Friday, July 15, 2005

What a surprise: bigger screens better for digital signage

From VAR Business:

"Digital signage is a collaborative experience, and yet until now there hasn't been an efficient and effective way for integrators and end users to find providers who really understand digital signage and can deliver results," says Brad Gleeson, president and COO of Poulsbo, Wash.-based ActiveLight, a nationwide distributor specializing in advanced display products.

Annual sales of large LCDs (30-plus inches) and plasmas will top $4.6 billion in 2010, up from $2.5 billion last year, according to market research firm iSuppli. More than 90 percent of 2010 sales will be in digital signage, indoor entertainment venues, transportation hubs and conference/training rooms. Education and niche markets, such as medical imaging and command/control rooms, will account for most of the remainder.
LCD technology is challenging plasma in critical-performance factors as well as size. Film-quality video requires a response time of 16 milliseconds or less to eliminate flicker. Several vendors' large displays now match the 16-ms mark, while Samsung and NEC set the pace at 8 ms. Most vendors now offer contrast ratios of 500-1 to 800-1, ample for most commercial uses.

But plasma retains its edge in very high-performance video. A 10,000-1 contrast ratio may seem like overkill, but Neal Goldsmith, Sony's product manager for large displays, says medical-imaging and film-production specialists need all the color depth that Sony's FWD-42PV1 42-inch plasma delivers. Samsung's latest plasmas also offer 10,000-1 contrast, while other vendors fall between the range of 1,000-1 and 3,000-1 for now.

Plasma also has made progress in power consumption and panel life, two of its biggest vulnerabilities vis-a-vis LCD. "Our new 42-inch plasma [the FWD-42PV1] draws 260 watts compared to 400 watts of older models," Pickard says. "That translates into longer service life and lower cost of ownership." Plasma and LCD displays now claim typical service lives of 60,000 hours.

Plasma remains the choice for pure video, while LCDs are better suited for mixed video/static content. The latter category is where the most sales growth is expected, according to iSuppli. LCD sales will grow from last year's $442 million to $1.7 billion in 2010, while plasma sales will fluctuate around $2 billion per year.

Read the rest of this interesting article here.

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