What Would You Do with a 21:9 Flat Panel?
So you’ve probably heard that consumer TV maker Vizio has introduced a 58-inch, 21:9 aspect ratio, LED-edge-lit display for all those movie buffs who want to watch their movies in CinemaScope-like splendor. I say, let the pro AV brainstorming begin! How might these displays apply to the commercial market? (Assuming you’re in the camp that’s willing to spec consumer displays for certain commercial applications — which many are not, understandably.)
I’ll be honest, the consumer in me is intrigued by the prospect of watching 2:25:1 movies without black bars or without having to build a new home theater with screen, projector, and anamorphic lens (thanks to Digital Projection, SIM2, Projectiondesign, etc., however, for coming up with solutions to the second lens issue). The new Vizio XVT 3D CinemaWide Razor LED Smart TV (phew) goes for $2,500. Philips has been selling a 21:9 TV in Europe for a while, with no apparent plans to sell them in the U.S. As for the new Vizio, compared to other flat panels in its size range (consumer or commercial), it would probably be hard for a pro AV integrator to justify the cost…
…Unless there were some killer application for it! So let the ideas flow! As it is, Vizio is emphasizing the TV’s apps. After all, when you’re not watching a movie (and now that I think of it, I rarely am, so my intrigue is diminishing), there’s going to be some spare real estate to fill. Price aside for a minute, could it be a digital signage platform in the pro AV space? Something else?
At the risk of offending AV integrators who wouldn’t touch a consumer display with a 10-foot pole, this is what this industry does so well — it takes available technology and builds solutions out of it. 3D? Feels like a dud in the home, but still a real possibility in a cool, fitting commercial solution. 21:9 TVs? They feel like a niche product in the home (wouldn’t movie lovers just build the home theater, if they haven’t already?).
So what can we do with it? We’ve seen companies like LG and ViewSonic come out with uniquely shaped displays for signage. And we know traditional aspect ratios sometimes go out the window with tiled products from companies like Christie and Prysm. Granted, creating content for non-traditional aspect ratios is a challenge, but pro AV and its partners are up to it.
The first thing I thought of when I heard of the 21:9 Vizio was what AV integrators would think of it. Well? Please, use the comments section and share ideas. We’ll pick our favorites, put it to a vote, and award the best idea with coveted InfoComm swag.