Direct view LED: supply and innovation

It wasn’t so long ago that the market for indoor LED was beset with controversy about reliability and the sustainability of some Far Eastern suppliers. Some of this continues, although markedly less, and what there is being offset by the entry of some traditional AV suppliers into the direct LED sector. And, while relative unknowns continue to enter the market, their role is to drive innovation as they seek to differentiate their products.

This year’s ISE provided a showcase of the state of the art in LED and a glimpse of the near future in some cases. One of the stars of the show as undoubtedly Samsung’s QLED 8K digital signage technology, with the Wall in 8K and 8K HDR technology the potential masterpiece in LED signage

Samsung showed The Wall and 8K OLED signage at ISE.

While the wall stole the show, Samsung was keen to underline that the new QLED visual display quality is expected to drastically impact the entire commercial digital signage industry. The future of display signage is expected to include both The Wall 2019 and display featuring Multi-Link LED HDR technology.

Seog-gi Kim, Executive Vice President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics, said: “By introducing 8K in display signage, businesses can deliver impeccable picture quality to their audiences in a way that was previously not possible. The 82″ QLED 8K Signage is just one of the many industry-leading products we are excited to showcase at ISE 2019. We look forward to introducing the global AV industry to the commercial applications of 8K.”

Samsung presented the new 82″ QLED 8K Signage, which is said to combine combines the market’s highest resolution with Artificial Intelligence (AI) upscaling technology for lifelike images, which enables users to enjoy immersive viewing experiences. The AI upscaling technology in commercial displays will capture the attention of potential customers; and to store owners and advertisers, this means more content production at lower costs and lower resolution but higher resolution display in 8K quality – clever because it allows the traditional ecosystem to maintain existing workflows and production systems.

Installation

Much the same can be said of the techniques and solutions used to deploy the new signage’s slim design, at less than 40mm deep, it is said to provides hassle-free installation by adopting Samsung’s advanced optical technology and blends into any environment in portrait or landscape mode.

With a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels, individual pixels in an image become imperceptible to the human eye. QLED 8K displays are also said to deliver enhanced black colour presentation through local dimming and Quantum Light Control. The display features HDR10+ along with 4,000nit peak brightness.

Availability

Samsung says it will launch a 292″ version of The Wall display in 8K globally in the first half of this year. The Wall is a large-format modular display ideal for luxury residences as well as for business purpose, configurable and customizable to a variety of sizes and ratios from 73″ to 292″.

Its slim, bezel-less infinity design allows The Wall display to blend subtly into its surroundings. The Ambient Mode allows customization of the display by showcasing diverse content such as photos and art and matching the background to complement its surroundings. A customisable décor frame also allows the display to fit any luxury space.

To compliment the display’s visuals, Samsung works with industry-leading partners, including Harman Luxury Audio and Steinway Lyngdorf for sound solutions, Control4, Crestron and Savant for home automation solutions, and Domotz, Ihiji and OrvC on remote monitoring capabilities for channel partners.

Multi-Link technology

Samsung will introduce its second major ISE immolation – Multi-Link LED HDR – said to be the the industry’s first 8K LED HDR technology. Using Samsung’s proprietary algorithm and scene analysis, Multi-Link LED HDR turns any content into HDR quality, without special meta-data.

Multi-Link LED HDR for signage delivers is said to deliver unparalleled image quality, featuring Inverse Tone Mapping (ITM) and Dynamic Peaking to maximize brightness and contrast ratio of the full screen by doubling peak luminance. The Colour Mapping feature also sets an adaptive colour gamut for true and vivid LED colours.

Moreover, Multi-Link LED HDR delivers live content with lower latency through an optimal live mode. It helps eliminate cable clutter of other displays with a 100-meter (330 foot) LAN1 cable.

The Multi 8K Frame Lock function embedded in Multi-Link LED, integrators do not require a separate device to sync content presented on 8K displays. Multi-Link LED HDR supports all Samsung SMART LED Signage products and is also compatible with The Wall Professional and the IFJ Series.

Competition

Where Samsung is given an opportunity to impress, you can bet that LG won’t be far behind – or even in front! LG’s Colour Transparent LED Film is described as “a revolution in display technology”. It is a transparent LED film that can be pasted to an existing glass surface, thanks to its special self-adhesive material – and it certainly caused a stir at ISE. The Film’s transparency endows the glass surface or window to which it is attached with a mystical beauty full of vivid colour.

The transparent LED film is self-adhesive, so it can be easily attached to the surfaces of existing window glass without the need for complicated construction. The size and layout of the film can be customized to fit in to the installation area. It can be expanded by adding more films, in a vertical or horizontal direction, or cut in parallel with the bezel to meet the size requirements.

A high degree of transparency (73%) allows the glass to remain visible even after attaching the film, with no adverse effects on the original design. When the LED is ON, the film effectively displays content and information as digital signage, while also providing a see-through view with superb transparency. When the LED is OFF, the film is unnoticeable, blending into the glass.

The Film delivers a surprisingly wide range of colours using a 24 mm pitch, while still maintaining a high degree of transparency. Applications are not confined to delivering simple brand logos or messages but can be extended to display an entire video or pictures in which full colour combinations are possible.

Curved formats are supported by the Film with the only proviso being, for any installation, that the film must be cut in parallel with the bezel by 1 pixel.

Transparency

Transparency was a bit of a theme for LG at ISE. Integrated Systems Europe is the world’s largest exhibition for AV and system integration. The company’s exhibit at the show featured a revolutionary design concept for car showrooms. Following an intensive ideation session, all the LG employees involved wanted to make car buying journey more joyful and reinvent auto configurator experience with Transparent OLED technology. The showcase collaboration was achieved through dedicated efforts from both LG and ZeroLight. ZeroLight was chosen for its innovative approach and ability to deliver the highest quality real-time automotive

A team of LG Electronics and ZeroLight has been organized for the first time to create something that has never done before with a given tight time frame to be watched by entire AV industry at the exhibition. However, Transparent OLED Signage was not launched for mass market yet and only a few prototypes are available for demonstration and testing. Making this task even more difficult, integration of P-cap touch technology with Transparent OLED Signage was still in the very early stage under development at that time.

In the end, however, LG’s Transparent OLED technology was shown to enable a new way of marketing products by displaying the marketing contents on the screen whilst simultaneously showing the physical product behind the screen. Messages can be delivered through the onscreen visuals interaction with the actual product displayed right behind it on one view point.

LG used Transparent LED Film for this car showroom concept at ISE.

The video wall featured the Audi e-tron and the UI/UX interactions were made by the user on the 55-inch Transparent OLED Signage with touch. The configurator was all controlled via a server, which enabled the following features to be trigger with the controller UI including car configuration (alloys, paints, trim, interior, etc.), animation, environmental switch, and camera position and idle animation. The feature spot plus UX interactions is a linear path so the user could configure the car and gain insights on the key features.

While transparency was the headliner from LG, the company now offers the most comprehensive range of solutions in LED technology. With premium fine pitch solutions of P1.5 and P2.0; the LAS Fine-pitch series with a unit case with 16:9 aspect ratio, as well as light-weight cabinet design and front serviceability; the LAS High Brightness series with high brightness of 2,000 cd/㎡; the LBS High Performance Slim series with a slim unit case design for outdoor applications; and specialist solutions for stadia, LG must surly have LED for all applications.

NEC portfolio

While the Samsung and LG innovations were undeniably eye-catching, the Korean vendors were by no means the only exhibitors to show an impressive LED line-up. NEC marked the first anniversary of its S[quadrat] acquisition with an updated and new LED solutions portfolio of solutions for indoor and outdoor signage, as well as meeting room applications.

NEC has a strong pedigree in direct view (dv) LED, with successful installations at major venues including several prestigious customer references. The new additions to the company’s dvLED portfolio are designed for a wide variety of industries and applications. They represent the outcome of joint developments between NEC and S[quadrat], the LED pioneers acquired by NEC last year.

New solutions

The companies are offering new ‘dvLED’ solutions that are said to provide excellent reliability and uptime, ensuring a future-proofed investment for users.

NEC shows its new dvLED range at ISE2019.

NEC has a strong pedigree in dvLED, with successful installations at major venues including several prestigious customer references. The companies are offering new dvLED solutions that provide excellent reliability and uptime, ensuring a future-proofed investment for users. The new dvLED range comprises the following series, many of which were shown working at NEC’s stand at ISE 2019:

·        NEC FA2 Series (FinePitch Advanced) – wide aspect 16:9 fine pitch modules for standard resolution with intelligent magnetic pixel cards and full front maintenance; for easy installation with integrated cable management for power and data

·        NEC FA2 Series Bundles – To reduce the perceived complexity of dvLED solutions, NEC has launched three bundled offerings. Ideal for meeting rooms and for prestige signage scenarios, the LED FA Series bundles come in sizes 110”, 137” and 165” prvoviding a complete solution for different sized standard resolution screens from HD to UHD. Featuring fine pitch LED module bundles starting from 1.2mm pixel to allow high resolution content viewing and flexible installation thanks to wall-mount or free-standing with an elegant stand.

·        LED Q Series (Square) – easily configured ½ metre square modules that can be flexibly installed to meet the needs of individual projects. Featuring easy service and maintenance, the Q Series provides an ideal solution for numerous applications. Visitors to ISE 2019 can view an impressive art installation using Q Series modules

·        LED S Series (Slim) – designed for shop window applications, the S Series represents an excellent value lightweight solution for the retail sector. At ISE 2019, NEC will be demonstrating a 3.6mm pixel pitch shop-window screen based on the S Series

·        LED A Series (Poster) – an ultra slim and lightweight design for mobile signage and wayfinding applications and roll up replacement, the A Series features true plug and play with integrated media player. Visitors to ISE 2019 can see the A Series being used for reception area digital signage

Applications

Andreas Brockschmidt, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing at S[quadrat] commented on the announcements: “Our customers are looking for ways to impress their audiences and to communicate their message clearly and effectively in even the brightest indoor and outdoor environments, whether it’s for retail, transportation or corporate use.”

“These new LED solutions represent NEC’s and S[quadrat]’s shared values of creating superb quality products and combining them with outstanding levels of support and services. Thanks to our commitment to using the best quality components and following the most robust manufacturing standards, our customers can be sure that their investment in LED technology will be sustainable and future-proof.”

Taiwanese partners

It would be a poor ISE where the Taiwanese majors, or their subsidiaries, had nothing to contribute on an emerging display technology. Indeed, Calibre, a subsidiary of Coretronic Group, walked away with a Best of Show Award for its QUAD series all-in-one LED Display

Described as “extremely light and easy to assemble compared to a standard typical LED videowall” and embedded with the 4K LEDView Scaling solution designed by Calibre, the technology is to be marketed as the Optoma FHD130 QUAD Series LED display incorporating  Calibre’s proprietary HQUltra image scaling technology, the 4K scaler-switcher is embedded making the QUAD an integrated all-in-one LED display.

Taiwanese rival Delta integrated its LED products into sister company’s display range for the first time last year. This year they were back to present a bigger and better showcase. Delta Display Solutions’ FE Series, with its range of LED solutions for indoor and outdoor displays were shown on a sample wall. Delta’s LED Wall Solutions deliver excellent image quality and uniformity thanks to their fine pixel detail, whilst being highly reliable and durable. The LED Wall Solutions excel in high ambient light environments, both capturing the audience’s attention and making for a highly memorable viewing experience.

Holger Graeff, General Manager, Vivitek EMEA, said: “Celebrate Together represents 10 years of our presence in EMEA and at ISE, and we are excited to mark this milestone with new and existing customers, partners and installation professionals alike. Today, Vivitek and Delta present the broadest range of display solutions in the industry, and whatever the application or environment, customers can be assured that our solutions offer class-leading performance, reliability and value for money.”

Differentiation

With the entry of established AV brands into the LED market, together with the support for the technology from some of the world’s major technology manufacturers, does it signal the end for independent start-ups with new ideas? Not if ISE is anything to go by!

NexNovo Technology at Footlocker: the transparent screen allows shoppers to see through the window display.

NexNovo Technology, for example. is the inventor and manufacturer of transparent LED displays. Based in Shenzhen, China, occupying over 10,000SQM
of factory floor which produces over 4,000SQM monthly of transparent LED displays, NexNovo says it is committed at 100% to keep developing the best product in the world by having a solo focus on transparent LED displays.

The current product line-up embraces XT, XRW, NR, NH and NS series, which are designed for a wide range of applications such as retail windows, restaurants, shopping malls, airports, museums, financial institutions, trade shows, events, festivals, media architecture and many others. With a pixel pitch ranging from 2.0mm to 30mm and brightness levels reaching up to 7500nits.

NexNovo’s partners includes brands such  Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz, Land Rover, ZARA, McDonald’s, Primark, 7-11 and many of you will have seen U2’s performance using the technology.

Curved LED

A further innovation was shown by Shenzhen GCL Electronics; the company exhibited curved LED. Founded in 1999 with registered capital of 10 million dollars, GCL has been a professional manufacturer of LED screen for more than 19 years.

GCL integrates research, development, manufacturing, engineering, installing, sales and aftersales services. Headquartered in Shenzhen, China, GCL is staffed with over 300 employees in a dust free workshop which covers more than 100,000 square feet. There are more than 30 high-speed production machines with high accuracy and more than 10 modern assembly lines.

The annual capacity of GCL is over two hundred million USD and it has been granted more than ten LED application products-related patents and certifications in compliance with the ISO 9001, ISO 1400 and ISO18001 standards. Their products have also been certified with multiple standards, including CCC, FCC, CE, ROHS, UL, EMC, and ETL.

Whether these innovations mature into viable and sustainable solutions is a matter of time and further development, but at least there is no sign of ideas or new market entrants drying up.

Shenzhen GCL Electronics exhibited curved LED.

 

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