The Race to Bezel-Less LCD Video Wall

Guest Contributor, Graham Cooke

The LCD video wall product is going through another evolution; one that is hoped will stimulate further growth and keep the sector strong. This transition is the move to ever smaller bezel widths, the introduction of Extra/Extreme Narrow Bezel (E/EXNB) products. This type of product is classified by Futuresource as 2.0mm and below Bezel to Bezel (B-to-B) tiled displays.

FuturesourceLogo_hi-resolution300dpiAt the end of 2015, the first E/EXNB product was launched by LG, the 55VH7B, with a B-to-B of 1.8mm.

This was soon followed by most of the major vendors showing products of this type at ISE 2016, both from ‘CE volume vendors’ such as NEC, Panasonic and Samsung, but also traditional video wall specialists like Christie Digital, Eyevis and Planar.

Of these launches, the smallest Bezel-to-Bezel demonstrated was a Samsung and Planar product with 1.4mm B-to-B 55″. This product is the only screen size thus far to have E/EXNB bezel widths, with no 46/47″ being launched.

Whilst the E/EXNB product type hasn’t sold in huge volumes yet, Futuresource expects this to become a crucial segment for the LCD video wall market. E/EXNB will become the premium product, previously a spot held by Ultra Narrow Bezel (UNB, defined as 2.1mm-4mm B-to-B by Futuresource). It’s also interesting to note that, the migration between segments with UNB jumping from 32% share in 2015 to 52% in 2016 YTD.

Futuresource expects that SNB products will begin to be phased out by vendors in 2016/17, as UNB becomes the ‘entry level’ product, and E/EXNB takes the ‘high end’ position. Mirroring the trend witnessed in SNB pricing, UNB price points will drop to fulfil this lower end in the market.

So why is the introduction of the E/EXNB product important to the videowall market? There are two main reasons for this. Since its inception, the noticeable bezel join has always been a negative point for LCD video walls with many end-users disliking the crosshair effect. This is one of the key benefits of Rear Projection Cubes (RPC), where the bezel join is minimal. With RPC being favoured in some 24/7 mission critical control room applications, where data or alerts cannot afford to be lost in the bezel joins, E/EXNB is closing this gap, and creating another option for these applications. In Control Rooms, where space is of a premium, the thinner LCD solution is a big advantage over the traditionally bulkier RPC options. Added to this, the price for an LCD solution is significantly lower than an RPC solution.

As well as attempting to counter the perceived benefit of RPC, LCD is fighting on another front against the huge demand and surge of Narrow Pixel Pitch LED (NPP LED) products (as outlined in one of our recent blog piece). Of course, NPP LED is, by its nature, bezel less and can be assembled in any size or shape, without any perceivable join. However, whilst this bezel-less display is of course an advantage, this comes at a very high price premium. The E/EXNB product fits nicely in-between cheaper SNB/UNB and high cost NPP LED.

The coming months and years will be of great interest to see how E/EXNB is adopted and utilised. Futuresource expects the video wall market to be reinvigorated and grow with the introduction of this new technology.

Graham Cooke – Analyst, Business Displays

Graham is in the Business Displays team, with three years’ experience. He is involved in analysing key industry developments in the Global Business Flat Panel market, forecasting and consulting, whilst having daily contact with worldwide clients. In particular, one area of responsibility is being the lead analyst for the Video Wall market, conducting cross product work on the various technologies.

One of his key focuses is the analysis and reporting of the quarterly data, giving a great product level knowledge of the market. As well as this analysis, he has been involved in numerous custom projects, including focuses of high brightness/ outdoor product and corporate end user.

Before joining the Displays sector, Graham has worked for five years in various other teams at Futuresource, building up knowledge and experience in a vast range of areas in the company, including in the Disc Pressing and Data Acquisition and Processing Teams. These various teams have helped to build his analyst skills in numerous areas.

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