The show floor at this year’s InfoComm was dominated by developments in LFDs, with product introductions in current and imaging segments, including outdoor, interaction and 4K2K resolution.
After a couple of years where the outdoor LFD market has been left to specialists, the brands are back. LG Electronics showed its high-brightness Shine Out display technology. This is a new outdoor display designed specifically for public spaces outdoors or with high ambient light, such as shopping malls, window displays and kiosks.
The new 47-inch outdoor display (47WX50MF) features LG’s In Plane Switching (IPS) for improved colour saturation and contrast at wide-angle viewing angles. It also provides a temperature tolerance of up to 110 degrees Celsius which helps alleviate the common problem of overheating.
Shine Out deflects ambient light and, when combined with the display’s brightness level of 2,000 nits, should produce rich colour and high levels of legibility – even in adverse lighting. The LCD display has full LED backlighting and 1080p picture quality. Integrators will like the display’s open frame that allows for customisation and easy installation.
High brightness was also a feature of Sony’s InfoComm presence. Additions to Sony’s commercial range include five new models: the 55-inch FWD-S55H2 as well as the 32-inch FWD-32B1, 42-inch FWD-42B2, 46-inch FWD-46B2 and 55-inch FWD-55B2. The new models are designed to deliver bright digital signage content for a range of indoor and outdoor environments.
The FWD-S55H2 model has direct LED backlighting, with brightness rated at 1000 cd/m2. It also has an option slot for additional interfaces such as HD-SDI. A DICOM gamma mode is also available for medical reference use, offering the ability to show accurate X-Rays. The new displays can be controlled via included RS-232C or RJ45 interfaces with Network Display Management tools. These can monitor the display status and control multiple displays over a LAN, VPN or the Internet.
Interactive flat screen displays were very much in evidence. Philips Public Signage new Touch Series employs two different touch technologies. The dual touch option uses optical sensing technology. The multiple touch rage uses infrared. The company also showed new 42-inch and 55-inch commercial displays with conversion software that converts 2D and 3D stereoscopic content into glasses-free 3D content in real-time.
Sharp Electronics previewed its 90-inch LED monitor – claimed to be the world’s largest single panel LED display. Available in the first quarter of 2013, the new 90-inch display features a full array LED backlight and HD 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution. Sharp also showed prototype models of the company’s professional 4K2K products. These have standard Quad HD resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels.
Sharp’s 4K2K range will feature interactive screen sizes of 32, 60 an d 70 inches, plus a 60-inch touch table. Sharp says that the new range is ideal for the healthcare industry, but other applications will include surveillance, control rooms and design. The 4K2K interactive displays should be available in 2013.
Mitsubishi Electric nailed its colours to the 4K mast with the new 56P-QF65LCU monitor, which allows eight megapixels to be displayed on one 56-inch screen. “While some manufacturers have cut 4K from their product lines, Mitsubishi is committed to this necessary resolution,” said Matt Krstulja, national sales manager for Mitsubishi Electric Visual Solutions. “There are many applications, particularly in industrial, health and physical sciences, which need this type of super-high resolution.”
Mitsubishi says the 56P-QF65LCU monitor is designed for small group collaboration. The 4K resolution, explains Mitsubishi, makes it ideally suited for environments that may have limited real estate or in intimate settings where people must analyze dense amounts of data. “Mitsubishi’s 56P-QF65LCU allows one person to observe a wide range of data on one screen. The new QFHD monitor condenses information from a tiled display wall used in electric plants, government and armed forces facilities, police situation rooms, financial control rooms and other environments, sending them to one source for quick and accurate viewing on a single LCD panel. Managers can streamline and supervise operations at one location on one screen for quick and efficient observation and monitoring”.
The 56P-QF65LCU LCD monitor uses a Super MVA LCD featuring 3840 x 2160 pixels with a 50,000 hour back-light lifetime, and has two brightness modes: power-saving normal (480 watts) and bright (540 watts). Sending information to the display requires a computer or display wall processor capable of four 1080p output channels.
Panasonic announced a new interactive plasma range, the PB1 Series. The new displays offer whiteboard and presentation capabilities, and are targeted at higher education and corporate meeting rooms. The PB1 Series features drawing capabilities via a new electronic pen system. This detects and displays the pen position 60 times a second on each pixel.
The system allows up to four pens to be used at once for actions such as written annotation, drawing and moving items around the screen. The system also includes handwriting recognition software. The technology is based on fixed location pixels, and so the device requires no calibration.
The range will be offered in 65”, 85” and 103” sizes, all of which will feature wireless connectivity via a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. The Panasonic Easy Wireless Stick can automatically show users their PC or Mac screens on the display without installing any software or changing any of the computer’s network settings. The PB1 Series requires no connection cables and allows up to 16 PC connections to be shown on the screen at any given time.
The 65” display will ship later in the summer with the others due before the year end.
Rivals Samsung also debuted new dual touch interactive displays. The ME65B and ME75B are overlay solutions which offer a light weight display for commercial and retail customers The displays come with a DVI-out component and content control through RS232C and RJ45 ports. A narrow bezel of 21.5mm allows customers to focus more on content.
Suitable for kiosk applications and product selection in digital signage applications, the 24-inch 3M M2467PW and the 27-inch M2767PW offer 20 and 40 simultaneous touch points respectively. The new displays are part of an expanding 3M multi-touch display offering that already includes desktop products, including the M2167PW (21.5”) and M1866PW (18.5”), and chassis products – the C3266PW (32”) and C2254PW (22”).
“Smart phone and tablet interactivity is now driving users’ expectations for touch, so they expect that any interactive display they encounter will have the same degree of responsiveness,” said Diego Romeu, business operations manager at 3M Touch Systems. Based on 3M’s Projected Capacitive Technology (3M PCT), the company’s multi-touch displays offer the ability to recognise and reject the user’s palms or arms resting on the touchscreen. This helps prevent inadvertent touches while also maximising multi-touch functionality.
The displays also feature a 3M-proprietary anti-stiction surface treatment that allows the user’s fingers to glide across the screen for smoother gesturing and accurate draw capabilities. The displays are Windows 7 compatible and 3M offers drivers for Windows XP, Linux and Mac operating systems.
As new applications and environments for digital signage develop, demand for lower costs displays is forecast to grow. Samsung has introduced the H Series hybrid display, with a built-in TV tuner. The H Series is designed for moderate-use commercial applications, where a consumer TV display may be needed in a commercial space, such as a bar/restaurant, lobby or doctor’s office.
The H Series is said to be ideal for customers looking to make the transition from CCFL, as it provides superior picture quality for a comparable price. The H Series comes with a built-in RS232 port for basic display control functions and USB Media Player.
Further up the range, Samsung’s MD Series promises LED technology at a CCFL price. Samsung says it is speeding up the enterprise transition to LED by making it a more affordable and competitive solution. The MD Series is described as ideal for high-traffic areas, including commercial, public and corporate information displays. The bezel is 17.5mm (bottom 21mm and the MD Series sports an embedded media player for content play and updates.
Finally, Samsung’s new UD22B is a 22-inch square display with a one-to-one format and a super-narrow bezel. Up to 100 units can be daisy-chained and a 1.8mm/3.7mm bezel that supports seamless tiling.
Planar introduced a family of 60″, 70″ and 80″ LCD displays available in wall-mount or free-standing versions, providing customers a wide range of display options for their digital signage applications. The UltraLux Series mirrors the style and aesthetics of today’s consumer electronics.
The zero-bezel, all-glass design, extends to the edge of the display, similar to popular smart phones and tablets. Planar UltraLux displays are available with white or black edge trim and colour options, offering customers the option to select the colour that best suits the design aesthetics of their environment.
The displays have an ultra-thin profile when wall mounted (less than 3 inches. Planar says UltraLux is engineered to reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) when compared to other large-format digital signage displays. The built-in UltraLux Mounting System allows for simplified installations with no additional hardware required.
The UltraLux Mounting System incorporates a kickstand feature that tilts the display away from the wall for easy access to the electronics. This is said to eliminate the need to remove the display for servicing reduces complexity, cost, and service time by up to 70 percent.
With edge-lit LED technology, the Planar UltraLux Series is said to reduce power consumption by up to 60 percent when compared to CCFL technology. Planar UltraLux displays include a full serial and network command set for automated notification and control.
While InfoComm 2012 was dominated by LFD introductions, there was a number of new projector launches that are worthy of comment. On the opening day of the show, TI announced a new DLP chip set which the company says will support broader standardisation of 3D and interactive technologies.
From the late summer 2012 projectors built around the new chips will display content from common 3D formats supported by HDMI 1.4, from virtually any mobile device including tablets, smart phones, laptops and Blu-ray players. A further benefit of the chipset is that it allows projectors to work with any standard input format and any lightsource across the full spectrum of resolutions, including XGA, SVGA, WXGA, 1080p and WUXGA.
“Creating a chipset that makes 3D and interactive technologies more accessible for projector developers is a major step forward for the industry,” explained Roger Carver, general manager for DLP Front Projection. “This helps our customers build off-the-shelf projectors while adding new capabilities at a comparable price point that allows for global deployment while still serving unique regional needs.”
Appropriately, the new chipset also helps facilitate the shift to lamp-free light sources by incorporating features designed specifically for solid state deployment, enabling a wider range of manufacturing options.
Perhaps one of the most commented on InfoComm launches was Panasonic’s entry into lamp-free projectors for mainstream applications. The single chip DLP PT-RZ470 and PT-RZ370 are said to be the world’s first lamp-free projectors with HDBaseT technology. The new projectors use a hybrid LED/laser diode lightsource generating 3,000 lumens and said to have a life of up to 20,000 hours.
The projectors will be made available in two different resolutions, 1080p (1,920 x 1,080) and WXGA (1,280 x 800). Both will have lens shift and features including edge blending and colour matching, Panasonic believes that the new models will appeal to educational institutions and museums, plus applications including digital signage.
The new models are equipped with Panasonic’s Daylight View technology, where a built-in ambient light sensor matches the image quality according to the surrounding conditions. DICOM Simulation mode is also available for use in medical training applications. The new models will also feature a Digital Link connection. Based on Valens HDBaseT technology, Digital Link allows a single cable to transmit uncompressed HD videos, audio and control commands up to 100m (328ft).
The PT-RZ470 Series support 360-degree installation and portrait mode projection. No intricate mirror is necessary to realize these special projections, changing and expanding the way projectors can be used in a variety of environments. The PT-RZ470 and PT-RZ370 Series projectors will be available in Q4 2012.
The current market leader in solid state projection, Casio, showed the American audience two new WXGA Pro Series projectors; the XJ-H2600 and XJ-H2650. The new Pro projectors have 3,500 lumens of brightness from the company’s now familiar hybrid lightsource.
The XJ-H2600 and XJ-H2650 incorporate a wide range of connection options including two RGB computer inputs, HDMI, composite and S-video inputs as well separate audio inputs for computer and video inputs. Outputs include an RGB monitor connection and a variable audio. The built-in 10 watt speaker provides audio reinforcement suitable for most installations.
An RS-232 port provides for control connectivity and the USB enable XJ-H2650 adds wired LAN capabilities for remote control and access. USB models also include compatibility with Casio’s wireless connections software as well as connectivity with mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Mobile) using the MobiShow application.
Meeting room models
In a second announcement from Panasonic, the company introduced, what it claims is, the world’s first1 high brightness compact LCD projector with HDBaseT. This simplifies projector installation, wiring and ongoing maintenance by sending audio, video (including uncompressed HD video), Internet, controls and power over a single Cat5e/6 LAN cable.
The PT-VW431DU offers 4,300 lumens and a contrast ratio of 3,500:1. The new model has Panasonic’s Daylight View Basic technology, which uses a built-in sensor to detect and measure the amount of ambient light, adjusting the image according to lighting conditions. To reduce maintenance costs, the projector is equipped with a pleated micro cut filter, which delivers up to 4,000 hours of service.
Mitsubishi Electric showed upgrades its high-brightness portable projector line with two new DLP models. The wide-resolution WD720U and XGA-resolution XD700U are designed for educators and business professionals who need up to 5000 lumens of brightness but which are easy to set up. With manual vertical lens shift, Mitsubishi says users can place either projector on top of a desk or table, make quick and simple adjustments, and project a high-quality image on a screen or light-coloured wall.
Vivitek showed its offerings for the meeting room sector. With brightness ratings of up to 4,500 lumens, dual-lamp technology and motorised lens-shift, the D5280U, D8800 and D7180HD projectors offer a wide range of installation options. The D5280U is a native WUXGA (1920×1200) projector with a centred lens for simpler set-up. The D8800 features dual lamp technology and interchangeable colour wheels. The D7180HD is a native 1080p extreme short-throw projector for designs that call for smaller, more intimate solutions. For the business traveller, Vivitek also showed the latest in the Qumi Q5 LED pocket projector range.
In the installation category, Hitachi showed its Installation Series 3LCD projectors, designed for large venues. The Hitachi Installation Series models showcased at InfoComm 2012 included the CP-X8150, CP-X8160, CP-WX8240, CP-WX8255, CP-WU8440 and CP-WU8450. The Installation Series features motorised focus, zoom and lens shift. In addition, several Installation Series models feature 360-degree off-axis display, which is ideal for creative applications. The Installation Series has four optional interchangeable lenses to accommodate for different throw distances.
Large lens shift allows users to readjust the position of the image to fit any screen and the centre lens design makes it easy to align the projector. An optional wireless adapter enables users to connect their PC to the projector via a wireless network.
Hitachi also showed the CP-AW2519N ultra-short-throw interactive projector The CP-AW2519N comes with a stand to project the image onto a tabletop surface. The CP-AW2519N communicates via IR and ultrasonic technologies, which Hitachi says increases reliability and eliminates lag time from pen to projection. The CP-AW2519N offers 2,500 ANSI lumens brightness, WXGA resolution and a throw distance of 10 inches from the edge of the projector for an 80-inch (16:10) diagonal image.
The CP-AW2519N also has an RJ-45 Ethernet jack for connection to a local area network (LAN), providing the ability to network, control and maintain the projector from a remote location. A built-in speaker and 10-watt amplifier eliminate the need to connect external speakers. The CP-AW2519N also features an HDMI input.
In the ultra-portable class, Epson introduced its new line of Epson PowerLite 1700-series projectors. These weigh less than four pounds and are as thin as a laptop at 1.7-inches tall. Designed for mobile professionals and corporations, the PowerLite 1751, 1761W, 1771W, and 1776W have popular features including HDMI connectivity on all models and wireless capabilities.
For those customers looking to use existing devices for interactive applications, Chief has expanded its range of interactive mounts. These new solutions convert TVs and projectors into interactive environments. Powering the interactive experience is innovative eBeam® technology from Luidia Inc. Through a receiver built into the mount, a flat panel or projector is quickly turned into an interactive solution. Chief says its interactive solutions are flexible and future-proof, offering compatibility with other popular software and an easy upgrade path for TV and projector replacements.
The IDEA Interactive Cart from Da-Lite provides another option, bringing interactivity anywhere it is needed. The cart uses eBeam technology and features a novel rear projection set-up, eliminating shadows when interacting with the image on the screen. The cart provides large image sizes in a variety of aspect ratios and is height adjustable.
Vidyo and Barco claim to have demonstrated the world’s first 4K immersive video conferencing and collaboration system at the recent InfoComm convention in Las Vegas. The integrated solution offers multi-modal content display capabilities, with rich multi-point HD video communications. The system enables flexible layouts on a single screen and displays up to 16 high quality streams totalling 8 mega pixels – including ultra-high resolution data sharing up to 3 megapixels.
Barco’s complete 140” virtual canvas offers this unlimited layout flexibility at the highest resolution for participants, content or both on the same screen. “The demonstration of the Vidyo and Barco platforms at InfoComm is a unique opportunity to see what is possible when ‘best of breed’ innovations come together,” said Amir Shaked, Vidyo’s SVP of Product Management. “Currently the choice is between hugely expensive telepresence systems or lesser-quality, hard-to-use video conference rooms. We are setting a new standard in terms of telepresence quality, flexibility and price point that create new markets un-addressable by legacy technologies.”
Digital signage at InfoComm
BrightSign announced the AU320 networkable audio solution that integrates messaging playback and background music in retail outlets and other commercial settings. The AU320 is a scalable solution that suits everything from simple background music to single-zone audio integration.
Elo Touch Solutions showed a complete line of Interactive Digital Signage (IDS) touchscreen displays. The Elo Touch Solutions 5500L 55-inch touch display is available with either optical multi-touch or IntelliTouch SAW touchscreens. It’s thinner than existing IDS displays and compatible with optional computer modules that are designed to be easily integrated into a single hardware platform. The company has 42- and 46-inch models, 4200L and 4600L, also with optical multi-touch touchscreen technology.
Visix demonstrated its latest digital signage software applications, meeting room signs, interactive wayfinding designs and a host of other new products. These included AxisTV Version 8.0 includes a completely new user interface and background library, as well as 64-bit support for Microsoft Server 2008. The browser-based interface has been redesigned to provide a cleaner, more consistent content management experience through Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome. Both navigation and workflows have been improved. Visitors were also shown a pre-release preview of a new PowerPoint-based, affordable digital signage solution for cost conscious markets such as small businesses, churches and schools.