Choosing The Right Digital Signage

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July 16, 2021 9:00:00 AM PDT July 16, 2021 9:00:00 AM PDTth, July 16, 2021 9:00:00 AM PDT

Choosing the right digital signage product for your application can be fraught with difficulty. In some cases, investing in the wrong the digital signage product can be worse than not having one at all. In this article, we’ll discuss the different technologies and software options available to help you make the right decision.

Display Technologies; LCD vs LED

The two primary display technologies for digital signage are liquid crystal display (LCD) or Light Emitting Diode (LED). LCD is much like your television at home, although the products are often ruggedised for commercial environments (more on this later). LED technology is newer and still in its infancy relative to LCD.

LCD Technology

The two primary display technologies for digital signage are liquid crystal display (LCD) or Light Emitting Diode (LED). LCD is much like your television at home, although the products are often ruggedised for commercial environments (more on this later). LED technology is newer and still in its infancy relative to LCD.

LCD technology has been around for a long time and is generally reliable, however, there are some considerations that need to made. For commercial applications, LCD digital signage products are more robust as they’re designed to operate for longer periods of time, from eight hours a day to 24 hours a day depending on the product. Consumer-grade products are designed to operate for less than eight hours daily and will often fail when placed in environments that demand long periods of operational time.

Commercial grade LCD products will have several mounting configurations; from the standard landscape to portrait and video-wall options. Videowall products will have extremely narrow bezels for a more seamless design when they are assembled together.

Commercial grade LCD products also have a range of brighter options to accommodate for environments with higher ambient light, from brightly lit office spaces all the way to street-frontages. However, traditional LCD technology is no match for the power of direct sunlight. This is where LED technology comes in.

Considerations with LCD

1. Make sure your product has a commercial warranty and be clear as to what sort of hours that warranty covers.

2. Choose the right brightness for your application. Your average consumer panel is around 300 NITS and designed to be used indoors in low light conditions. Commercial LCD will be available in 350 NIT, 450 NIT, 500 NIT, 700 NIT, 2000 NIT, 2500 NIT and 3000 NIT (and potentially everything in-between).

3. Most LCD panels are designed for indoor use – however, there are very specific outdoor models with higher heat ratings and active cooling. Make sure the LCD you’re choosing is suited to the environment you’re installing it into.

4. Your signage solution may be able to be loaded directly onto the panel, circumventing the need for an external player, which can in turn reduce your costs and avoid you running afoul of player reliability problems.

5. There is always a price-to-size sweet spot for LCD; your budget may extend to multiple LCD panels so consider whether it’s better impact to have one 98-inch screen or three 65-inch screens.

Check out some of the different ways that DAT Media was able to use a fleet of Philips commercial displays for a variety of solutions at Heritage Bank – including a four-panel video wall behind their customer service desk, high brightness customer-facing displays for messaging and touchscreen kiosks.

Heritage Bank, Retail Branches (Click image to view case study)

LED Technology

LED technology is modernising at a very rapid rate, which can make selecting the right LED product extremely difficult. One of the biggest challenges with currently available LED technology is managing the high failure rate of LED pixels across the screen and a difficulty in ascertaining the quality of the LED product you’re buying. The best option is to select a product with a good warranty, high installation-base and local representation.

Once you’re happy that you’ve got the right supplier, selecting the right pixel pitch is the next challenge and identifying the average viewing distance will go a long way to deciding what the best pitch is.

If you have something specific in mind, LED will usually cater to your requirement. From damage resistant LTP technology, to waterproof cabinets and flexible tile options, the great thing about LED technology is its versatility. Able to be assembled into various shapes and sizes, LED solutions really shine when the application is physically large or exposed to high levels of ambient light.

Considerations with LED

1. There are some fixed costs with LED which means that it’s not cost effective against LCD until you start to exceed 100-inches in diagonal size. If your application is less than 100-inches then consider LCD instead.

2. Choosing a reliable partner to ensure the best reliability is extremely important as specifications don’t often cover the finer details of choosing reliable components.

3. Choose the right pixel pitch for your application. The smaller the pixel pitch, the better the image quality that can be achieved but at increasing expense. Like with LCDs there is a pixel pitch sweet-spot.

4. Similar to LCDs, LED is also available in different brightness options, but even if the NIT ratings are the same, they’re not truly comparable. The brightness of LED is not diminished by having to pass through an LCD array and glass covering as with LCD products.

5. Understand the various options available to match up to your requirement. For example, LTP layer protection can be used in school gyms whilst alloy-frame outdoor cabinets extend all the way up to IP67 waterproofing.

This Melbourne commercial property integrated Aurora LED technology with a real vertical moss wall to create a visually complex and inviting foyer area that is bright and enticing enough to pull foot-traffic into the building.

Melbourne Foyer Upgrades With Video & Green Wall Combination (Click image to view case study)

Software options

Any signage product is useless without a corresponding content solution. There are myriad options for software that can be even more confusing than selecting the right piece of hardware. First, ask yourself what you want to display, when you want to do it, and how you want to be able to manage it.

The most basic solution is to copy a video or image to a USB storage device and have the panel’s local operating system replay it. These systems vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but most commercial panels offer auto-play and scheduling features so that the panel can power up and load a playlist automatically. Make sure your content is compatible with your signage product, however, as some products will only recognise specific file types and media proportions.If you need a little more control than a simple plug-and-play solution, cloud-based signage content management software allows you to manage your content, playlists and schedules online without having to physically access the panel. These are great for managing multiple sites and multiple panels with the same or varied content as well as scheduling in content changes remotely.

The sky is the limit when it comes to software options. If you can dream it, there’s a software option out there for you.

Considerations with software options

1. Make sure your content is fit-for-purpose as content can make-or-break a digital signage deployment.

2. When deploying content to LED, be aware that aspect ratios play a huge role in determining the quality of the content. Seek professional consultation in this arena.

3. Ask yourself what you need to display, when you need it displayed, and how you want to manage your content.

4. Flexibility and options also add complexity. Decide how complex your requirement is and then choose the right platform to suit your needs.

See how The Beach House in Hervey Bay worked with Prendi to deploy Fusion software, allowing restaurant-goes to clearly see the menu on Philips LCD displays above their POS, and giving them the ability to control and manage content from anywhere with an internet connection.

The Beach House Hotel, Hervey Bay (Click image to view case study)

Questions? Send us a message and we will be get back to you as soon as possible.