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DIGITAL SIGNAGE – Is 4K Just a Pit Stop for 8K?

May 30, 2014

InfoComm recently released a thought-provoking white paper, bringing to light whether or not we will see the digital signage industry rush towards bigger and better resolutions, with the recent arrival of 4K players. 

Is it too soon to talk about 4K, let alone 8K, for most real-world installations? Keeping in mind that the industry norm is still 1080p HD for most mainstream applications?

At this present point in time, only certain types of digital signage installations currently benefit from the investment in extra pixels. Situations that require interaction with a screen, such as wayfinding scenarios, are a current 4K sweet spot, according to the white paper

JJ Parker, CEO of Tightrope Media Systems, was quoted saying that when a user is close to a display and wants detail on a map, 4K can be very useful.

“It is also applicable to point-of-sale situations, where the viewer will notice the quality enhancement,” said Mr Parker.

However, there are three requirements needed to successfully roll out 4K digital signage:

  1. The hardware platform
  2. The panel to support 4K
  3. Content

When all is said and done, 4K or 8K capable screens are entirely useless without content. The cost for companies who wish to create seasonal content, requiring content changes every few months, is substantially higher than that of HD.

Nowadays, it seems most companies struggle to get their content created in 4K, which means a lot of extra pixels – available on 4K screens – are going unused, reflecting an inefficient investment. The fastest growing segment of the signage industry is currently the Return on Objective (ROO) project, that doesn’t depend on advertising dollars. Mike White, President of Multi-Media Solutions, says he can’t see a justification for anything beyond the current technology.

“In a world where companies have already made huge digital signage investments and where screens are becoming increasingly invisible to viewers, companies should focus on more than just resolution to catch the eye of the image-weary consumer,” said Mr White.

In a world where HD has just become the norm and 4K is only in the early adopter stage, it seems to be too soon to anticipate the arrival of 8K in digital signage.

Read the full white paper here >

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