Stunning Digital Signage: New NEC Display Monitors Rock

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As flat-screen televisions are becoming more commonplace in homes everywhere, their business counterpart's numbers are also increasing with the current surge in the digital signage market. Recently, the Test Center accepted an invitation to review two commercial-grade monitors from NEC Display's 20-Series: the LCD6520 and its smaller sibling, the LCD5220.

Respectively measuring 65 and 52 inches (diagonal), the LCD6520 and LCD5220 are both manufactured in ruggedized enclosures. In addition, the LCD5220 is a sealed panel, allowing it to be placed in almost any environment. Both sport an expansion slot that permits users and resellers to slightly customize the display based on its intended usage. This will allow them to adapt to future technologies as well. Current or soon-to-be-available expansion cards include an analog/digital tuner, SD/HD SDI Input and loop-through, a DVI daisy chain card, and a newly released single board computer.

Integrated into the LCD5220 is NEC's TileMatrix, which enables the unit to be used in video walls of up to 25 displays in a 5x5 matrix. When used in this type of arrangement, users will find the ultraslim 19mm bezel allows for a virtually unobstructed picture, whether mounted in landscape or portrait orientation. In addition, a TileComp function takes the bezel size into consideration and compensates for the transition of video from one monitor to the next, making the entire video wall appear seamless.

Due to cooling logistics, the LCD6520 cannot be rotated. It is, however, available in either a landscape or portrait version.

Compatible with the optional SpectraView II Color Calibration Solution, both monitors can receive color adjustment commands directly from a color sensor. Adjustments are made in the monitor, instead of in the video card. This allows for much fuller color range and resolution. Once calibrated, the controls can be locked to prevent accidental or unauthorized modifications. SpectraView II also comes in handy in video wall use, by allowing calibration sets, or profiles, to be created. When used in this way, every monitor can be quickly calibrated to the same profile, which ensures color consistency across all screens.

With full high-definition 1,080p resolution (1,920 x 1,080), the displays' broad range of video inputs include DVI-D (HDCP), HDMI, 15-pin D-Sub, Analog BNC, Composite (shared RCA and BNC), S-Video, and Component RCA. Audio input is by way of a minijack, two RCA connectors, or HDMI.

Video on these monitors can only be described as stunning. Viewing angles are near perfect at 178 degrees for the 52-inch model and 176 degrees on the 65-inch. While viewing a high-definition movie on a Blu-Ray disk, the picture was sharp, colors stood out, and the rapid response time ensured motion was smooth with no streaks. When judged against the 18 test screens of the DisplayMate calibration suite, both models passed each one with ease. Due to the inherent brightness of the displays, some light grays were a little close to white for our taste and there was some minor glare when viewing head on. The very dark blacks made colors pop, and minor shades of the same color were easily noticeable.

Both displays are embedded with NEC's Digital Signage Technology Suite (DSTS), which includes almost 30 features to improve performance and management. They also both come with a three-year, on-site, parts and labor limited warranty.

Regardless of the market, these displays can handle pretty much any digital signage requirement thrown at them. The vivid colors are almost mesmerizing, and the large screen sizes are hard to ignore. Estimated street price for the LCD5220 is $5,499. The landscape version of the LCD6520 is $12,999 and the portrait version sells for approximately $14,499.

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