Got $431,000 burning a hole in your pocket?

September 4, 2009 by Dave Haynes


And now for a dose of crazy to head into the long weekend.

We bring you the Japanese company that is testing a set of six tiled plasma screens that cost an estimated $431,000 USD.

From TechOn:

East Japan Marketing & Communications Inc and Shinoda Plasma Co Ltd started to test digital signage using the “PTA (plasma tube array),” Shinoda Plasma’s proprietary film-type display, Sept 2, 2009, at Tokyo Station in Japan.

“This is the first time that the PTA has been installed in a public space,” said Tsutae Shinoda, president and chairman of Shinoda Plasma.

In the field test, the two companies explores the usability of digital signage using a large display in a train station, said Takashi Yamamoto of East Japan Marketing & Communications. They will collaborate with East Japan Railway Co, Fujitsu Ltd and Fujitsu Frontech Ltd.

The test takes place at the central ticket gate in Tokyo Station from Sept 2 to 4, 2009, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (5 p.m. on the last day). In addition to 21 kinds of contents such as still pictures and movies, some Web contents including weather forecast will be shown on Shinoda Plasma’s 145-inch curved-surface display.

The PTA to be used in the test has almost the same specifications as the 145-inch PTA that Shinoda Plasma announced in May 2009, said Manabu Ishimoto, a director of the company. The screen size is 3 x 2m, and the resolution is 960 x 720. The thickness is 1mm.

The display is composed of six 1 x 1m PTA sub-modules. Its maximum power consumption is 1,000W. And the weight of the entire signage system is about 180kg.

Ishimoto said that, as digital signage, the PTA consumes less power, weighs less and is easier to be installed than other displays such as LED displays.

“By combining 1 x 1m PTA sub-modules, uses can decide a screen size,” Shinoda said. “For example, it is possible to make a 1 x 5m vertically- or horizontally-long display. Digital signage makes more impact when the screen size is changed.”

Shinoda Plasma is scheduled to ship a final product for the first time to Akashi Municipal Planetarium in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, in October 2009. The screen size of the product is 145 inches, and the price of the entire system is about ¥40 million (approx US$431,453).

On the other hand, as the reasons for employing the PTA for the field test, East Japan Marketing & Communications cited its slimness and light weight.

“Because it is only 1mm thick, a large display can be installed in a limited space,” Yamamoto said. “Also, installation costs can be lowered because of its light weight. But we will consider purchasing it only after advertising effectiveness is confirmed and the price is lowered from the current 40 million yen to 10 to 15 million yen.” 

Maybe my meds just aren’t working this morning and I am missing it, but I could swear these guys are suggesting people spend more than $400K for six near-zero bezel plasmas stuck and stacked together to make a big fella. And even though the photo (right) shows in side profile the plasmas have a normal amount of stuff sticking out the back, these guys are saying it is 1 mm thick???

For $400K you could put one hell of a lot of displays, hundreds, all through a subway station. Very odd story. 

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