ISE 2018 Day One Impressions – So Many People, So Many LED Vendors

I saw a tweet from someone this morning that suggested Day 1 of ISE pulled in 32,000 people, and it felt like that in most of the halls. Crazy busy. Jammed walkways. I don’t understand the idiots who stop in the middle of hyper-crowded main walkways to have a group chat. Get out of the freaking way!

Anyway, a very busy show – with the exception of the new tent ISE put up out front, which had Google (meeting/conferencing stuff), Lenovo (gear) and mostly startups. Despite its primo location out front it did not have a lot of people wandering through, which would/should be troubling when there are record crowds in the rest of the place.

I did not even get to Hall 8, which is the digital signage hall at a back corner. My day was spent in meetings and tours with some of the display guys, with a particular focus on LED.

Samsung made a big splash at CES with its super fine pitch LED product called The Wall. It looks beautiful, but the thing had a railing maybe 12 feet back so viewers couldn’t get too close. It is micro LED, but only kinda sorta. Micro LED is something that will come up more and more in the marketplace, and what it really means will get abused. Companies like Apple have invested a lot in micro LED with the goal, presumably, of getting iPhones and watches on the market using nano-level LEDs as the screens. These huge walls don’t need anywhere near that pixel density, so they are more micro in the sense that the LEDs are smaller than what’s used in the majority of what we know as indoor fine pitch LED.

I also got a look at Samsung’s cinema screen product, which is already running in a handful of movie houses around the world. It replaces projection with fine pitch LED, in this case 2.5mm. Because there is a normal setback for seats in cinema, 2.5mm is really all you need for pitch. I thought it looked largely indistinguishable from projection, but would completely yield to cinema industry people who know what they are looking at. The interesting thing to me is how a cinema that would not need a projection room at the back opens up more rows of seating, which for a busy movie means more revenue.

There are lotsa lotsa LED guys, from the majors to the Shenzhen LED Add Some Names Technology Corporation kinds of companies that are entirely unfamiliar. The finest pitch I saw was Leyard, which had a 0.7mm prototype display while Liantronics had a 0.8mm. Anything under 1mm kinda all looks the same, though.

I found a company called Cedar LED, from China, that does all of its production using Chip On Board, and had a full series of displays that have a hardened coating on them, so the fragile LEDs are protected (which can be an issue with fine pitch LED).

I am doing this on the run, so here’s a pile of tweets that highlight some of what I saw. Gotta head back to the show!

Peerless has since added stickers, so the thing is getting Nascar’d, as well. There is a bicycle shop on way to RAI. May have to pop in and buy some more bling (Rich Ventura from NEC had hip surgery a few weeks back, so can’t walk too far).

Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes

Editor/Founder at Sixteen:Nine
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than a decade. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He's based near Toronto.
Dave Haynes

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