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New Digital Signage Gear Takes Center Stage at Expo

Nearly 200 companies are expected to share their wares at this year's Digital Signage Expo, taking place this week in Las Vegas. From 3M Touch Systems to Zaag Technology, companies from around the world will be showing off displays with skinnier bezels, 3D capabilities and more efficient energy management; demonstrating enhanced feature sets in software; and proclaiming new partnerships.

3D without Glasses
3D displays that don't require special glasses will be shown by distributor Stampede Presentation Products. The company will be showcasing Ultra-D, a proprietary 3D technology from Stream TV Networks that allows for 3D viewing on PCs, picture frames, tablets, TVs and other displays. The depth of the image can be customized by the user. In a statement the companies promised that Ultra-D would deliver a wide-angle viewing experience that doesn't require the viewer to be in the "sweet spot" to experience the 3D effects.

According to Stream TV CEO Mathu Rajan, products that use Ultra-D will be added to Stampede's catalog "later this year."

Dazzling Displays and Signage
LG Electronics USA has introduced a 55-inch class LED display with what it's calling the "narrowest bezel" in the industry. The 55LV75A Direct LED Display has a bezel that measures 3.5mm, allowing for the display to be set next to other displays in a near-seamless video wall. The company said its display technology has a screen surface temperature tolerance of up to 230 degrees Fahrenheit, which mitigates picture quality problems related to overheating.

The company is also showing a new 60-inch class LED display that features an embedded media player with 8 GB of flash memory built in. The 60WL30MS can handle landscape and portrait orientation and uses "local dimming" technology to allow for settings that consume less energy while still providing appropriate brightness.

New this year is LG's 26.5-inch Square Display, which can be combined with displays in other form factors for a unique signage matrix.

All of LG's LED displays are certified under the Energy Star program and use "EcoSmart" features to manage energy components. For example, an intelligent sensor feature allows the installer to program the display to respond to the ambient light in the room and adjust the brightness accordingly.

Rear view of the thin-bezel, 55-inch ViewSonic CDP5560-L
Rear view of the thin-bezel, 55-inch ViewSonic CDP5560-L

ViewSonic is expanding its CDP display line, which is intended for 24/7 usage. According to the company, the 42-inch CDP4260-L and 55-inch CDP5560-L both boast "slim" bezel design and connectivity options that include HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, D-Sub, YPbPr and CVBS for quick installation and control of multiple high-definition devices. Displays can be tiled in either a portrait or landscape orientation. ViewSonic said the displays have a 50,000 hour lifespan--between five and six years when run continuously. They're also Energy Star-compliant.

Christie Digital Systems has tweaked its QuadHD84, an 84-inch LCD panel with 3840x2160 resolution (using four times as many pixels as a standard 1080 pixel high definition screen) and a 60 Hz refresh rate. That was introduced in July 2013. The new edition has an increased brightness of 500 nits and can be set up for portrait or landscape mode.

Christie Brio, a tool for display-oriented collaboration
Christie Brio, a tool for display-oriented collaboration

The company is also showing Christie Brio, a tool for display-oriented collaboration. When client devices are connected to Brio either wirelessly or by wire, the content from up to five devices will automatically appear on whatever display is being used. The idea behind Brio is to eliminate the need for cabling, adapters or dongles and to allow people who are in the same room or in separate locations to share content through a single display.

Delphi Display Systems is demonstrating a new indoor digital menu system for food vendors. Insight Engage allows eateries to change what's displayed on their menus with a mouse click. The system also accommodates multi-unit operation to display unique products, pricing and promotions at specific locations or during particular times of day.

Visix will display its latest version of AxisTV, digital signage software. The browser-based application allows the user to publish messages, media and alerts to displays, desktops, Web pages, room signs and Smartphones throughout the facility, campus, or locations in different cities.

The company is also demonstrating RoomBoard. Introduced last fall, this is a touchscreen "wayfinding" setup that displays room availability, allows scheduling at the screen and integrates with Visix's MeetingMinder conference room signs.

Visix's digital signage products are in use in a number of schools, including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Western Iowa Tech Community College and the University of California, Irvine.

The Crimson AV CLAMP3 display mounting accessory
The Crimson AV CLAMP3 display mounting accessory

Mounting and Extender Accessories
Crimson AV was expected to introduce new mounting solutions for digital signage. The company's CLAMP3 display mounting accessory attaches to a round or rectangular structure up to 3.5 inches in diameter and works with flat, tilt, pivoting and articulating mounts. The PR30 display mount is a wall mount for displays up to 30 inches; it works with the CLAMP3 to provide pivoting in both landscape and portrait mode.

Both Adder Technology and Gefen announced new extension products. Adder has introduced its DV100 and DV120 extenders. The DV100 is an HDMI video extender system that can transmit an HD video stream with audio over a CATx cable up to 160 feet; the DV120 does the same for DVI connections.

"Today's digital signage providers need assured DVI and HDMI extension that deliver pixel-perfect HD-quality digital content," said Vice President Tim Conway. "Our new line is designed to meet this need with failover, remote monitoring over a network and up to 150 feet extension distance from the source."

The ADDERLink DV104T digital video extender
The ADDERLink DV104T digital video extender

The company's new ADDERLink DV104T is digital video extender and splitter with four outputs. The unit can determine if the signage system is operating correctly and video is visible on the monitors; it can also detect whether video is present from the player and whether the cables to the monitors are attached and the monitors are turned on.

Gefen is introducing several products. The new Extender for HDMI 4K is a long-range extender that the company said delivered resolutions up to 4K as well as RS-232 and bidirectional infrared using one SC-terminated fiber optic cable. The company said it works up to 6,600 feet.

Gefen's Wireless for HDMI 60 GHz delivers 1080p high-definition content up to 33 feet in the same room without line of sight.

The DisplayPort extender over 2 LC fibers from Gefen provides point-to-point extension of high-resolution video in the DisplayPort format using two LC-terminated, multimode fiber optic cables. The company said the extender is effective up to 984 feet.

Gefen also announced a 4x Multiview Seamless Switcher for HDMI and a 4x4 Seamless Matrix for HDMI. The first provides switching between four sources outputting to a single display; the display can show one of the sources or all four in windows. The second component can support any arrangement between four sources and four displays.

Partnerships Promise New Integrations
Two companies with potentially competitive media systems are combining forces to produce a digital signage platform that integrates their respective products. BrightSign, which makes the XD product line of media players, and Tightrope Media, which offers the Carousel digital signage system, are working together to develop to address large-scale deployments where both technology lines can co-exist.

During the show, Tightrope was expected to demonstrate BrightSign media players running a stream of Carousel-created social media content, RSS feeds, weather information, template-created messages, videos and live emergency alerts.

"With this integration, Carousel becomes the centralized platform that incorporates all users, content, channels, zones, scheduling and third-party data integration into a single common interface that is easy to use," explained Eric Henry, signage solutions lead at Tightrope. "BrightSign users can take advantage of these comprehensive, advanced features in Carousel to build more dynamic content, while retaining the affordable, reliable BrightSign media players they trust."

NanoTech Entertainment and 11Giraffes are also kicking off a partnership. The two companies will combine NanoTech's 4K media player with 11Giraffes' digital signage software to offer customers a solution that can provide ultra-high definition video, music, apps and interactive services.

"11Giraffes software integrates seamlessly with our dynamic 4K networked media player to provide easy, end-to-end content management that ranges from mixing content to scheduling, network delivery and reports," said Aaron Taylor, NanoTech's Vice President of Sales & Marketing. "With the ability to display content with four times more pixels than current high-definition allows, the NanoTech/11Giraffes 4K solution will definitely make people who are passing by the displays stop for a closer look."

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