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Consumer TVs Entering Pro Digital Signage

According to a Futuresource Consulting market study, the B2B flat panel digital display market has experienced steady growth this year, with the market attaining sales in excess of 400,000 units in Q2 2009.

This represents close to 30 percent year-on-year growth from Q2 2008, underlining the growing acceptance of flat panel product as a viable and ever more affordable technology.

However, this performance also includes consumer TV crossover product, which has been widely adopted in the professional marketplace over the past few years, accounting for over 60 percent of global sales in Q2 this year.

There are arguments and counter arguments for the selection of pro monitors vs. consumer TV products, but ultimately video displays have now become just one element of a wider solution.

"Our research shows the public display application has enjoyed strong year-on-year growth of nearly 40 percent, with digital signage driving flat panel display penetration in almost every application and vertical market," says Chris McIntyre-Brown, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource.

Retail digital signage has long been seen as the main vertical for flat panel displays -- currently around 45 percent of total public display application sales -- with the obvious attraction of funding the network via advertising revenue.

However, it appears to be the digital signage networks and installations that fail to provide, or even offer, a clear ROI that have suffered -- such as point-of-information or wayfinding installations. After a period of difficult growing pains, the digital signage industry shows signs of maturing beyond infancy to early adolescence.

Securing quality affordable content still remains an issue but this is gradually changing as the industry evolves and the weight of demand drives new initiatives.

Futuresource expects the latent demand built over 2009 to drive strong growth in 2010 reaching 2.4 million units. Systems integration will continue its ascendancy as the lines between AV and IT continue to blur and more emphasis is placed on total solutions.

The challenge for both hardware and software vendors will be how they fit into the new connected age, identifying the most suitable players to partner with, which verticals offer the best opportunities and the most appropriate routes to those markets.

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