Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 15

Part of the rest of the story is the overriding
confusion about DVLED. I'm referring
not only to the sheer number of companies
vying for business but also to the fact that
DVLED displays tend to look alike. Integrators
and end users are predisposed to look
at DVLED as they have come to look at LCD
flatpanels. On the LCD side, a 55-inch 4K
display has become a commodity; all the
major (and even most of the minor) players
look great and are generally comparable.
You need a 55-inch display that is 4K, so you
think you know all you need to know and
place an order. But the predisposition to believe
a flatpanel display is a flatpanel display
should not port over to DVLED. Nevertheless,
to a disconcerting degree, it has.
Adding to the erroneous assumption
of " sameness " among DVLED solutions
is that most manufacturers claim similar
things. Many claim they are high quality,
high performance, properly certified and
simply " better. " When asked how they are
" better, " some companies have a tough
time pinning it down.
I must add that it's rare to run into a DVLED
company that really knows and understands
the competition and where they fit into " the
big picture. " It should come as no surprise
that, to most buyers looking from the outside
in, there is no apparent or meaningful
differentiation that they can observe.
Possible Differentiators
Some companies attempt to differentiate
by speaking about proprietary technology
they have. They mention chip-on-board
(COB) technology, glue-on-board (GOB)
protection, three-in-one or four-in-one LED
clusters, and, most recently, nano coatings.
Research shows that most companies (both
well-known ones and not-well-known ones)
now have most, if not all, of these as options.
Thus, on cursory comparison, there is
little real difference in the products.
From a technology perspective, it is
difficult - but, if you dig deep enough,
not impossible - to definitively know from
whom to buy. If product quality, features,
benefits and performance are a given (assuming
they are independently tested and
proven), then what is the differentiator? All
else being equal, there are two answers:
1) price; 2) service and support.
commercialintegrator.com
We are all aware that DVLED is higher
priced than LCD flatpanels or projectors
are. In many cases, when end users are presented
with the price tags, they might take
a deep breath. (I can hear the air intake....)
We cannot avoid the fact that budgets will
play a significant role in display decisions
here. For LCD or projection, the price differential
may be just a few dollars per display;
however, for DVLED, the price differential
between manufacturers for similar products
can be significant. I'm talking about thousands
of dollars!
Recent research on 20 DVLED providers
showed that the dealer prices for a 1.5mm-,
2mm- or 2.5mm-pixel-pitch indoor DVLED
will range from " low end " prices up to
higher prices that are three times higher!
This allows those lacking the budget for the
highest-priced products not to abandon
DVLED, but to explore alternate sources.
OK...I can already hear the clamor among
you. You get what you pay for, right? Well,
yes! But it's not as simple as that.
Making a Fully Informed Decision
In last month's article, focusing on knowing
the unknowns of DVLED, I pointed out
what most don't know, but that they need
to know, in order to make a fully informed
decision. I discussed R&D; quality of
manufacturing; grade of core LED components;
type, quality and performance
of circuitry; testing and quality control of
finished product; and certifications. There
are no free lunches here, and products at
the low end of the spectrum can, indeed,
fall into " you get what you pay for. "
Many of these companies make difficult
tradeoffs of low prices versus quality,
support and longevity. These low prices
can be a proverbial siren song, ending in
disaster. If it looks too good to be true,
then it probably is.
Now, here's the hard part relative to
prices: Somewhere between the lowest -
you have been warned to stay away! - and
highest prices, there may well be a sweet
spot that should, at the very least, be considered.
These are high-quality products
from some of those less-well-known companies
we referenced earlier, which might
or might not have been at InfoComm. So,
how can they provide high-quality products
at lower prices? On the surface, the answer
is simple: They don't have the same costs
of doing business in the U.S. that some
well-known companies incur. But, as I hope
you have come to understand by now, it's
not that simple!
Service and Support
This brings us to the second point of
differentiation - namely, service and
support. Most of the better-known
companies provide good service and
support. In fact, some even include in
their price a technician going onsite to
ensure the installation is done properly. (I
can hear a sigh of relief now....) Some of
the lesser-known DVLED companies also
provide good service and support. The
best among these companies typically
have parts availability in the U.S. and outsource
the service to companies inside
the country. This becomes a balancing
act, with well-known and less-well-known
DVLED companies all trying to juggle
quality, service and support, and price.
Quality and reliability must be a given.
Service and support must be accounted
for. Research shows a wide range of prices
exists. Integrators have an obligation
to their end users to be knowledgeable
and provide the best value. As in other
areas of AV, it makes sense to get quotes
from several DVLED vendors and compare
everything that is included. Then,
it's possible to make decisions in the
project and client's best interest. One
size does not fit all!
I started by acknowledging there's a lot
to know about DVLED. It is not just another
flatpanel! We need to know what we don't
know. We need to know about well-known
and lesser-well-known suppliers, as long
as they meet project and client needs. Yes,
this requires some work, but the results
will speak for themselves.
We like to say that you should never
pay more than you should or less than you
need to. We also like to say, if you don't
really know DVLED, work with someone
who does!
Alan C. Brawn, CTS, ISF, ISF-C,
DSCE, DSDE, DCME, is the
principal of Brawn Consulting.
SEPTEMBER 2022 Commercial Integrator
15
http://www.commercialintegrator.com

Commercial Integrator September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator September 2022

Commercial Integrator September 2022 - Cover1
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - Cover2
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 1
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 2
Commercial Integrator September 2022 - 3
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