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Big Screen Brightness and Clarity: Up-close and Personal

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From the towering, brilliant monoliths in Times Square to attention-commanding casino glitz to digital signage that curves its way into the nooks around airport baggage carousels, the opportuni- ties for communicating through digital video are staggering. But no longer are integrators and clients bound to viewing distances of a dozen feet or more. The technology that enables those impressive video displays is already evolving beyond long-range viewing displays, achieving mind-blowing heights of detail and clarity now at distances only a few feet away. This opens up LED video displays to applications such as retail, command and con- trol, and other traditional uses currently served by a number of display technologies that include plasma, LCD, and now LED technologies, which together make up a $2 billion display market that is growing at a healthy 15 percent clip annually, according to Intel. With so many options, where do you begin? Starting at the end result—the application and type of media to be used—will lead you to the tech- nology that's right for the installation. A View to a Thrill It's one thing to wow sports stadium spectators with giant video screens that are viewed from a distance of 150 feet. But creating those engaging experiences for customers walking down the aisle in a supermarket changes the game entirely. A survey of the market currently using and seek- ing high-resolution displays reveals a vast range of public and private spaces, encompassing a number of commercial and government video applications. From Fortune 500 companies to civic municipalities, the opportunities are ready for integrators to explore. Retail sales make up more than a quarter of the U.S. economy, and the spaces that retail inhabits are increasingly vertical in nature, often targeting specific demographics. This presents an opportunity for AV installers to help retailers engage customers through visual experiences that set a mood, or generate new revenue streams, such as digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising. But close-up viewing of high-resolution video isn't limited to public areas like shops and malls. Private spaces are also highly targetable for appli- cations of incredibly detailed wall displays. Command and control centers represent a large segment of customers for these products. Businesses such as gas and energy companies have mission-critical operations where every pixel counts—especially in a crisis situation. How they receive, view, and process vital information can make the difference between averting disaster and succumbing to it. In crisis situations, command and control quickly becomes the most important asset of any business or organization, including government. In its fiscal year 2016 budget, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security names "Unity of Effort" as a key reform, with the directive to "re-orient and bolster command and control" functions. These reforms are a focal point of its $41.2 billion proposed appropriation. Check Your Tech So how close is up-close for these new video walls? It's all in the details. A key factor is resolution, which is measured differently depending on the technology. Plasma and LCD screens are measured in screen resolution, such as the standard high-defi- nition of 1080p, while LED screens are measured by pixel pitch, or the distance between individual LEDs that make up the overall picture. For exam- ple, an LED screen with a 6mm pixel pitch has an optimal viewing distance of 18 feet, while a 2.5mm pixel pitch cuts that distance to just a few feet. While high-resolution video wall displays come in a variety of technology formats, the differences aren't trivial. What you choose can steer plenty of variables: picture and build quality, warranty, longevity of parts, and more, all of which affect your client's happiness and your positive reference. Plasma displays are valued for their progressive Big Screen Brightness and Clarity: Getting Up-Close and Personal 2 8Jim Beaugez, APR, is an accredited commu- nications professional and writer with more than a decade of experience in the MI, pro audio, and AV industry, on the manufacturing side, as well as writing for publications such as Systems Contractor News. Big Screen Brightness and Clarity: Getting Up-Close and Personal BY JIM BEAUGEZ New high-resolution LED video wall technology that allows close-up viewing can now be used for retail, command and control, and other display applications.

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