Digital Signage Splash: Test Center Reviews Four Displays


The Test Center checks out displays and software from ELO, HP, LG and NEC


 

LG 42LV355B EzSign TV And Software

LG 42LV355B EzSign TV And Software

 

 

 

 

For the digital signage market, the best thing about LG’s 42LV355B EzSign television isn’t its large size or the number of pixels it displays. And it isn’t the unit’s eight inputs or the fact that EzSign TVs are available in 32-, 42-, 47- and 55-inch models. It’s not even the bright picture and efficient power consumption afforded by the LED backlight of our test unit.

While the CRN Test Center considers those characteristics to be good or even great, the best thing about LG’s digital EzSign TV is the EzSign digital signage software that comes with it. This Windows app is so simple to use it took only 10 minutes for us to install the software, create a digital sign and display it on the EzSign monitor. And here’s the best part: It doesn’t require a PC to display signage content -- everything is handled by the monitor.

Here’s how it works:

Once the Adobe Air-based EzSign is installed and launched, it presents four simple steps for creating signage.

Step one is to select a template from a list of 33 predeveloped templates included with the tool. All but eight of the layouts are built around TV windows of various sizes.

Step two is to select images that will be wrapped around the TV window. The software accepts any combination of files in BMP, GIF, JPG and PNG formats and allows for some cropping. Files are automatically converted for display in the layout; display order and transition speed can be altered here with ease.

Step three is to input the text that will accompany the images from step two. A deli, for example, might display the names and prices of today’s special sandwiches. If the layout has a crawl, the text is entered here as well. Font size, alignment, color and other characteristics also are adjusted here to coincide with user preferences and fit. A preview button is available at every step and presents the layout as it will appear at each stage of development. Dummy content is displayed in the TV window in preview mode.

The final step is to preview the finished product and export it to a USB stick. When a USB stick is inserted into the monitor’s USB slot, an interface pops up with a choice to display EzSign content or lists of movies, photos or music. A media player built into the monitor supports all major formats, including AVI, FLV, MPG, WMV movies and MP3 audio files. While bass response is limited, sound quality is otherwise excellent with no distortion. Playback is controlled by dedicated buttons on the remote, which also are used to navigate to the saved signage content. Media can be played only from the USB device; signage can be played from the stick or copied to the TV and played.

LG’s EzSign cannot be updated remotely, however, so it’s suitable for signage networks only if accompanied by a PC. Also, the signage (Adobe Air-based) software is a bit rough around the edges, with bits of broken English and an unintuitive user interface in places. Still, the versatile unit performed well in all three LCD tests. It offers a total of eight inputs: two HDMI, two A/V, component, VGA, cable television (for digital/analog tuner) and USB, each of which can be custom-labeled in the on-screen display using predefined values. The 42LV355B ran cool, at about room temperature, and consumed just 47 watts without the tuner, and 95 watts with.

LG’s 42LV355B with EzSign software is a solid value for solution providers seeking a signage solution that can be locally maintained and used for hyperlocal marketing or to promote in-store specials. The 42-inch unit lists for $1,599, and a 55-inch version lists for $2,899. Both of the LG units include a two-year warranty.

NEXT: NEC E462 46-Inch Entry-Level Commercial Display With Tuner