17-Year-Old NEC Screens Still Happily Working Away At Vienna’s Airport

February 28, 2023 by Dave Haynes

Photo: Oliver Bauer, Sharp/NEC 

When it comes to flat panel displays, the general rule of thumb seems to be that they’ll last roughly five years before the screens will be due for replacement. So it is interesting to read about some displays that have been hard at work for 17 years … and counting.

Our German language content partners at Invidis have a little post up noting how the Flight Informational Display Screens (FIDS) at Vienna, Austria’s airport have been working away for 17 years and still look pretty good.

The models in place that are showing arrivals and departures information to travellers are NEC LCD 4000 units, which were pretty early stage LCDs. In my dark past, I had a DOOH network running in the underground pedestrian concourses of Toronto’s business district, and we used those exact units.

They used a lot of metal and were much more like industrial monitors than light, skinny and mostly plastic TVs. They also cost, I’m thinking, at least $4,000 each.

They’re not still there – they got replaced by larger, cheaper screens – but otherwise I suspect they’d still also be ticking away.

Flat panel prices have dropped dramatically since the mid-2000s. While that’s great for capital budgets, it means displays aren’t necessarily made to last, and could get refreshed 3 or four times over a 17-year window. Then again, while a 17-year-old NEC can still show departure status, it’s not going to have full HD, never mind 4K, and no support for things like HDR.

  1. Jeff Grandell says:

    I have (8) of the LCD4000, and (24) P401 displays that have been on in convenience stores 24/7 for 14yrs and 13yrs respectively. They are/were the perfect workhorse for that environment.

    1. Clark Brown says:

      That makes me smile Jeff- I think I remember working on that with you! CB

  2. Bryan Crotaz says:

    I always recommend NEC for robust screens. I’ve bricked multiple Samsung screens just by upgrading firmware, but I’ve never broken an NEC screen. I’ve got an installation from 2012 that still looks as good as new with four of the P series. I’ve never calibrated them but they still match perfectly.

  3. Jeff Wismer says:

    I have one old legacy client where I installed one of these 16 years ago and from what I last saw a couple of years ago it was still in place working. NEC back then made some solid displays.

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