Reduced production of plasma display systems has contributed to the public display market falling 13 percent year over year, says a report by a firm focused on display market research.
However, shipments of liquid crystal displays used for public displays were up 23 percent year over year, says the study “Quarterly FPD Public Display Shipment and Forecast Report” by NPD DisplaySearch.
The report says that while the global market for public displays remains strong, recent quarterly reports show flat-panel display manufacturers have emphasized revenue and profit over volume, thus lowering the overall unit shipment outlook for this category.
As the production of plasma displays continues to wind down, LCD-based commercial displays have yet to fully fill the void, according to NPD DisplaySearch’s report. In addition, the display system market growth is expected to push nearly 12 million units sold during 2018, an increase from just under 3 million units in 2011. Growth is expected to be driven by new applications for public displays such as digital signage, interactive white boards, video walls, electronic menu boards, as well as the global trend toward urbanization in developing countries seen most visibly inChina.
The advantage that plasma once had over LCD—larger displays for less money—has been disappearing over the years with vendors such as Sharp able to produce LCDs that are 60 inches and larger at less cost. Plasma had been able to capture some of the lower-end demand for public displays with that demand also being fulfilled by lower-priced consumer-television displays. Leading vendors of commercial public displays, such as Samsung and NEC, are now focusing on 40 inches and larger sizes, conceding that the demand for medium-sized (26 inches to 39 inches) digital signage can be fulfilled by TV-grade products.
In addition, LCD manufacturers have been better able to differentiate their larger size displays (40 inches and larger) from similarly-sized consumer TV products with technologies such as thinner bezels, which allow for better video wall installations, the report says. Backlight technologies, such as LED, also offer unique solutions, allowing for not only thin displays, but also for higher brightness, which is needed by many commercial applications to perform in various ambient light conditions, according to the report.
“This focus on higher-margin, larger-size displays is welcoming news—not just for display brands but for their global integrators alike” says Chris Connery, NPD DisplaySearch’s vice president of PC and large format commercial displays. “With a focus on technologies that have relevance to specific end-market needs, other players in the digital signage ecosystem also benefit by avoiding price comparisons against commoditized TVs,” Connery said.