Planar has long been known as a provider of specialty displays for digital signage, and now the company is widening its aim with a line of lower-cost entry-level displays.

Planar's new PS line includes six models ranging from 42 to 65 inches and starting at an MSRP of $849. The line also includes models with LED backlighting and dual touch technology, providing cost-effective ultra-slim and interactive LCD displays.

The new flat panels feature sturdy, full-metal casing and professionally reliability optimized for all-day operation, and the full HD displays deliver a variety of advanced features including multiple connectivity options, video wall support, RS-232 control and ambient backlight control.

Becky Connors, product marketing manager for commercial flat planels at Planar Systems, pointed out the metal bezels as an especially attractive feature in a recent interview. The durable metal bezels should make them more durable in high-traffic areas than other low-cost displays with plastic bezels, Connors said.

Planar Systems has been in the display business for a while, but has recently seen a significant uptick in requests for an entry-level line to go along with its higher-performance models, Connors said. The company is better known for its specialty and performance displays, but those feature more than some deployers need, she said.

"So that's sort of the driver behind why we're introducing this new product line," Connors said. "We're really excited to bring it out because we've had so much demand for it. It allows us to reach a group of customers we haven't been able to reach before."

The new, lower-cost displays also will open up Planar to opportunities for larger-scale deployments, like in retail or quick-service restaurant installations, she said.

"It definitely has opened up that door for higher volume opportunities than we've had before," she said.

The PS-Series also features a unified appearance across the range of models, for deployers who may want to have displays with different sizes or functionalities in the same installation, she said, especially in those larger-volume deployments.

"we have a lot of customers who want to integrate nontouch and touch displasy into one place and they want the displays to all look the same," she said. "And because we're simply integrating touch into the existing nontouch design it really allows for that common look throughout the space ... That universal design is really nice."

According to the announcement from Planar, the PS-Series models include:

The Planar PS4200 and PS6500 professional LCD displays provide full HD 1080p resolution, a comprehensive set of inputs, enhanced durability and a wide range of advanced features for digital signage applications. The PS4200 (42-inch) is currently available at an MSRP of $849. The PS6500 (65-inch) will be available in November 2011 at an MSRP of $4,799.

The Planar PS4250, PS4650 and PS5550 professional LCD displays with edge-lit LED backlighting are ultraslim, energy efficient and lightweight. These displays also provide full HD 1080p resolution, a comprehensive set of inputs, enhanced durability and wide range of advanced features for digital signage applications. The Planar PS4250 (42-inch) and PS4650 (46-inch) will be available in November 2011 at MSRPs of $1,199 and $1,549, respectively. The PS5550 (55-inch) is currently available for a MSRP of $2,799.

The Planar PS4200TL is a 42-inch professional LCD display featuring integrated dual touch capability, full HD 1080p resolution, a comprehensive set of inputs, enhanced durability and a wide range of advanced features for digital signage applications. The Planar PS4200TL will be available in November 2011 for a MSRP of $1,699.

For more on digital signage displays, visit our Display Technology research center.

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