The Test Center checks out displays and software from ELO, HP, LG and NEC
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NEC E462 46-Inch Entry-Level Commercial Display With Tuner
With displays ranging from horizontal bar-type screens you might see on subway trains, to gigantic LED displays found in many stadiums, NEC Display Solutions of America offers perhaps the broadest array of digital signage products in the industry, with five signage lines as well as Vukunet, a top-notch content management system, at no extra charge.
For Test Center review, the company submitted the E462, a 46-inch 1,080p model from its E-Series of entry-level commercial- grade television monitors, which also includes 32- and 42-inch models. This year NEC enhanced its E-Series models with an RS-232 port for remote control, synchronizing settings on multiple monitors and disabling local controls. The E-Series now also employs a Basic Digital Information Display (B-DID) panel, which allowed the company to extend its warranty to three years from two.
Like all E-Series models, this large, no-nonsense display is intended for boardrooms, corporate lobbies, educational institutions, health clubs, retail stores, sports bars, waiting rooms and any application that calls for a bright, crisp display that can be controlled remotely using a PC.
It includes an analog/digital tuner, built-in stereo speakers, a media player for MP3 and JPG formats, VGA cable, full-function wireless remote, standard power cord and a table stand. Options include a VESA wall mount and an external dual-core 1.6GHz single board computer.
Setting up the unit was straightforward. With the stand in place and the unit plugged in, the NEC monitor winked to life at the touch of its power button. The control panel is located on the lower right-side edge and includes volume, channel, menu and input controls. Its eight inputs include TV, composite, component, VGA, three (3) HDMI and USB. A left-side panel provides single HDMI, composite and USB inputs plus a headphone jack; the remainder of the input ports are mounted on the rear panel, which also is home to the RS-232 port and an optical digital audio output port.
Out of the box, the E462 passed the contrast test with flying colors. All 32 levels of brightness were visible using the monitor’s default brightness, contrast and saturation settings. Some improvement was possible in terms of black level; black boxes were visible starting with number three. White level had five of the 12 boxes indistinguishable from the background. On the other hand, the E462’s performance in the gradient test was outstanding, with almost no banding visible across shades of gray.
As with most monitors that employ fluorescent backlighting, the E462 runs a bit warm. At its hottest point, the top right side of the exhaust vent measured 103 degrees after several hours of operation. The screen itself measured 101 degrees at its hottest point in the upper right corner. Solution providers should keep in mind that this unit will warm up a room if it’s not adequately ventilated. The E462 drew 158 watts in tests without the tuner. In standby mode, the unit drew less than 1 watt, according to our instruments.
The E462 measures 44.4 inches wide by 32.4 inches high with the stand, 27.6 inches without. For solution providers seeking a bright, versatile display with a wide array of inputs and options, the E462 from NEC Display Solutions is a fine solution. It lists for $899 and is covered by a three-year warranty on parts and labor, including the backlight.
The Future Is Bright
There’s a largely untapped market of digital signs out there that’s as vast as a solution provider’s imagination. With a little creative thinking, even a conservative estimate would put 50 percent of a solution provider’s existing customers in the category of being able to benefit from digital signage marketing of some kind.
Whether used to promote their own products, services and specials, provide information at the point of interest, generate revenue by helping neighbor companies, or setting up a full-blown ad network, all that’s left is for solution providers to dream up the means and select the right products to offer.