NEC Display Solutions of America made its annual trek to New York City this week to showcase its broad array of digital signage and projection solutions. For two days at the posh Affinia Manhattan Hotel, the company displayed the latest in technologies designed to keep audience attention, be it for two minutes or two hours.
Among the more striking exhibits was the video wall, which this year was built from 55-inch bricks of the X551UN variety, the 55-inch ultra-narrow unit NEC added to its X Series over the summer. Designed to be used continuously and in combination with other like displays, X Series monitors feature a thin bezel that separates the active portion of one display to the next by just 5.5 mm.
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Shown here in a 3x3 array, these 1080p monitors can handle a matrix of up to 10x10 without the need for a specialized controller. These all-digital monitors include DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI-D inputs, an Ethernet port for automated alerting, network control and communications. Digital loop through and RS-232C permit control of all displays in a matrix as if they were one. The X551UN was released on May 3.
NEC also was showing the 46-inch X462UN, which like the X551UN is about 1.5 inches thin, about the width of a golf ball. "People use slim depth models in hallways and other places where space is an issue," said Keith Yanke, director of product marketing for NEC's projectors and large format displays. "And they use our video walls anywhere they want maximum 'WOW' factor." Even with its VESA mount, NEC's slim depth units protrude by less than four inches in compliance with standards and guidelines set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Yanke said.
Incredibly, slim-depth units also offer an option slot, for which Yanke credits Intel's Open Pluggable Specification (OPS), which attempts to standardize and make interoperable certain aspects of digital signage, and includes a small form factor expansion chassis and installing options. "Using NEC's proprietary format wouldn't have allowed us to slim down the depth this much," he said.
NEC was among the first companies to partner with Intel on the technology, he added, and it will be incorporated in all expandable NEC display products moving forward. All models in the X Series are now equipped with LED back lights and full HD (1080p) resolution, and are available in standard- and low-brightness editions. The latter, which Yanke said use significantly less power, are intended for indoor locations where sunlight or other bright light sources will never be present.
NEC also added 55-inch and 65-inch models to its V Series of mid-quality models designed for almost always-on applications, adding to a line that included 32-, 42- and models. Not to be left out, the company's economical E Series can now be remotely controlled thanks to a new RS-232 port. NEC also extended E Series parts and labor warranties by a year to three years.
In a bit of local news, NEC told me it was celebrating a significant customer. UNIQLO, a Japanese clothing retailer with three stores in New York City, has agreed to purchase more than 400 screens to promote its products to shoppers in its flagship UNIQLO New York Fifth Avenue and other locations. According to Yanke, UNIQLO will use some screens for in-store advertising and product promotions, some others as video walls to display content such as runway models wearing the fashions they sell. The digital content, which reduces the cost of posters and other printed materials, will reportedly be controlled from UNIQLO's headquarters in Japan.