What Displays should You be Using?
To select the correct screens for any digital signage application you will first need a broad understanding of the type of screens available. Ultimately this decision comes down to these essential factors: the environment, the intended application, and of course, the cost. The cost is largely determined by the other two factors (and your budget) so we will exclude this for this article.
What Options are Available?
There are four distinct display categories, each of which has a recommended daily running time which, if exceeded, tends to drastically reduce the lifespan and quality of the display. These are as follows:
- TV Displays: Daily recommended run time of 8 hours
- Monitors: Daily recommended run time of 12 hours
- Light Commercial: Daily recommended run time of 16 hours
- Commercial: Run time can exceed 24 hours +
Light commercial and commercial displays are more rugged and built to be in use most of the time. A key consideration can also be the size and dimension of the surrounding border of the screen (bezel). TVs tend to have a larger bezel which can include speakers, where as monitors do not, and therefore have smaller uniformed bezels. Light commercial and commercial displays can have incredibly thin bezels which are seamless and work well for joining displays in a video wall.
The most obvious consideration is whether the screens are being placed indoors or outdoors. An indoor environment is more forgiving on a screen because it is not exposed to the elements; water, heat, and sunlight can damage or even destroy screens which can be a very costly exercise to replace. There are outdoor displays available that are waterproof and resistant to extreme temperatures. There are also weather boxes for screens, however these can be prone to condensation and additional maintenance. These are also generally not made to fit specific screens and so tend to look more clumsy and can be difficult to work with.
Lighting conditions can also play a huge role in the effectiveness of a display; the general rule is that the ambient light should be well below the brightness of the display to be effective. So, the display used must be bright enough for sunny environments.
How are the Displays being Used?
The intended outcome of a digital signage application must be consistent with the functionality and purpose that a specific screen was designed for. A single display used as a digital directory in a reception room need not have a seamless bezel nor be running for more than 12 hours a day. However, a more complex multi-screen outdoor video wall will require seamless integration and must be of a reasonably high quality that can also run for 24 hours a day.
Screen technology is rapidly advancing so using digital signage software that is proactive rather than reactive to developments in screen technology is vital. Interactive Media (Imagine Software) is one of only three digital signage software partners for LG in Africa offering unparalleled synchronisation on their operating system.