Digital signage displays can play a wide array of vital roles, from building brand presence to disseminating critical information. But when implemented incorrectly, digital signage screens become eyesores that benefit neither you nor your intended audience. So where do businesses go wrong with digital signage? It often comes down to choosing the wrong screen for their needs.
First, we must clear any confusion about HDTVs, computer monitors, and commercial digital signage displays. To use an analogy, monitors and HDTVs are to commercial displays as desktop computers are to rackmount servers. Though a computer monitor works fine for a work desk, it would not be a good choice for use as a digital signage display. Compared to consumer-oriented flat panel displays, commercial digital signage screens feature higher-endurance hardware and more business-oriented hardware features.
Below, we offer the following five considerations for choosing the right digital signage display for your needs.
Who is your audience and what is the viewing environment?
Consider who you want to view the digital signage display and in what environment they will view it, both factors affect your purchasing decision. Note the following factors in particular.
Well-lit environments require high brightness setting – Using a smartphone while under direct sunlight can be difficult with a low brightness setting. The same applies to flat panel displays, from monitors and televisions to digital signage. A digital signage display—unlike the latter two—needs to support higher brightness settings to offset the amount of light in the usage environment.
Screen size should be proportional to the room and the media – The size of the digital signage screen should fit the viewing space. For example, a 22-inch monitor in a large room makes for a terrible experience, as text will be unreadable past several feet. A general rule to apply is one foot of screen for every 10 feet of room space, though if the media includes fine print or detail, a 1:6 ratio should be considered as well. Also consider the aspect ratio of the media you plan to display–for example, a spreadsheet format benefits from a rectangular screen.
Viewing angles are tied to brightness – Most digital signage displays have a quoted viewing angle. Some list viewing angle of up to 180 degrees. It is important to note that “viewing” does not mean “reading”—most LED signs are readable from 30-40 degrees. Generally, viewing angles are tied to brightness; the higher the brightness level, the wider the viewing angle. If the display will be mounted high on a wall or on the ceiling, both horizontal and vertical viewing angles matter.
What type of content will be displayed?
Also factor in the type of content you will be displaying. Resolution and audio in particular are important considerations. First, the resolution impacts the suitability of the display for showing text. Text-heavy content such as arrival and departure schedules need to be clear in order to be read. A screen with a low resolution will not suffice. Aim for a 1080p display at a minimum for text-heavy content. For a more future-proof digital signage solution, consider a 4K display. As your business updates its content to 4K, having your display already in place will make upgrade smoother.
Do you need audio playback?
Unlike HDTVs, not all digital signage displays include audio capabilities. If you stream content that includes audio, you can either purchase a digital signage display that features audio or set up an external audio system. Implementing a separate audio system to work with the digital signage display will increase sound quality and cost. Using the digital signage display’s built-in sound components may be fine in smaller environments, but fall may fall short in larger scenarios.
How will it be connected to the digital signage player?
Be sure to choose a digital signage display that works with your digital signage player. Most players feature HDMI and VGA outputs, but some models can support DVI or DisplayPort. Whichever connection type you plan on utilizing, ensure the display and the player are compatible.
How will the display be mounted?
Some digital signage displays do not include stands, unlike monitors or televisions. Instead, such commercial displays support mounts that allow them to be placed on walls, ceilings, or in enclosures. If you do not wish to use a mount, choose a screen that includes a stand.
The considerations above cover the basics of choosing a digital signage screen and should factor into your purchasing decision. Choosing the wrong display can create an experience that is ineffective despite the quality of the content.