LCD Lobby Displays
Dec 2, 2009 12:00 PM, By Jay Ankeney
The latest LCD options incorporate robust and interactive feature sets.
While digital signage screens are charged with vying for the fickle attention of by passers-by, a lobby display is positioned to provide helpful information to people who actually need to see it. Whether welcoming people to hotel registration desks, enabling the self-serve purchase of tickets at a theater, or providing the day’s conference schedule in a convention center, lobby displays are usually greeted with smiles by those who seek them out.
Lobby displays are becoming increasingly interactive with a growing range of touchscreen technologies including infrared, optical, capacitive, projected capacitive touch (PCT), dispersive signal technology (DST), or surface acoustic wave (SAW). These enable lobby displays to answer specific questions from those who need guidance. Lobby display installations are also expanding their scope into broad multi¬panel videowalls with dynamically shrinking bezels separating each screen while hugging the surfaces they are mounted on with ever narrower designs. Today’s lobby screens are also being required to run on far less energy than before.
In addition, lobby displays often need to be able to sit in either portrait or landscape orientation, and sometimes even have redundant power supplies so they can run around the clock. This may also bring with it the requirement for increased venting or even a cooling system. Depending on deployment, a 46in. screen size is considered optimal for most lobby displays, although even screens in the 20in.-to-30in. range often qualify depending on location; some kind of built-in protection features are also needed to keep preying hands from screen surface and adjustment controls. Because of all these higher capabilities and expectations, lobby displays are housed in metal enclosures and usually qualify for a three-year warranty instead of your consumer 90-day to one-year plan.
Lobby displays that will be used in a videowall installation, need to have some internal software that spreads the content across neighboring screens as well as an ultrathin bezel.
Most critically, lobby displays frequently need more input options than average. Depending on its purpose, a lobby display may need one or multiple HDMI inputs, the VGA jack to take in the output of a computer, or the ability to connect to various kinds of internal cable networks or go worldwide with Internet protocols. They also carry a slot for memory cards or USB sticks that can feed localized, customized content.
The Digital Out Of the Home (DOOH) segment of the video presentation market is enjoying robust growth. Although the lobby display market segment is too specific to be tracked accurately by itself, DisplaySearcha worldwide leader in display market researchhas gathered overall statistics for DOOH commercial displays in general measuring 26in. and larger. DisplaySearch predicts that by the end of 2009 a little more than 1 million DOOH LCD displays will have been shipped worldwide, and a little less than 7 million units by 2015.
Here are some of the LCD monitors being offered by major companies for lobby display installations.
At next month’s CES, AOC will be showing an important new approach for LCD lobby displays that focuses on expanded options for content processing and delivery. The company’s M92, a 19in., 16:9 LCD display with a fully integrated Intel Atom N270 processor, built-in webcam, and loudspeakers, rides a new wave of PC production that emphasizes accessibility, efficiency, and style. The M92 allows the user to perform Internet functions as well as standard office applications without the need of a bulky tower or cumbersome wires. It comes out of the box fully loaded with useful peripherals including wireless LAN, a four-in-one memory card reader, four USB ports, and a Super Multi DVD drive. The Intel Atom processor requires minimal power, and even when fully operational, it only requires 35W of power, earning an EPA Energy Star rating by requiring almost 80 percent less power than a traditional PC.
Introduced two months ago, the 46in. ALM46Z1 LCD display from Akira focuses on image with a contrast ratio of 3000:1 and a 1366x768 native resolution. It has ultraslim bezels (2.4mm on the right/bottom and 4.3mm on the left/top) to give the appearance of a continuous image across a matrix of displays up to 16x16 in size. A removable electronic compartment lets you service its electronic parts without dismantling its swing-out wall mount, and its patent-pending technologies include the open-frame design that allows for sufficient airflow without fans. Unique to Akira’s swing-out wall mount, the Auto Alignment Parking System for the ALM46Z1 LDC display provides reference poles for precise alignment during installation, and the Stay Cool Air Duct System provides two separate ducts for airflow, taking advantage of the chimney effect with added units in a matrix. The ALM46Z1 has an optional autocolor matching feature to present a uniform image across all screens.
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