In its May 2014 issue, AV News reported on a Futuresource survey that that revealed that worldwide shipments of front projectors grew year-on-year by 6% to 2.12 million units in CYQ4 2013. In the same issue, it was also reported that worldwide shipments of professional flat panel displays increased by 8% quarter-on-quarter in CYQ4 2013 to reach 567,000 units, finishing the year with 20% volume growth, again according to the latest research from Futuresource Consulting.
Of course, the attach rate is unlikely to be anything close to 100%, but the fact remains that, worldwide, the display manufacturing sector, in a single quarter, created 2.68 million opportunities for somebody to make and sell a bracket or a mount – and that’s not including all those consumer flatscreen TVs.
No surprise then that every country has at least one, two or three indigenous manufacturers, and a much larger number of imported brands. It’s tough to differentiate particular product ranges under these circumstances, and a degree of commoditisation has inevitably taken place at the entry-level. To balance this, we have seen innovation and specialisation driven by new applications, notably collaborative working and digital signage, and environments, with the most significant opportunity probably being outdoor..
Last month’s InfoComm gave us a chance to look at some of the recent innovations in the mounts and brackets sector – although it has to be said that, after a bumper crop of new launches at ISE, InfoComm was a little quiet in comparison.
Fortunately, there were some exceptions. Crimson AV, for example, is looking to develop the boom in collaboration solutions with its range of monitor arms. Their new DSA Series of articulating monitor arms offers landscape or portrait-oriented monitor positioning while freeing up workspace. These spring-loaded, full motion mounts accommodate monitors and associated accessories weighing up to 30 lb. Once set in the chosen position, tilt and rotation mechanisms can be locked in place – a feature Crimson claims is unique and especially useful for high-use environments such as POS, restaurants, bars, warehouses and healthcare facilities.
Elsewhere in the show, Chief showed the rival Kontour Series monitor arms. Kontour mounts offer innovative features like the Centris Extreme Tilt. Kontour Series K1 monitor mounts are said to create flexible, functional workspaces in a wide variety of settings. The gas cylinder arm powers the K1 mount with dynamic height adjustability. The heavy-duty Kontour Series K2 monitor mounts provide strength, style and ergonomics.
Digital signage is the meat and potatoes of the professional mounts and brackets market, and here relatively small changes can make a significant difference. At InfoComm, Video Mount Products introduced the new FP-LWAB large flat panel wall mount with tilt and articulating capabilities
The FP-LWAB holds most 42in. – 70in. flat panels and rotates up to 45 degrees, with an adjustable tilt of 0 degrees to +15 degrees. The mount comes with mounting rails that accept padlocks for increased security measures. A clip-based cable management system adds to the model’s aesthetics and ease-of-installation. The FP-LWAB comes in a black powder coat finish.
Chief has engineered video wall mount height extender accessories to allow higher sightlines on all Fusion bolt-down solutions.“Almost immediately after we released the bolt-down video wall mounts, we were getting requests from customers for the option to raise the height of the walls,” said Kathryn Gaskell, Product Manager. “These accessories will meet that demand without compromising the safety of the installation.”
The extenders come in two lengths and are designed to raise the height of bolt down mounts by 18 or 36 inches (457 or 914 mm). Larger configurations, like the 3×3 landscape and 3×2 portrait, are limited to 18 inches(457 mm) of height extension.
The availability of enclosures rated at IP 56 and above has created a new and rapidly growing market for outdoor and semi-outdoor digital signage installations. At InfoComm, Peerless-AV exhibited a complete range of outdoor displays and mounts. These included:
• The Xtreme Outdoor Digital Menu Board: this is described as a cost-effective, weatherproof solution for drive-through applications. Incorporating an Xtreme, optically enhanced LCD display designed to withstand the harshest conditions, the menu board is said to offer an easy-two man installation and up to 70% in electricity savings.
• The IP68-rated Outdoor Media Player Enclosure: designed for any outdoor application utilising a display and streaming media player – the enclosure houses the media player, eliminating the need for trenching cables.
• The 2000 nit Xtreme Display that features an optically bonded super high bright panel, making it possible to read content in direct sunlight and in full HD.
• The Outdoor 4K Kiosk Enclosure: this offers a heating and cooling unit, is fully sealed to IP56 and has integrated services
Also on the outdoor trail, the Protective Enclosures Company made announced that, due to growing demand for cost effective TV and digital signage protection, it expects to earn between $5 million and $7 million in revenue “within the next few years”. The company’s key product is The TV Shield Pro. It offers “higher-gauge back-housing and a shatter-resistant optically-clear Lexan polycarbonate shield to protect television screens, built-in fan systems and extended warranties”.
Mind the gap
Premier Mounts was also one to pursue the outdoor opportunity with its Habitat outdoor digital menu board, but InfoComm visitors were interested in a handy new tool produced by the company. Premier Mounts has announced, what it claims, is the industry’s first video wall gap measuring device with the GAPit Gauge.
This new inspection tool is said to protect against damage when weight is transferred to the sensitive ultra-thin bezels of displays in video wall installations. This damage could result in image quality degradation, and costly repairs and replacement if the recommended gap specification of .050” is not maintained vertically and horizontally.
Premier Mounts recommends, as a final step in the installation process, using the GAPit to inspect and precisely measure the gap between displays with a simple swipe, and adjust the gap if needed.“Installers battle a variety of alignment challenges in video wall installations,” states Rich Pierro, co-CEO of Premier Mounts. “The ultra-narrow bezel displays get damaged from weight transfer into neighbouring displays. This happens during installation and alignment, from uncontrollable structural movements, and from thermal expansion. When this happens, damage that occurs to displays will affect the visual experience and lead to costly maintenance or replacement.”