Small steps in the flat panel displays market

Flat panel displays form many of the videowalls we see today, but the rate of innovation inside and outside the units has slowed down. With 4K resolution here and 8K on the horizon, what does the future hold for LCD? Paul Milligan finds out.

The use of multiple displays in a videowall has actually been going on longer than flat panel displays have existed, if we hark back to the old CRT units.  Back in the 1980s, very heavy, difficult to install and costly CRT units were installed in a select few retail and corporate projects. Fast-forward to the last decade, ever cheaper and lighter flat panel LCD and the now departed) plasma screens are everywhere, from transport to broadcast, from classrooms to boardrooms.

Sophisticated manufacturing techniques, and increased competition to the Japanese companies which originally dominated the market, first from South Korea and now China, has seen prices continually tumble. We are now at a stage where you can find a 40 or 50-in LCD flat panel in every big supermarket for less than €400.  Fifteen years ago a 50-in panel would have cost 10 times that, and would only have been available through specialist dealers. The blurring between the offerings now available to integrators from the established professional flat panel providers (the likes of Panasonic and NEC) and the ever-improving products from the new entrants from the consumer world (LG and Samsung) has only blurred the picture further for those looking to make an informed videowall choice.

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