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Buyer's Guide to Digital Signage Displays

Despite the recession, digital signage is on the rise, though adoption may stabilize in 2009. "We still see growth," says Chris Connery, vice president of PC and large-format commercial displays for DisplaySearch. "Projects started in 2008 will continue on in 2009."

Sam Taylor, president of AV distributor Electrograph, is only slightly less optimistic. "The digital signage market will show growth that'll be somewhat tempered by the economy," he says. While the market catches its breath, though, there are several display trends to watch this year. Durability is a high priority in the signage market. Perhaps the biggest indicator of a display capable of withstanding a digital signage environment is the warranty. "It's hard to talk to resellers or end-users about the ins and outs of how liquid crystals make a display last longer, so [vendors] back it up by offering a three-year warranty versus the traditional one-year warranty," Connery explains. Some companies are adding ruggedizing features, such as NEC's forced-air cooling, which Taylor says is a selling point where displays run 24/7. Other companies add protective glass overlays and discreet IR solutions that aren't programmable with universal remotes. "If an integrator were to install a consumer TV in a restaurant, anyone could get a remote control and flip channels," Taylor says.

Moreover, the growing popularity of videowalls is inspiring thinner bezels, especially for restaurants. "There's a push right now for the installation of electronic menu boards," Connery says.


LG Electronics
www.lgcommercial.com

LG Electronics

LG Electronics

Model: M4224C
Pricing: Contact vendor
Warranty: Limited 3-year parts and labor
Class size: 42 inches
Resolution: 1080p
HDMI connectivity? Yes
Network connection: RJ45
Control capability: RS-232C
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait
Bezel size: 16.9 mm
The M4224C is a full HD 1920x1080 resolution digital signage LCD monitor that features new LAN control, videowall control, and an ultra-slim bezel. LG uses a "public display" panel for this model, which is optimized for use in portrait mode orientation and is resistant to image retention.

Model: Stretch Screen Series
Pricing: $4,600 and $3,060
Warranty: Limited 3-year parts and labor
Class sizes: 38 and 29 inches
Resolutions: 1366x398 (M3800S-BN) and 1366x480 (M2900S-BN)
HDMI connectivity? No
Network connection: Not available
Control capability: RS-232C
Orientation modes: Landscape
Bezel size: 31.75 mm
Suited for retail environments and hard-to-fit locations, including restaurants and lobby displays, LG's 29-inch class (M2900S-BN) and 38-inch class (M3800S-BN) Stretch Screen LCD HDTV digital signage monitors feature slim-display technology and are roughly one-half the height of traditional LCD displays. Additionally, the displays offer 1,000:1 contrast ratio for clear images and an RS-232C input for control and content delivery.


Mitsubishi
www.mitsubishi-presentations.com

Model: LDT Monitor Series
Pricing: $2,995-$18,995
Warranty: 3-year parts and labor
Class sizes: 32 to 65 inches
Resolutions: 1366x768 and 1080p
HDMI connectivity? Yes
Network connection: Not available
Control capability: RS-232C
Orientation modes: Landscape, portrait, or universal
Bezel size: 43 mm
Engineered for rapid video and data response, Mitsubishi's LDT Series LCD monitors are optimized for video display or messaging content. With native 1366x768 and 1080p resolutions, users can effectively engage an audience with video and digital display in retail, education, and corporate applications.


NEC Display Solutions
www.necdisplay.com

Model: MultiSync 20 Series
Pricing: $1,899-$4,499
Warranty: 3-year limited
Class sizes: 40, 46, and 52 inches
Resolutions: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p
HDMI connectivity? Yes
Network connection: Not available
Control capability: RS-232 for multiple monitor control, DDC/CI
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait
Bezel sizes: 15.5 mm x 15.5 mm (LCD4020); 16.5 mm x 17 mm (LCD4620); 19 mm x 19 mm (LCD5220)
LCD4020, LCD4620, and LCD5220 have a durable, rugged design that starts with an additional thermal layer on the panel, a sealed panel for protection from the elements, metal enclosure, sturdy hand grips, and premium components. Protective glass versions of the display will be announced this month.


Panasonic
www.panasonic.com/proplasma

Model: 11 Series (PH and PF models)
Pricing: $1,280-$7,850
Warranty: 2 years
Class sizes: 42, 50, 58, 65, and 103 inches
Resolutions: 480i to 1080i
HDMI connectivity? Yes, via plug-in boards
Network connection: Not available
Control capability: RS-232, optional IR
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait in PF models, landscape in PH models
Bezel size: Varies; contact vendor
These plasmas can be mounted horizontally or vertically and offer blend dual-picture functionality, which overlays text information onto base motion images, while also enabling superimposing of a motion image onto a text message. An onboard weekly command timer automates display operation. Users can also check the signal via remote system monitoring capabilities. In addition, the company's 103-inch, $69,995 TH-103PF10UK is the largest commercial plasma available in the world, with a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and a 100,000-hour service life.


Planar Systems
www.planar.com

Planar Systems

Planar Systems

Model: M-Series
Pricing: $2,800-$20,550
Warranty: 3 year (40-52 inches); 1 year (57-70 inches)
Class sizes: 40 to 70 inches
Resolutions: 720p and 1080p
HDMI connectivity? No
Network connection: RJ45
Control capability: RS-232, IR remote
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait
Bezel size: 16 mm
Built to endure the rigors of industrial and professional use, the LCDs offer commercial-grade panels resistant to image retention, low operating temperatures, programmable operating hours to increase panel life, rugged metal chassis with scratch-resistant surface, protective front glass option, VESA mount design that withstands four times the weight of the display, no front panel buttons (IR remote can be disabled to prevent malicious activity), remote system monitoring, and locking internal cable connections.


Sharp
www.sharpusa.com

Model: PN Series
Pricing: $4,550-$14,225
Warranty: 3 years
Class sizes: 52 and 64 inches
Resolution: 1080p
HDMI connectivity? Yes
Network connection: RJ45
Control capability: RS-232C
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait (PN-S525); landscape (PN-S655)
Bezel sizes: 48.6 mm x 44.6 mm (PN-S525);
70 mm x 58 mm (PN-S655)
The PN-S525, designed for use in both landscape and portrait mode, and the PN-S655, designed for extended use in landscape mode, offer high image quality and performance. The displays feature a new LCD component panel for improved resistance to image retention, as well as additional inputs including HDMI and RJ45 for networking. Also part of this pro LCD monitor lineup are the PN-S525P and PN-S655P, each with an integrated protective acrylic overlay for high traffic areas.


Samsung
www.samsung.com

Samsung

Samsung

Model: LCD Digital Information Display (DID) Series
Pricing: $250 to $20,000
Warranty: 18 months
Class sizes: 32 to 82 inches
Resolutions: 720p and 1080p
HDMI connectivity? No
Network connection: Not applicable
Control capability: Not applicable
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait
Bezel sizes: 2.7 mm x 4.6 mm (super narrow) and 15 mm (narrow), 30-35 mm (normal)
Samsung LCD offers a wide range of digital information displays suited for indoor or bright outdoor environments. The LCD DID displays are available ruggedized–for 24/7 use in a variety of applications–and basic–for more limited retail use. Sizes range from 32 inches to 82 inches diagonal for single-panel displays and 40 inches or 46 inches diagonal with narrow bezels for tiled videowalls. Each comes equipped with a heat shield and a heat spread sheet and are housed in airtight casings.


Sony
www.sony.com/professional

Model: FWD-S42H1, FWD-S47H1
Pricing: $2,800, $3,500
Warranty: 3-year parts and labor
Class sizes: 42 and 47 inches
Resolution: 1080p
HDMI connectivity? HDMI to DVI cable or directly via option card
Network connection: RJ45
Control capability: IR remote and LAN port; RS-232C via option card
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait
Bezel size: 19 mm
Designed for high brightness and high resolution in a range of commercial installation applications, including digital signage, the LCDs have been rated for 24/7 operation in portrait and landscape use. They have full 1920x1080 resolution–ideal for displaying content in stadiums, arenas, and event halls; for showing trailers in movie theaters; or for featuring promotional content in retail settings. They're also designed to accommodate Sony's VSP-NS7 HD player, with screw holes so users can mount the player to the rear of the display.

Model: GXD-L52H1
Pricing: $6,500
Warranty: 3-year parts and labor
Class size: 52 inches
Resolution: 1920x1080
HDMI connectivity? HDMI to DVI cable or directly via option card
Network connection: RJ45
Control capability: IR remote and LAN port; RS-232C via option card
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait
Bezel size: 127 mm
Designed for digital signage and emergency information display in high-volume traffic areas. With full HD resolution of 1920x1080, this 52-inch LCD panel is housed in a dust- and tamper-resistant aluminum chassis. It has a field-replaceable, tamper-resistant glass front panel, as well as a field-movable Sony logo, so it can be changed between landscape and portrait modes. Built-in LAN connectivity allows centralized control and monitoring of several networked displays. It can be flush-mounted with little need for ventilation, and the lack of external air holes gives users more installation flexibility.


ViewSonic
www.viewsonic.com

Model: CD Series
Pricing: $1,299-$1,999
Warranty: 3-year limited on parts and backlight
Class sizes: 32 to 46 inches
Resolutions: 720p, 1080i, and 1080p
HDMI connectivity? Yes
Network connection: No
Control capability: RS-232
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait
Bezel sizes: 44 mm (CD4220); 14 mm (CD4230)
The LCD product series can be ruggedized via external enclosures and upgraded with a networked media player and digital signage software. The displays can be daisy-chained via RS-232 into a 5x5 videowall.


Westinghouse Digital
www.westinghouse.com

Model: D42FMP1
Pricing: $2,799
Warranty: 3 years
Class size: 42 inches
Resolution: 1080p
HDMI connectivity? Yes
Network connection: Not available
Control capability: RS-232, IR remote
Orientation modes: Landscape and portrait
Bezel size: Contact vendor
The 42-inch D42FMP1 LCD display monitor is designed for use in shopping malls, sports venues, or any public location. It showcases images and content in landscape and portrait modes and uses Westinghouse Digital's 1080Pure for 1080p resolution out of all HD connectors. DayBright technology allows for high-contrast viewing day and night; expansion modules support signage add-ons. Monitors come with handles on the back for easy movement and installation and are encased in a metal frame for durability.



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