The status quo for a long time in Digital Signage has been to use projectors systems for large scale display projects. More recently however LCD Video Wall Displays have become a more suitable and popular solution to the outdated technology for a number of reasons; these reasons are becoming more and more apparent with time.
Image Quality – Simply put LCD Video Walls will always produce higher quality output for images and videos in comparison to projectors. Using a projector unfortunately means you will never get a high definition display and even worse projectors make images and videos appear ‘washed out’. LCD technology on the other hand allow for an enormous amount of colours (usually over 16 million) so you can be sure that LCD Video Walls can accurately match an image’s true colours. Not only can LCD Video Walls give a high definition display but they are now moving onto display higher resolution than HD with 4K resolution for displays that will blow you away; providing you have the content to match.
Location – For projectors to be at their best they have to be used in a controlled environment. That is why still to this day super powered projectors are used in cinemas. It is easy for the cinema to control the ambient light level and dust particles from interfering with the image quality. Cinemas can afford to invest in controlling the environment, with standard AV displays the cost would be ludicrous to try and control an environment like that. Over the last couple of decades projectors technology has been phased out of classrooms and replaced with touchscreens that use LCD technology. In locations such as classrooms it has proven impractical to control the ambient light levels. LCD Video Walls with rear projection technology can be viewed in virtually any space regardless of the light level. Projectors also have a hard time in producing a large display and being installed in areas where locations where space is limited such as corridors. Conversely LCD Video Walls can be fitted practically anywhere.
Cost – In the past what has held LCD Video Walls from making a bigger splash in the AV sector has been the cost. Comparatively the initial costs of LCD Video Walls were far too expensive when compared to projectors, regardless of the quality difference. LCD technology is now reaching a level where Video Walls are now a viable option for large display projects despite the slightly higher original investment cost. Thomas Fraser-Bacon from Allsee Technologies ltd said “There is however a hidden maintenance cost built into projectors that is often forgotten about and that is for that the price of replacing the projector lamps, which can happen up to twice a year”. With these costing at least a couple of hundred pounds each, coupled with the fact that projectors are not as environmentally friendly as LCD Video Walls, the longer term economic benefits of projectors becomes significantly skewed.
Maintenance – The maintenance of your projector or LCD Video Wall is a vital point to consider when comparing the two. LCD Video Walls once installed actually require minimal maintenance during the course of their lifetime. Projectors on the other hand are a different case and require regular maintenance, from replacing lamp bulbs to replacing the projector light engine; it is a product that needs constant upkeep. Did you know for example that a projector lamp bulb lasts for 2000-4000 hours while the lifespan of a commercial grade LCD panel is 50,000?
LCD Video Walls and Projectors are both valid ways of displayed large scale media. However I believe that we will see projectors become more and more of a niche product as more and more applications and projects realise the benefits and flexibility that LCD Video Walls can offer. The LCD Video Wall market is only going to continue its growth from here on out.