NEC Zooms In On Digital Signage


Rolls out MultiSync 37-inch monitor, hopes to entice partners to follow along


NEC Display Solutions has pushed its technology—and is hoping to move its channel partners—into a new realm of wide-screen, multipurpose digital
signage with a new 37-inch monitor it says can be used for a variety of commercial solutions.

The Itsaca, Ill.-based company rolled out its MultiSync LCD3735WXM Wide-Screen LCD—a 37-inch monitor aimed at high-end "pro-sumers" but also aimed at commercial digital signage applications.

The system is shipping with an entry street price of $2,299.99, NEC Display Solutions said, an area that puts it in the sweet spot of the SMB and digital signage spaces.

The new MultiSync is built with an HDTV tuner, along with VDA, DVI and HDCP video connectivity. In terms of viewing quality, the system runs with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 9-millisecond response time, with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768. NEC Display Solutions executives say that the higher-level video quality is needed for public digital signage solutions, including airport flight displays as well as commercial retail and teleconferencing.

The system also has detachable speakers and a detachable base, which provide for more potential configurations in signage solutions, the vendor said.

Unlike the consumer or low-end PC peripheral segments, the commercial digital signage space has been viewed as a higher-margin, solution-rich opportunity for the channel—and that's a segment in which the company says it's looking to grow.

Earlier this year, market- research firm Display Search measured NEC Display Solutions' market share in North America for the second quarter at 2.9 percent—with its highest market share within the past year hitting the 3.4 percent mark. That makes it one of the strongest pure-play display makers in the region, but it also widely trails other vendors that sell displays, including Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard and Acer.

Solution providers have been generally supportive and given a thumbs-up to NEC Display Solutions and its channel programs.

"NEC, across the range, makes good products—no question about it," said Bill Zinck, an account manager at Avidex, a Bellevue, Wash.-based integrator. "For us, the digital signage market is growing."

Zinck said his company is focused on solutions and integration, and that with vendors, Avidex is product-neutral. "We tend to evaluate products as they come in," Zinck said. "We go with the manufacturer that seems to have the best display at that size. NEC is always a player in this area."