Why Use Commercial Digital Signage Displays vs. Consumer Units?
If you have recently visited a big box store or consumer electronics outlet, you have to be impressed with the wide array of manufacturers producing TVs and smart display devices available for the home. And yes, in some environments, these can easily double for office use.
So why is there a market for commercial-grade displays? What considerations should factor into your purchase, and what questions are commonly asked? In this article, we will try to give you some of the criteria necessary to evaluate what kind of display technology would be best for an office environment. At one and a half to two times the price, we will break down the reasons why you might want to consider splurging on commercial grade versus the consumer or prosumer models.
LDI Connect’s Pro AV Division assists clients in designing, implementing, and supporting their integrated office system environments.
How are Today’s Display Technology Designed?
The first major difference you’ll notice between commercial digital signage displays and a consumer display is the design. From an aesthetic standpoint, commercial displays are designed to blend in with their environment; they are generally manufactured with thinner bezels, smaller manufacturer logos, and less front-facing controls. Think clean, industrial, and minimal. Consumer displays typically have more aesthetic flair, come with a TV stand and a remote and give the user more front-facing control; potentially, the last thing you want for a populated area where touching a button can completely change the intent.
The designs are also different when you factor in durability. Consumer screens aren’t built for the wear and tear of prolonged, non-stop use and are easily damaged if dropped or hit by an object. Commercial displays, however, are specifically designed to operate around the clock and are built with encasings that protect from impact, dust, heat, and other harsh conditions. And if you need an outdoor digital display, a commercial-grade display is pretty much your only option.
Most consumer and prosumer screens are built to function in landscape mode, so if you intend to produce vertical digital signage, you must design and change all of your images to be rotated. Generally, commercial TV displays have no problem supporting portrait mode and can regionalize the screens with templates to support a wider array of content, widgets, and branding.
You might be asking yourself, will my display be bright enough? Consumer displays tend to function best in dim lighting since they are designed for residential environments. Most industry settings—think retail stores, hospitals, malls, and airports—are extremely well-lit, though, which means a consumer display’s brightness levels might not go high enough to be clearly visible. Just know that consumer screens typically max out at a brightness level of 350 cd/m2, while commercial digital signage displays can reach up to 2,500+ cd/m2. Sometimes expressed in “NITS or NIT Value” commercial grade displays exhibit higher brightness and contrast.
Though the inputs and outputs may be sufficient for your purposes, consumer and prosumer displays can be pretty limited in input and output ports. Typically, they focus on HDMI, USB, Network, and Basic Audio, while commercial screens offer a wider range of inputs and outputs. The commercial-grade displays generally include display ports, extra USB, DVI, and RS-232. These enable system integrators and installers to link displays together and afford remote device administration, diagnostics, and control.
In general, commercial-grade displays come with a three-year manufacturer warranty, while most consumer TVs only come with a one-year warranty. Most commercial display warranties feature post-sales support. This is a huge consideration for businesses that have problems or require special assistance.
Are you using the technology as a Digital Signage Display?
If your purpose is to purchase a digital signage display, chances are pretty good that the unit will be on most, if not all, of the day. Even with advanced LED technology, consumer and prosumer devices are not designed to run more than a few hours during the day. They are not built with the venting that is generally in commercial-grade units and will therefore have a limited life expectancy.
In this case, if you chose a consumer display instead of a commercial-grade display, you could run the risk of shelling out thousands of dollars in repairs or even having to buy full-on replacements screens if it dries out completely.
How do Smart TVs and Commercial Grade Displays Play Content?
Many consumer and prosumer displays have great media players, some with special effects, that can play web content or images from a flash drive. They cannot generally retain content. If the unit gets unplugged temporarily or the media gets removed, your digital signage platform will revert to a startup mode and will not continue playing your content. This is not the case with commercial-grade digital signage displays. They are designed with the idea that at startup, they continue to play the uploaded and scheduled content.
What Type of Display is Best for Videoconferencing?
The answer isn’t always totally obvious, but in most cases, we recommend opting for a commercial digital signage display—especially if your digital signage is going to require long usage hours in bright environments. Sure, commercial displays aren’t always a requirement, and they’ll cost more upfront, but as demonstrated, they will probably be more reliable and less costly in the long run. Understanding how much video conferencing costs is always helpful when making these decisions.
It is essential to have sufficient brightness, resolution, and input and output ports to connect to accessories that drive the rest of your conferencing solution in a video conferencing environment.
Where can I Purchase Commercial Grade Displays and Pro AV Solutions?
Commercial-grade displays and professional Audio Visual accessories are available through several outlets. Still, if you need assistance in designing, implementing, and supporting an integrated office system, you may want to schedule a meeting with the subject matter experts at LDI Connect.