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Digital Signage 2020: Tech Roundup

Think of digital signage as a content distribution platform.

The definition of digital signage systems continues to evolve. As a digital communication platform, it is increasingly driven by content, data, and interactivity. Zoom, for example, sees digital signage as an extension of video conferencing and imagines an enterprise-wide role distributing content and interaction to screens of all sizes. Obviously stadium and arena managers see digital signage as an extension of guest experience and advertising. With this whole value chain in mind, let’s take a look at some of the options available.

digital signage1. AOPEN DE6340 is part of a lineup of Digital Engine media players for commercial and enterprise solutions that debuted last year. The company says these Digital Engine media players are designed to deliver innovative three-, four- or six-screen solutions for QSR (quick-service restaurant) menu boards, video walls, digital advertisements and traffic/information displays. The DE6340 second-generation 4-port digital signage player is the successor to the DE6140. The newer player works with four-panel video walls and UHD menu boards. It’s AOPEN’s first AMD Ryzen embedded processor-based digital signage player with four 4K 60 Hz outputs and HDR support. This continues AOPEN’s use of AMD products to power their digital signage solutions with 4K, rich content and other new technologies. AOPEN’s DE6200, featuring AMD RX-421 embedded SoC, steps up to solve the general lack of triple digital output solutions; it can deliver 4K promotional videos alongside static information like menus and service information. The DEV7610-X6 features an AMD E8860 GPU with six Mini DisplayPorts for multi-screen video wall solutions aimed at premium and corporate locations or critical operations such as control rooms. It features an aluminum front panel.

digital signage2. Black Box Radian Flex Video Wall Platform supports today’s standard of 4K 60fps video displays up to more than one billion pixels for a claim of “limitless” resolution—meaning it will also be 8K ready and beyond. There is also no limit on the number of screens and endpoints that Radian Flex can display to. The solution also supports an unlimited number of inputs. The included SmartFrame technology ensures optimal use of the video wall display area. This feature provides calibration of quality and fit to screen with minimal setup time. Other key features include content manipulation, schedule and restore capabilities, real-time control over displayed content, slide show and more. Radian Flex is offered in two suites: The Radian Flex Suite and the Radian FlexPro Suite. The Flex Suite is best fit for economic video wall installations that are not reliant on fail-safe operation. The FlexPro Suite includes dual controllers to ensure fail-safe operation for mission-critical applications.

3. Chief FCS1U Cable Mount System creates the illusion of a floating screen. The FCS1U Cable Mount System is positioned for retail applications; it allows integrators to discretely install displays into environments without the requirement of conventional load-bearing walls, and enables stores to use displays in the middle of the store or window without blocking products. The system design supports displays size 40in – 80in diagonal and can be displayed in landscape and portrait orientation. Including post-installation display leveling feature, Chief further supports display realignment with the use of the PACFCL Lateral Shift Accessory, which allows for the caballing mount system to be moved left or right, as well as the PACFCB back-to-back accessory to retrofit a second back-to-back screen for increased visual impact.

4. When a digital signage application calls for distributed TVs–for example in a stadium– Contemporary Research has an AV Over IP ecosystem option. A longtime provider of TV distribution over RF, the company started bringing its expertise to IPTV products; the result is three products—the budget-friendly 1080p QIP-DVX IPTV Decoder/Controller and QIP Encoder, and the IP-DXL Control Center. The encoder accepts MPEG2/H.264 IPTV streams and can handle two separate sources; the decoder/controller accept MPEG2 or H.264 single program or multiple program transport streams and are compatible with unicast or multi-cast. The Control Center is the company’s newest product for display control over Ethernet, sending control commands as UDP broadcast data packets to all compatible devices on the network. It can communicate with individual displays, groups, zones, or all displays using either: onboard DX Lite web page, proprietary Display Express Software, or third-party control systems.

5. Epson LightScene projector is a unique option for digital signage, especially in retail environments; it combines classy visuals with a robust content management that includes templates, effects, color filters, and customizable options—like the name suggests it’s somewhere between a projector and a lighting instrument. Users can daisychain multiple LightScene projectors and utilize edge-blending technology for versatile, impactful displays.. A bright visual display system supports up to 2,000 lumens of color brightness and 2,000 lumens of white brightness.

digital signage6. LG XS4F is part of a new series of 4000 nit high-brightness displays specifically designed for visibility in window-facing installations–bright and sun-lit environments such as shop windows. The LG XS4F series of 1080p displays (44- and 55-inch) have a thin profile (3.3- 3.4 inches), slim bezels (6.5mm/9mm and 9.9mm/12mm). Smart brightness control with ambient light detection and technology allows clear visibility through polarized sunglasses utilizing a quarter-wave plate technology. An accompanying webOS 3.0 smart signage platform, enables the use of the display without a separate media player. Both models are designed to operate in a wide range of temperatures and feature a conformal coating on the main board and power board to protect against degradation from dust, iron powder and humidity. Each XS4F display offers a variety of connectivity options, including RS-232 in/out, eight ohm audio out, two HDMI in, DP in/out, DVI-D in, USB in, audio in, LAN, IR & light sensor, and an SD card slot.

digital signage7. LG 55EW5F OLED transparent digital signage display is an ultra-thin, see-through display is pitched in particular at retail and hospitality. The versatile 55-inch class display was designed to claim LG OLED’s premium picture quality while maintaining a high transparency at 38%, higher than can be achieved by alternative display technology. It’s full HD at 400 nits; the screen has a 7.9mm bezel. Accepts HDMI, DisplayPort and USB inputs.

digital signage8. At ISE, Matrox debuted the latest addition to the QuadHead2Go family — the QuadHead2Go Q155 multi-monitor controllers. Featuring HDMI input support on both appliance and PCI Express card form factors, the units are purpose-built to drive four Full HD displays from a single 4K HDMI source, offering a simple, yet elegant approach to digital signage-based video wall designs. Use multiple QuadHead2Go Q155 multi-monitor controllers to deploy artistic and emerging video walls of any type and size. Just prior to ISE, Matrox also announced Matrox D-Series, a new family of next-generation, multi-display graphics cards. These new single-slot graphics cards drive up to four 4Kp60 displays and can be easily combined to output up to 16 x 4K monitors for high-density video walls. The cards work with the full Matrox video wall ecosystem; when used with QuadHead2Go multi-monitor controllers users can power up to 64 1920x1080p60 displays from one system. Also at ISE, Matrox announced the latest addition to the Maevex 6100 Series family: the Maevex 6152 Quad 4K decoder. Built on the same core technology as the Maevex 6100 encoders, Maevex 6152 decodes up to four 4K streams—or many more lower resolution streams—across up to four 4K displays from a single, standalone appliance.

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9. NEC LED-FA015i2-137 Direct View LED Display is a 137” Full HD display, built with NEC’s 1.58mm LED-FA015i2 module–ideal for viewing from 3 to 8 feet away. The FA Series is engineered with multicolor LEDs that NEC designed to improved contrast, uniformity and viewing angles. The FA015i2 provides full HD (1920×1080) resolution with a refresh rate of greater than or equal to 2880Hz. It includes built-in data and power redundancy ensuring the display remains operational in the event of a single controller or power supply failure. No external cables required for installation. Its shallow depth (3.2” installed) and reduced weight allow for greater installation flexibility and also meet ADA requirements.

10. Neoti UHD direct-view indoor LED video wall options feature a modular design that can be configured into standard custom video wall shapes. The range of 600 nit options includes pixel pitches from .93mm to 4.6mm. All are 5000:1 contrast ratio with refresh rates +/- 2800 Hz in a range of power requirements between 40 and 60 W average and 120-185 maximum. All are 16-bit color.

11.Optoma FHDQ130 1080p QUAD LED display is a new comprehensive large display solution with 130 inches (2.88 x 1.62 m) of visuals and 4K compatibility. Setup for the QUAD LED display has a simplified three-step installation process, thanks to an all-in-one design that includes an image processor, centralized power cage, receiver cards and more. The all-in-one QUAD LED display also comes pre-calibrated out of the box, removing the need for additional software management or separate devices. Uniquely, the QUAD LED display is cable-free. The LED diodes are set in clusters of four with a 1.55mm pixel pitch, which allows for a smoother screen surface, 170-degree horizontal and vertical wide viewing angle. The QUAD LED display also features integrated HQUltra 4K image processing technology for image switching and scaling and is compatible with Optoma’s Control Q application for content management and display from mobile devices.

12. Peerless-AV  Smart City Kiosk is designed to be modern, approachable, practical, and endure the rigors of every-day use when unattended. The new all weather-rated solution is ideal for sharing community information, travel, and weather details, as well as wayfinding, advertising, entertainment, and more. Also from Peerless-AV, the Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Display incorporates a patented Dynamic Thermal Transfer system that allows the display to operate in extreme temperatures ranging from -31 degrees to 140 degrees. With the highest environmental rating in its class and a high TNI panel, the Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Display works especially well in direct sunlight without compromising the life of the panel or its color accuracy. Available in 43in., 49in, 55in., and 65in., the display features remote and local monitoring, 2500 nits of brightness, updated input panel/compartment and cord cover, IK10 rated impact-resistant safety cover glass for protection against damage, completely sealed IP68 encasement to ward off any liquid or solid particle ingress, and IR control lockout and button board lockout for secure installations. The Xtreme High Bright Outdoor Display is available now through Peerless-AV direct sales representatives and authorized distribution networks.

13. Planar brought two unique signage options to ISE 2020. The pliable LEDs of the Planar CarbonLight CLI Flex let it bend into curves as tight as 25-inch or 637 millimeters–concave or convex, and can be column wrapped without color shift. The LED modules can also be combined with standard CarbonLight CLI Series cabinets to form unique video walls with both flat and curved surfaces; offered in 1.5, 1.9, 2.6 and 3.9 millimeter pixel pitches. The next-generation Planar LookThru Transparent OLED makes it possible to create truly see-through installations with a virtually frameless glass design by utilizing cutting-edge Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology, eliminating the need for a backlight or enclosure. With 38 percent light transmissivity, the glass delivers the benefits of interactive digital signage while allowing consumers to see the product or scenes behind the display. Available in 55-inch with full HD resolution. Also at ISE 2020, Planar presented a preview demo of an ultra-fine pitch 0.6mm 8K microLED wall. At 216 inches, and in combination with 4-in-1 pixel packaging technology, the new videowall clearly announced Planar’s intention to be competitive in the 8K future.

14.  Premier Mounts’ Convergent LED Mount Series brings an easy bracket system to LED mounts. Adjustability points across the mount tackle instances of extreme wall unevenness to ensure that no seams show throughout the video wall structure. Connector plates are easy to fasten both vertically and horizontally to build video walls of unlimited scalability. Mounts support an array of panel options; most recently a mount was released for Barco XT.

15. Samsung QLED 8K SMART signage was unveiled at ISE, what the company is calling “the world’s first 8K display capable of 24/7 operation.” Model QPR-8K features HDR10+ technology and 100% color volume, plus claims perfect color accuracy and 2000 nit peak brightness. The new signage is designed to be wall-mounted and available in 65-, 75-, 82-, and 98-inch versions. Samsung’s AI Quantum Processor 8K is described as a deep-learning upscaler that can automatically upscale non-8K content to 8K. New features for healthcare include DICOM simulation mode for grayscale, X-ray and MRI viewing (non-diagnostic). The display comes with Samsung’s Tizen 5.5 OS and supports connectivity with up to four different content sources all of which can be displayed simultaneously at 4K. The new signage is compatible with Samsung’s software MagicINFO 8. Available globally during first half of 2020.

Also at ISE, Samsung took The Wall up another 300 inches, creating the 583” 8K The Wall for Business; it actually comes in various configurable sizes and ratios from 219-292” 4K versions and 437-585” 8K versions. The modular microLED display known as The Wall has seen various versions, but this one—pegged at broadcast centers, lobbies, and design centers— is the largest yet. The Wall also features Sony’s Black Seal technology for inky blacks; AI upscaling, and what’s called Quantum HDR for optimum peak -brightness and contrast scene to scene. The bezel-less design supports the variety of sizes and ratios. Under the hood there are actually two models the IW008J and IW008R with the latter offering higher specs in thinness, peak brightness, and refresh rate. The IW008R also features smart functions such as entertainment and ambient modes, Netflix, YouTube, and Bixby voice control.


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