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2 of 2 datasheet

Dedicated driver chips with serial interfaces will indeed probably be the best route. Dealing with individual shift registers will probably mean a very complex circuit. At least Maxim and TI make some. I don't remember if either has a model particularly suited for that much.

It will still take a lot of hardware.

As for power, programming, and buses, the datasheet for each driver will probably have most information you'll need.