Digital Signage Splash: Test Center Reviews Four Displays

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

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Hewlett-Packard LD4720 Digital Signage Display

Hewlett-Packard LD4720 Digital Signage Display





Hewlett-Packard introduced 42- and 47-inch digital signage products in September, both of which feature multitouch displays and second-generation Intel-based content players as options. The company sent the 47-inch LD4720 to our lab for review, and testers were mostly impressed with what they found.

The first thing that set the HP display apart was its sturdy steel cabinet. The LD4720 is built to operate 24x7 and doing so will stay within the confines of HP’s three-year warranty. HP further distinguishes itself by including three cables, one for each of its DisplayPort, HDMI and VGA ports.

Also present is an Ethernet port, through which the included Sign Manager software controls the monitor’s settings, keeps tabs on its health and can schedule its hours of operation (also possible through an RS-232 port). To get the Sign Manager software to work properly on our 64-bit Windows testbed, it had to be set to execute in compatibility mode for Window XP SP3.

Sign Manager can be used to control most of the monitor settings accessible through the unit’s on-screen display, including the setup of tile mode, input, A/V quality, backlight brightness and so on. In addition, the software can be used to set up alerts, add security to limit access, perform software upgrades and send text messages to any or all screens on a network. This useful tool can be used to control a single monitor at a time or any number of units in a group. Input ports also can be labeled, but only through the OSD. The LD4720 also includes a built-in media player. Upon insertion of a memory stick on the unit’s single USB port and entering a four-digit password, the LD4720 browses the files and feeds them to the player, which supports MP3 and AC3 audio files and MPEG, Xvid and AVI video files. For sound, HP offers a 10-watt speaker kit (connected via bare-wire speaker outputs); the LD4720 lacks built-in speakers.

HP’s digital signage display stands 42.5 inches wide by 28 inches high with the optional table stand, which consists of two separate legs, each fastened with two screws. Once in place, the table stand does not allow the screen to tilt or swivel. Rubber feet under each leg keep the monitor firmly in place, but any attempt to swivel the monitor causes the legs to twist slightly as the steel uprights cause each leg’s plastic base to spread. The legs lack holes for bolting the display into place (a trait common to all four monitors in this article).

Display characteristics were excellent. Using factory default settings, the contrast test displayed all 32 color levels distinctly; all black levels were visible and all but two white saturation patterns were discernible. Heat dissipation was another matter. After about an hour of operation, the screen temperature was measured at a rather warm 105 degrees at its hottest, and between 101 and 103 degrees elsewhere. The vent at the top of the unit’s back side peaked at 134 degrees, and measured about 114 degrees everywhere else. The LD4720 consumed between 230 and 247 watts during tests. The screen brightness is rated at 700 nits.

Weighing in at 57 pounds, it would have been beneficial to have carrying handles included -- which is a small but welcome feature for installers. Also, when using the table stand, which lifts the unit less than 3 inches off the tabletop, testers found it difficult to plug cables into the down-facing port panel, which is visible only from underneath. This panel is most easily accessed when the unit is installed overhead.

HP was unable to provide us with its PC module -- the Signage Player mp8200 -- in time for this review, so we’re unable to report on the company’s whole solution. But with the features and software of the LD4720, and its 42-inch counterpart, HP has a solid offering for the digital signage market. The company was set to begin shipping the new units in October; pricing was not immediately available.

NEXT: LG 42LV355B EzSign TV And Software

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