The digital signage market is expected to more than double in size from $4.48 billion in 2016 to $9.24 billion by 2023, according to a report from Research and Markets. Another report from Credence Research shares that optimism, forecasting double-digit growth through 2022. One of the primary drivers of this growth is increased demand for innovative displays based upon advanced light-emitting diode (LED) technologies.
First a little history. LED displays have been around for decades, with the first flat-panel LED TV demonstrated in the late 1970s. Unlike traditional bulbs that use electricity to burn a white-hot metal filament, LED bulbs essentially convert electricity into light. As a result, LED displays are bright enough for outdoor use as billboards and public transportation signage.
However, most “LED” displays are actually liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that use LED backlighting. Even the term “backlighting” is somewhat inaccurate since the LEDs are typically installed in the sides of the display and reflected across the screen.
Today, organic LED (OLED) displays are getting a lot of hype. Instead of being backlit with LED bulbs, an OLED display uses thin, flat films to produce brighter light with less energy. They’re described as “organic” because the films are made of hydrocarbon chains, not metal semiconductors. OLED displays have faster refresh rates than LED-backlit LCDs, use filters to produce a wider array of colors with higher contrast ratios, and offer a viewing angle of close to 90 degrees off center without losing color or clarity. The lack of a shutter array and backlight allows manufacturers to use lightweight plastics instead of glass, opening the door to curved and even transparent displays.
On the downside, OLED panels are expensive to manufacture. The material used to create blue light in OLED technology degrades faster than other colors, which affects color balance and brightness. Because OLEDs emit their own light, there can be problems with outdoor displays in direct sunlight.
A new technology from Samsung promises to overcome these obstacles. Dubbed “Quantum LED” (QLED) it is based on the Quantum dot technology found in Samsung’s Super UHD (SUHD) TVs and Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets. Quantum dots are photoluminescent semiconductor nanocrystals that convert the blue light emitted by LEDs into red and green light. The colors are very pure, so Quantum dots can create vivid hues efficiently.
QLED uses electroluminescent quantum dots to supply colored light directly to the display, eliminating the need to convert LED light. Like OLED technology, QLED makes it possible to control the colors generated within individual pixels without the need for a series of filters. You get the high contrast ratio of OLED in a unit that uses less energy, has a longer operating life and is cheaper to manufacture.
Samsung showcased its QLED technology at the recent Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2017 trade show. Samsung’s QLED Signage UHD displays (55- and 65-inch models) provide a wide viewing angle with color precision and detail at varying levels of brightness. Configurable in both landscape and portrait orientations, the QLED Signage displays also offer greater flexibility to share content in accordance with unique branding and operational needs.
SageNet has more than a quarter century of experience implementing, supporting and monitoring digital signage solutions. Let us show you where digital signage technology is headed and how you can use the latest solutions to your advantage.