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ISE roundup: digital signage innovations

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While there is a general increase in demand across the signage spectrum, the need for novelty among existing users ensures a raft of innovative new solutions at each major trade show. ISE 2017 was no exception.

For the digital signage integrator on the lookout for something new, the OLED and direct LED technologies on show at ISE 2017 would have attracted their interest. While it was originally announced in time for InfoComm 2016, ISE was many visitors’ first chance to see Sony’s CLEDIS (Crystal LED Integrated Structure) technology.

CLEDIS

This is a large-scale canvas solution, that builds on Sony’s self-emitting display capabilities, but with ultrafine LEDs as the light source. “Our new technology is a giant new type of canvas for unprecedented flexibility and creativity in high-end visual simulation and entertainment,” said Damien Weissenburger, Business Head of Corporate & Education Solutions at Sony Professional Solutions Europe. “Compared to other solutions currently available for large-scale display it’s a leap forward in depth, contrast, wide viewing angle, colour, resolution – and pure visual impact.”

SONY CLEDIS (2)Sony’s big-screen display solution CLEDIS delivers an 8K visual experiences by combining a high-contrast image (more than 1,000,000:1) with a 1000 nit brightness and a nearly 180 degree viewing angle.

The new canvas technology is designed for a range of commercial applications where intricately detailed video displays and realistic simulation is required on a large scale. Applications are said to range from industrial product design and manufacturing for automotive, through to displays in theme parks, museums, high-traffic lobbies and showrooms, as well as boardrooms and broadcast studios.

CLEDIS offers a borderless design, allowing multiple tiles to be seamlessly aligned so no visible gaps can be seen. The result is an immersive, true to reality picture with a near 180 degree viewing angle. This self-emitting display technology uses R (red), G (green), and B (blue) ultrafine LEDs mounted on the display surface, with each pixel emitting light independently. Each pixel is composed of one separate R, G and B ultrafine LED, with the light source only 0.003 mm2 in size. The remaining surface area is more than 99% black.
The technology’s isotropic luminescence is said to deliver the same colour reproduction and brightness for viewers at any angle.

The high black-to-surface ratio delivers a high contrast ratio in both light and dark viewing environments. The surface-mounted light source also dramatically improves the efficiency of light used, with corner-to-corner image uniformity in terms of brightness and colour, even on a large screen. A brightness rating of 1000 cd/m2 (1000 nits), producing imagery with 10-bit colour depth and a wide colour gamut (approximately 140% of sRGB).

The scalable canvas is made up of multiple display units (each measuring 403 mm × 453 mm) that can be joined together to create a large-screen display with a size and aspect ratio dependent on the application. The display units have no borders, so can be combined to create immersive, large screen visuals that are completely seamless and appear visually to be made from one single panel.

QLED

As one of the leaders in signage displays, it came as no surprise to see Samsung introduce a range of innovative at both the entry-level and the high-end of the signage market. Mordor Intelligence reports that the global digital signage market is valued at $14.9 billion, with a projected annual growth rate of eight percent. The market is projected to grow to $21.9 billion in value by 2020. In terms of global digital signage unit sales Samsung has ranked number one since 2009, and having extended its global market share to 28.1 percent in 2015.

The year ISE, Samsung’s innovations included two additions to its SMART Signage range – the quantum-dot QLED Signage UHD displays and the fine pixel pitch IF Series LED signage. Of the two, Samsung’s QLED Signage UHD displays (55- and 65-inch models) is arguable the more innovative. The quantum dot integration enables Samsung’s new QLED Signage to balance light and dark brightness and preserve gradation for a presentation that is said to be deeper and more realistic than that offered by conventional alternatives. These refinements produce deeper blacks, sharper whites and more precise colours regardless of surrounding room lighting.

Beyond an enhanced presentation, the QLED Signage displays offer business users greater flexibility to share content. Suitable for both landscape and portrait orientations, the QLED Signage displays provide a wide viewing angle capable of attracting customers from a distance. Designed for long-term performance, the QLED Signage displays also represent a sustainable, energy-efficient alternative.

Samsung IF series

As LED signage gains in popularity, Samsung’s fine pixel pitch IF Series LED displays (P1.5, P2.0 and P2.5 models) are described as providing an ideal combination of excellent picture quality and intuitive management. Scheduled for full release very soon, the IF Series LED displays combine Samsung’s industry-best video processing and picture tuning technologies with a host of customised features to add realism and detail to static and interactive content. Through specialised scene adaptation, each IF Series LED display analyses and fine-tunes grayscale levels within each frame to maximise contrast, and remove glare and visual distortion. A complementary dynamic peaking setting enables displays to achieve peak brightness levels up to two times higher than that of standard LED maximum brightness specifications.

The IF Series LED design is best described as a minimalistic design, offering both full-front and rear access. Users can enjoy convenient, quick-turn maintenance without sacrificing a neat and seamless installation. The advanced cabinet structure eliminates the LED module and catwalk space gaps that accompany more challenging frontal layouts. This alignment ensures improved picture uniformity regardless of cabinet and LED module positioning.

The IF Series’ user-friendly design allows the displays to “get up and running” faster, and with minimal ongoing maintenance required. Samsung’s complementary LED Signage Box (S-Box) transmits UHD content across multiple screens without requiring expensive splitters or external conversion boxes. Users additionally can configure signal redundancy through their existing cable structures, and conveniently create, schedule and deploy content from a single location through the embedded MagicInfo platform.

OLED

LG has really pioneered OLED as a commercial display technology, and used ISE 2017 to show innovations including LG’s Flexible Open Frame OLED and In-Glass Wallpaper OLED, plus its new Ultra Stretch LCD signage solutions. OLED technology allows screens to emit light without the need of backlighting for superb images with the deepest possible blacks, while providing wider viewing angles than conventional backlit displays. OLED displays are both thin and flexible, and LG says that its next-generation Flexible Open Frame OLED signage will allow customers to change the curvature of their installations in either landscape or portrait modes. The curvature of the screen can be changed even after installation, allowing for both convex and concave displays.

OLED solutions demonstration included the 65-inch Dual-View Curved Tiling OLED signage. The display consists of eight connected double-sided, flexible OLED. Each panel offers 4K Ultra HD image quality, with 3,840 x 2,160 individual pixels with system on a chip (SoC) and 128GB of internal memory working together to deliver perfect UHD playback, without the need for a separate PC or media player.

Designed with dual-sided ultra-slim OLED panels in a glass pane, LG’s In-Glass Wallpaper OLED signage is perfect for boutiques, art galleries and other businesses that want to add a sophisticated touch to their interior décor. Available in both standing and hanging versions, the In-Glass Wallpaper OLED solution allows businesses the freedom to utilize signage in their space as effectively as possible.

LG also introduced its 65 and 55-inch OLED Video Wall solution and a split-screen capable 86-inch Ultra Stretch digital solution, offering ultra-wide 58:9 signage with minimal bezels capable of displaying up to four simultaneous images. The 86-inch Ultra Stretch solution utilizes LG SuperSign media editor software for images and video content. LG’s largest 88-inch Ultra Stretch digital signage display handles 32:9 aspect ratio images and are split-screen capable to provide an even more immersive experience. Equivalent to two 49-inch panels connected side-by-side, this display can render fine details and is a good signage solution for kiosk displays, financial institutions and dining establishments.
One other technology making its debut at ISE 2017 incorporated LED diodes in a transparent film which can be installed over windows. The film will be incorporated into more digital signage solutions set to roll out later this year.

Back-end enhancements

NEC Display Solutions used ISE 2017 to debut its P and V Series, a range of professional MultiSync large format displays for digital signage and presentation applications. The new displays support the NEC Open Modular intelligence (OMi) platform, enabling the creation of tailor-made solutions for signage. Scalable computing options include the Raspberry Pi compute modules or Open Pluggable Specification (OPS). Slot-in PCs can be seamlessly embedded into the displays to create a fully integrated solution.

The P and V Series line-ups each consist of three models, ranging in size from 40 to 55 inches. Described as elegant and slimline, both new series of displays allow for an unobtrusive integration. They are suitable for installations in retail, leisure and museum environments, for corporate signage solutions, passenger information, quick service restaurants and all other public spaces.

Thanks to the brightness of both the P and V Series displays, businesses can share messages that will be well received with superb readability even in bright light environments. The V Series features a display brightness of 500 cd/m², providing clarity and legibility under common ambient light conditions. The higher 700 cd/m² brightness level of the P Series, guarantees captivating readability in applications where ambient light is high. Both Series use an anti-glare surface to reduce reflections effectively.

Tobias Augustin, Senior Product Manager Large Format Displays at NEC Display Solutions Europe commented: “Many industries today are looking for ways to enhance their digital signage solutions and use more advanced applications. The P and V Series’ modular expansion feature gives them a head start in achieving that. Future ready, the displays give companies the flexibility to upgrade the power of the displays at any time by seamlessly integrating one of NEC’s options for OPS Slot-in PCs, Raspberry Pi compute modules or signal interfaces for content feed and computing.”

The MultiSync P and V Series also delivers enhanced imaging performance via its SpectraView Engine. This is a colour stabilisation solution which for flagship P Series allows full control of brightness, colour, gamma and uniformity for precise and natural reliable images. Additionally, the combination of high end colour performance with extreme viewing angles driven by hardware calibratable 12 bit Look Up Tables (LUT) enable viewers to benefit from consistently accurate rendering of images.

The P and V Series large format displays are described as easy to install and operate. Using the free multi-display management software NaViSet Administrator 2, companies can manage all connected display devices from a centralised location. Suitable for 24/7 mission critical applications, the meticulous selection of industrial-grade components and careful design of the P and V Series is said to ensure continuous operation in demanding usage scenarios.

New players

Digital signage is such a dynamic sector right now that it almost inevitably attracts a number of new, or least newly invigorated, players. Sharp, for example, launched its Sharp Open Architecture Platform for digital signage, which offers end users easy ways to download, store and play content directly from a Sharp display. The Platform is a combination of new hardware and software from Sharp and partnerships with third-party signage software providers.

Sid Stanley, Sharp’s General Manager, Visual Solutions said: “The launch of this new Sharp System-On-Chip (SoC) platform and our significant investment in refreshing our digital signage range are clear indications that we now aiming to increase our attractiveness to our channel and the market. We now have full range coverage, and the right combination of great quality hardware, software, solutions, and partners to challenge the status quo.”

Sharp offers its own free signage software, Sharp Digital Signage Software as default on its new displays and has also opened its SoC platform for Android to software vendors. Sharp Open Architecture Platform combines Sharp’s hardware, an SoC environment for Android and a choice of proprietary or third-party software players for retail or corporate signage. Sharp announces that it has partnered with software companies CityMeo, Grassfish,
Videro, and easyscreen.~

Sharp showed three new display ranges with a range of connectivity options: Sharp displays offer a powerful embedded SoC, capable of supporting 4K content, plus Sharp’s Digital Signage Software; or an integrated USB Media Player with Sharp Content Distributor software; or a Mini OPS (Open Pluggable Specification) expansion slot to flexibly expand the range of user applications.

Developed with Intel, Mini OPS is a modern, smaller format of OPS. Three types of Mini OPS modules were introduced at ISE (PC, Wireless, and HDBaseT) to give users more display and interactivity options. The compact Mini OPS modules are described as easy to install, use and maintain, and the future-proof high-speed connectors support the transmission of 4K content.

The next generation PN-R range of high-brightness displays for 24/7 use now includes a Mini OPS extension slot for easier display integration into a wider range of user applications. The updated PN-Y range of ‘plug and play’ displays features an embedded USB media player with automatic default to USB player in the case of signal interruption. This means that the screen should never go blank. The PN-Q is a new range of large size, affordable displays ideal for meeting rooms or retail signage applications, with sizes from 60” to 90”.

The PN-Y and PN-R displays can be installed face up or face down, a feature which is unique to Sharp for some sizes, and also for both portrait and landscape applications. They feature all standard signal inputs, and will be available in various brightness categories and sizes, ranging from 32” to 70”.

ViewSonic

ViewSonic - Front page story - April 2017

ViewSonic’s new CDM series displays will come embedded with Enplug’s digital signage application.

ViewSonic enhanced its digital signage credentials at ISE 2017 with the announcement of a collaboration with Enplug. The partnership will launch with Enplug software running on ViewSonic’s new smart signage displays. ViewSonic believes that is the first time a display manufacturer has preloaded an industry-leading software into its displays, creating the first truly plug-and-play digital signage solution.

Rather than relying on an external connection for display computing, ViewSonic’s new CDM series of smart signage displays are its first to feature an embedded computer. ViewSonic’s new CDM series displays will come embedded with Enplug’s digital signage application, enabling ViewSonic users to turn their digital displays into intelligent two-way communications platforms.

Enplug’s content management system is cloud-based, which allows users to manage an infinite number of displays from anywhere in the world. Users have the ability to pick and choose the automated content they want to use from the software’s App Store, including popular social applications such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. ViewSonic’s customers will now be able to utilise Enplug’s easy-to-use software to improve the way they communicate using their digital displays.

Panasonic

panasonic-af1cmyk

Panasonic’s TH-55 AF1 features the Android and HTML5 based OpenPort PLATFORM. This System on a Chip (SoC) solution allows third-party software to be installed without any specific development.

And, finally, we turn to perhaps the potential sleeping giant of digital signage; Panasonic. Surprisingly, Panasonic chose ISE to debut a “cost-effective and self-contained solution for high-impact digital signage”. A System on a Chip solution, the OpenPort PLATFORM display series is designed for commercial signage applications. Described as “simple, reliable, and expandable”, the AF1 Series features an Android and HTML5-based open source platform and is equipped with a 1GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of internal storage.

The AF1 Series is Google certified, which allows software companies to create specialised apps for digital signage and other applications. Verified apps can be installed remotely from the Panasonic app server or added locally using a USB or micro SD Cards.
An example is Wondersign, which supports Panasonic’s Android-based OpenPort Platform available in the AF1 series of professional digital signage displays. The slim-bezel AF1 Series is offered in 42-, 49- and 55-inch sizes and is engineered without fans for reliable 24/7 operation in both landscape and portrait orientation. A robust edge-lit 500 cd/m2 IPS panel assures excellent off-axis visibility.

The screen-embedded media player solution eliminates the need for an external device by integrating the software directly into the display. Once connected to the Internet via a wired or Wi-Fi connection, the Wondersign media player app can be installed directly from the display’s main menu. After pairing it with the Wondersign platform, the display is ready to play the user’s digital signage content.

NEC Display Solutions used ISE 2017 to debut its P and V Series, a range of professional MultiSync large format displays for digital signage and presentation applications.

Panasonic’s TH-55 AF1 features the Android and HTML5 based OpenPort PLATFORM. This System on a Chip (SoC) solution allows third-party software to be installed without any specific development.


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