions America adds interactivity to its professional LCD monitor line with touchscreen overlays from Assist Company, Ltd. These overlays are touchpanels custom-built to fit the Mitsubishi MDT521S 52-inch and MDT651S 65-inch monitors. Both are designed with precision to maintain image integrity while bringing responsive, single-touch and multi-touch interactivity to the MDT521S and MDT651S LCD monitors. The overlays recognize the presence of up to four points of contact on the surface. This multi-point awareness adds advanced functionality that enables simple gestures, such as a pinch, to zoom. They can also be used to activate predefined programs with a click, drag, double-click, or right-click by touching the screen.
Panasonic PH30 Series
Panasonic Solutions Company PH30 displays are available in two models, the 42-inch TH-42PH30 and the 50-inch TH-50PH30. The displays feature a high contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1 and wide-range color reproduction surpassing the HDTV standard. These qualities also make the PH30 Series a fitting digital signage solution within restaurants, hotels, museums, hospitals, and higher education applications. The PH30 Series’ energy efficiency has increased by approximately 35 percent compared to its predecessor, the PH20 Series. Additionally, the PH30 Series plasmas offer a 100,000-hour service life compared to the 60,000-hour average of competitive LCD professional displays. The new displays also feature a front glass panel approximately 10 times as strong as that of an LCD, so they can be installed without the need for additional protective glass panels.
Sharp Electronics’ 70-inch class AQUOS Quattron LED LCD TV, model LC-70LE732U, features 62 percent more viewing area than a 55-inch model, as well as full HD 1080p resolution, full-array LED backlighting, and Quattron quad pixel technology. Built-in WiFi delivers network functionality, such as video streaming from the internet. Sharp is extending this line of displays this summer with a three other models, including a 3D model.
NEC P402 and P462
NEC Display Solutions of America has enhanced the P Series product line with two new models. The 40-inch P402 and 46-inch P462 are direct replacements for the P401 and P461 and are 1-inch thinner in depth. These professional- grade, industrialstrength LCD displays are intended for 24/7 operation and include additional thermal protection, internal temperature sensors with self-diagnostics, and fan-based technology to prevent overheating. The P402 and P462 are ideal in quick-service restaurants, airports, public information environments, healthcare facilities, and retail stores. An added technology to these models is the open pluggable specification (OPS) compliant expansion slot, a standardized option slot that aims to simplify digital signage installations. Two other new features are the DisplayPort output and integrated DVI loop-through capability, which eliminates the need for a daisy chain module.
Samsung UD Series
The UD Series (UD55A) is designed for customers looking to deploy missioncritical video walls that can run 24/7 with super narrow bezels. The display is 5.5 mm wide from bezel to bezel and features direct-lit backlight panels and advanced cooling. The UD Series incorporates LED backlight technology, which provides benefits over traditional cold cathode fluorescent lamp (CCFL) backlighting. The display delivers uniform brightness levels with lower power consumption with native contrast ratios of up to 5,000:1. The technology allows for reduced energy consumption ranging from 30-50 percent compared to conventional CCFL-backlit LCD displays. In addition, the 1.2-inch chassis depth provides a significant weight savings of up to 35-40 percent compared to traditional CCFL backlit displays.
Sony Electronics’ GXD-L65H1display has full 1920x1080 HD resolution, and is designed to withstand high-volume traffic areas, such as hotel lobbies, shopping malls, train stations, airports, stadiums, school campuses, conference rooms, control rooms, and broadcast and video production facilities. The display is housed in a dust- and tamper-resistant aluminum chassis, with a tempered glass panel for more screen protection. Its high brightness and contrast make it suitable for semi-outdoor applications at a range of distances, and its panel is treated to better prevent reflections. An auto brightness control feature with sensor is also included. The display is firmware-upgradable over a local area network and can mount to compatible Sony digital signage players. It has a field-replaceable, tamperresistant glass front panel, and built-in LAN connectivity allows a single operator to control and monitor the status of several networked displays.
LG EzSign TV
The EzSign TV from LG is a digital signage solution that incorporates live TV without added hardware. The solution allows business owners to show branded ads and TV broadcasts. Users choose from more than 30 templates to add images and text. The content is transferred to the EzSign TV display via a USB drive. The LD452B series is available in 32-inch, 42-inch, and 47-inch, the latter of which have HD 1080p display capability. The series features contrast ratio of 60,000:1, as well as HDMI and USB components.