For years, LCD has played a small role in the video wall market due in part to the “window pane effect”: large gaps between displays were seen as visually distracting, benefiting other technologies. Now LCD panel manufacturers have developed cost-effective designs that reduce the bezel gap between two panels, and are offering new products to capture market share and profits in this growing segment.
In 2009, Samsung was only supplier to provide a SNB (super narrow bezel) LCD panel with 7.3 mm gap (in tiled displays, the key metric is “active to active,” measured by the spacing between the closest active pixel to the bezel of one display to the closest active pixel on the adjacent display, rather than the bezel gap). Now, Sharp, LGD and AUO are also developing SNB LCD products. For example, LG Display will begin mass production of a 47” LCD with only a 5.2 mm gap in the 2nd half of 2013, and is expected to showcase a new product with less than a 4 mm gap at InfoComm 2013.
LCD is actually a follower in SNB design, with plasma displays showing a 2.2 mm gap in tiled displays in the past. However, plasma display production is declining and we forecast that shipments of “commercial-grade” PDP used for public displays will fall below 100,000 units next year. At the same time, DLP projection and direct view LED are still viable technologies for video walls. Traditionally, DLP projection technology enabled a 1 mm mullion (border or seam) but advancements in the technology have resulting in a zero mullion, which Prysm’s laser phosphor display technology also boasts. A new technology in direct-view LED displays has enabled 1.5 mm pixel pitches, which will enable LED to compete with SNB LCD not only based on pitch but in terms of brightness and color uniformity.
Next week at InfoComm in Orlando, we expect to see continued competition between these technologies, and at our FPD Conference at InfoComm13, we will be discussing these and other issues in great detail.