There were numerous overseas vendors at ISE – and I expect to see more at Infocomm in a couple of months – showing mesh-screen LED displays.
They have come a long way in a relatively short time, and when running, the pixel pitch of these things can be good enough to deliver crisp, rich and definitely bright visuals.
But here’s the problem: they look like crap when off, and especially so from the rear (the side that does not light up). Viewers see a metal mesh that looks more like a security measure than marketing tool.
Pix and a brief came in overnight from one of seemingly hundreds of Chinese LED manufacturers that send e-mails to Mr. Dave, promoting their goods and asking how many I want to order. Like right now.
The top photo is with the visuals active. The photo below is with the visuals off. You get transparency and the ability to see through into the store, but the overall effect is not good – particularly for a jewel retailer.
The window film from LG and others – like Tiege from China – look better, but once the pixels start to get a tighter pitch, you start to see the wires and plastic strips that make it all work.
I’m starting to see projection on windows make a comeback, but conventional window films for projection are translucent, so even with cheaper, brighter and much longer lasting projectors out there than 10 years ago, retailers and marketers still have to make the decision that they’re putting up privacy film that blocks the view in and out of a window.
Avery Dennison was at DSE demo’ing its year-old Vela product in the NEC booth. It uses projection on switchable glass. So you can project on fully opaque glass when it is in one state, and it is fully transparent in the other state. That would seem to have potential, but not sure of cost.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.