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Your Digital Signage Display: Commercial or Consumer?


When people talk about digital signage displays, they’re really talking about TVs. Many people assume that when they’re ready to create digital signage, they can just walk into Costco or Best Buy and pick out the cheapest TV that they see. They’re not entirely wrong, but consider this: let’s say your boss tells you that you need to pick out a work phone so you can reply to email on the go, so you go to Target and you pick the cheapest phone you can find. It’s a flip phone and as it turns out, the phone does let you check email, but it does so in the most bare-bones way that it really doesn’t suit your purpose--unless you happen to be the person who enjoys replying to emails with a numeric keypad. That’s kind of what it’s like to just pick up the cheapest TV you can find for digital signage.

So how do you pick the right display? This short guide will help you.

But They Look the Same!

A lot of people don’t know that there are actually two types of TVs on the market: commercial grade and consumer grade. If you compared them side-by-side, you might not even notice a difference at first glance. The commercial display would be more expensive, but on the surface, that might be the only noticeable difference. 

If they look the same, then what is the difference?

It really comes down to the wear and tear. Consumer displays are built for home use where they aren’t left running all day. Commercial displays are built to be left on for long periods of time. Also, the picture is typically brighter, and they will often come with a warranty more friendly to the how you are using it. While any display can be used 24/7, commercial grade TVs are built for it. That means they have a cooling system in place to help increase the lifespan. You can get a very thin frame (i.e. the black border case that goes around your TV) on both consumer and commercial displays, but you are more likely to see it on consumer TVs than commercial ones. Commercial grade displays also have multiple types of inputs you don't normally see on consumer displays (such as VGA). Finally, if portrait mode is important to you, then remember that while this is usually a standard feature on commercial displays, you aren’t likely to see it on consumer displays. 

You also aren’t likely to see a commercial display in your brick and mortar store.  If a commercial display suits your needs best, then the best place to purchase is through online retailers like Newegg or Amazon, or directly from the manufacturer.

What’s Best for Me?

At the end of the day, the best display for you is really based on your budget and needs. It’s not uncommon to see 40 inch HDTVs on sale for under $200. For that price, you obviously aren’t going to get the most high-end features, but that doesn’t mean the TV is a lemon. Will it work for digital signage? Absolutely! Will it work well? That’s a different story. It will likely have 1080p picture, so that’s good, but if you are using the TV in a brightly lit hallway, then that beautifully sharp picture will be very hard to see. And if you are just using a few images that rotate periodically, then you might start experiencing screen burn-in. When this happens, part of the image burns into the screen from repetition.

What Should You Look For?

Regardless of if you decide to get a consumer or commercial grade display, her are important factors that should go into your buying decision:

  • Inputs: If you are buying a TV for your house, then chances are everything you use on the display will be through an HDMI input. That’s not always the case with digital signage. Make sure the display has inputs that support the media player you are using.
  • Orientation: Rise Vision supports both landscape and portrait presentation mode, but your display needs to as well. If you plan on using the display in portrait mode, then make sure the display can be mounted in that orientation.
  • Buttons: If your display will be hung in a public place, then you’ll want to make sure you get a display that doesn't have easily-accessible buttons (or that buttons in reach can be disabled). This is something you’ll find more on commercial displays than consumer displays.
  • Brightness: If you look closely at the specs of your display (this isn’t usually a feature advertised), you’ll see something that says “cd/m2”. What is it? It’s the candela per square meter. Huh?! In more simple terms: it’s the amount of brightness. Lower-end displays will usually be in the 250 to 300 range. That’s not a good range if you are putting your display in a brightly lit area. It’s not even a great range for a darker area. If your digital signage is in a very bright area (or outdoors), then 1000 and above is what you want to look for. If the area has a little less light, than 400 and above is a good range.
  • Resolution: For digital signage, 1080p resolution will fit the needs of most people. If the leap from 1080p to 4k is within your budget, then it’s definitely something to consider. Your display will be something you keep for several years, so don’t just think of your needs now--think about your needs in the future.

Now What?

You have a TV, but what about a Media Player? Here’s a post that addresses some of the common questions we see about that.

Once you have your display and your digital signage software is set up, here are a few things you can do with your presentation:

If you still are on the fence about what display to get for your digital signage, feel free to reach out to our team.

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