LED has become the dominant display technology in both the consumer and professional markets. Back-lit LED is used mostly in smaller displays and direct view LED is used in hand-held devices and very large displays such as large digital signs and video walls. What consumers see in the latest television offerings is often driven by what’s already being used in digital signage and video walls.
Some of the trends in the digital signage space, and across visual markets, are increasing resolutions, MicroLED’s, unique installation techniques and high-dynamic-range. LED displays have increased the pixel density, thereby increasing the resolution. As the industry moves toward 4K adoption, customers are looking for UHD options that meet a number of different needs and support a diverse range of applications, proving versatility is another consideration for digital signage customers.
MicroLED is quickly becoming the buzz word in LED technologies as companies race to try and catch up to the Crystal LED, which comes in at 100-times smaller than traditional LED. The CLED technology size allows for the surface area to be predominantly black, which offers unsurpassed contrast ratios.
Creating seamless displays for scalable technologies has always been a request from end users. While mounting techniques try to tighten the gap between display units, Sony has gone beyond that with its proprietary alignment jig that uses microscopic cameras to get never before seen tolerances between units.
Another trend being driven by the professional market and infiltrating into the consumer space is HDR, which is an expansion of the difference between black and white light outputs. On a display, the image produces a more realistic and natural representation of colours that mirrors human perception – showcasing the deepest blacks and brightest whites, all in one image.
The wider colour gamut HDR employs and sharper imagery it creates is rapidly becoming a production requirement and offers an opportunity for the digital signage space. In addition, high frame rate imagery is becoming more prominent for smoother slow-motion with less blur. Together they’re evolving content creation and visualisation, and the demand has made HDR and HFR a necessary option and capability for digital signage.
The future of the LED market
LED companies should work closely with their customers to understand their markets and workflows and ultimately, their challenges. Working hand-in-hand with clients, enables companies to develop and design purpose-built products and solutions that address end user’s pain points. Companies should always be working on improving their offerings through firmware and software updates and new generations, to better reflect the realities of customers’ experiences.
All companies should learn more about their products and how they are being used and spend time investigating the professional marketplace. For instance, we at Sony have come to realise that our solutions, including Sony’s Crystal LED display, are expanding beyond the traditional corporate digital signage applications into other professional segments. We are already seeing interest in the product in digital cinema, which is why we spoke to the market to understand their objectives and then sought DCI compliance. The same approach can be said for other verticals. We show the product, listen to our customer’s needs and design features or complementary solutions to combine with our product to address those needs.
In addition to cinema, Crystal LED is being explored for a number of other complementary B2B and B2C verticals, including post-production, advanced visualisation, thermal imaging, simulation, residential, and supercomputing, among others. Industry giants should take care to understand the intricacies and challenges of each LED market, talking to other leaders in the industry and taking what we learn to help adapt Crystal LED for the future, to ensure the production of high performing, user-friendly and relevant products.