Why Digital Signage Quality Matters & What To Buy For Your Business
In the dynamic world of marketing, it goes without saying that effective communication is paramount. Digital signage is a great way to get the right message, to the right people, at the right time.
However, what marketers, and procurement professionals often don’t fully appreciate (until it’s too late) is that marketing success can hang on the quality of the digital signage hardware you buy.
It can be tempting to shop for digital signage displays on price, but not all digital signage is created equal. Different displays have different strengths, weaknesses and functionality.
And buying the most expensive hardware doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have bought the right kit for your business’s individual needs either.
In this article, we will explain why digital signage quality is important for your business and what to look for when shopping for hardware.
Before we dive into the subject of digital signage hardware, let’s address a common misconception: the use of domestic televisions for commercial purposes.
You might think that a domestic television is just a cheaper version of a commercial screen, but unfortunately that isn’t true.
Domestic televisions are designed to be used for a few hours a day in dark or dim environments, not in bright or sunny locations, and not for long periods of time – certainly not 24/7.
They lack the endurance and robustness required for continuous, heavy-duty use and don’t have a lot of the functionality needed for managing a digital signage estate effectively. If you use them for digital signage, they’ll wear out faster and need more frequent replacements.
Domestic televisions usually have lower resolution than commercial screens too, which means that content won’t be as clear, crisp and impactful as it would with a high-resolution display.
Commercial screens are much more expensive, but they’re built to last for longer periods of time and have higher durability and resistance to heat, dust, and humidity. As a result they also tend to come with a much longer warranty. They have higher brightness and contrast levels that can adapt to different lighting conditions and ensure your content stands out. They also tend to be more energy efficient.
What to Look for When Shopping for Digital Signage Hardware
Now you know why screen quality matters and why domestic televisions aren’t appropriate in most commercial situations, let’s look at what your buying considerations should be, and what look for when shopping for digital signage displays.
The size of your screen depends on the size of your location, the distance of your viewers, and the type of content you want to display. You should choose a screen size that is large enough to be seen and read by your audience, but not too large that it overwhelms or distracts them.
You should also consider the aspect ratio of your screen, which is the ratio of the width to the height. The most common aspect ratios are 16:9 (widescreen) and 4:3 (standard), but you can also find other options such as 9:16 (portrait) or 1:1 (square).
Screen Type (LCD vs LED vs OLED)
The type of your screen refers to the technology that is used to produce the images and the videos on your screen. The most common types of screens are LCD (liquid crystal display), LED (light-emitting diode), and OLED (organic light-emitting diode). Each type of screen has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the brightness, the contrast, the viewing angle, the power consumption, and the cost of your screen.
LCD screens tend to be the cheapest and have the lowest brightness (though they’re still much brighter than a domestic television). OLED screens tend to be thinner and more expensive. LED displays tend to be brighter and more expensive than LCD, but cheaper than OLED. LED screens tend to last the longest of the three display types.
The depth of your screen refers to how thick or thin it is. The depth of your screen can affect the aesthetics and the installation of your digital signage. You should choose a screen depth that is slim and sleek, but not too thin that it compromises the quality or the durability of your screen. You should also consider the weight of your screen, which can affect the mounting and the safety of your digital signage.
System on Chip (SoC) vs External Media Player
The system on chip (SoC) is a feature that allows your screen to have a built-in processor, memory, and storage, which eliminates the need for an external media player. An external media player is basically a small computer that is used to run content management software, which allows you to choose what appears on your displays and when.
SoC can reduce the volume hardware you need to buy, as you won’t need to buy a media player. However if the SoC fails, you will need to replace your display and/or buy an external media player.
16/7 versus 24/7 screens
Commercial displays are usually labelled as 16/7 or 24/7. This refers to the number of hours and days that your screen can operate without interruption. The 16/7 displays can run for 16 hours a day and 7 days a week, while the 24/7 means that your screen can run for 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
This matters because it can affect the lifespan and the warranty of your screen, as well as the energy consumption and the environmental impact of your digital signage. You should choose the option that best matches your schedule and the durability and sustainability you’ll want from it.
The brightness of your screen refers to how much light your screen is capable of emitting. This matters because it can affect the visibility and the attractiveness of your content in different lighting conditions.
The brightness of your screen is measured in nits, which is a unit of luminance. The higher the nits, the brighter the screen. The average brightness of a domestic television is around 300 nits, while the average brightness of a commercial screen is around 500 nits. However, you can also find screens with higher or lower brightness levels, depending on your needs. High bright screens, for example, are used outdoors or for window displays are usually around 2500 to 3500 nit.
The resolution of your screen refers to the number of pixels that your screen can display. This affects the quality and the clarity of your digital signage content. Screen resolution is measured in pixels, which are the tiny dots that make up the images and the videos on your screen. The higher the number of pixels, the higher the resolution. The most screen resolutions you’re most likely to see are: HD (high definition) which is 1920 x 1080 pixels, or 4K (ultra high definition which is 3840 x 2160 pixels.
However, you can also find screens with lower or higher resolutions, depending on your needs. Choose a screen resolution that can deliver the best detail and sharpness that you’ll need for your digital signage content.
We know that when shopping for digital signage hardware, price tends to be a key factor, but it should only ever be one of a number of different considerations.
Screen size, depth, type, whether you want an in-built SoC or external media player, how long it’ll be used for on a daily basis, the brightness, and resolution of your screen should be equally as important. You should also compare the prices, the warranties, and the customer service of different vendors and brands.
By following these tips, you can find the best digital signage hardware for your business and create a digital signage estate that will deliver great results for you and last.
If you want help with buying digital signage hardware and want someone to guide you through all the different factors and options, just drop us a line.
NB: This article was written using advice from our experts and AI in part.
Ready to make an impact?
Get in touch now for competitive prices, good advice, & slick project delivery