Many people assume that there are no differences between the TVs in our homes and the digital displays in public spaces like transportation terminals and retail stores. The fact is, there are several critical differences between these types of screens, and many benefits to using commercial grade displays for out-of-home use.
The first and most obvious difference to many people is the price of commercial vs. consumer displays. While it’s true that a commercial display may cost you a few hundred dollars more than a consumer display of the same size, you could end up saving in the long run with a commercial screen, due to extra features that consumer displays lack.
For one, a flatscreen’s enclosure is comprised of a bezel that goes around the viewable area of the screen and a casing that covers the back. Commercial screens’ enclosures have been toughened to withstand the “elements” of the business. For example, digital menu boards in restaurants have to withstand high heat and even grease, while screens in rail stations have to be resistant to dust and corrosion. Commercial grade flatscreens are built with heavy-duty parts and components designed to handle wear and tear. These high-quality parts are resistant to deterioration and extend the lifespan of commercial screens far beyond that of consumer models.
Also, a networked screen requires a lot more than just simple RCA connections. Commercial grade screens provide extra inputs that consumer grade screens don’t have to accommodate the numerous types of network connections and media playing devices that may be used. Commercial grade screens are also now equipped with RS-232 inputs, which allow two-way communications between the screen and the sending device. This feature is especially useful when managing a number of networked displays since better digital signage content management software, like Scala, allows the power on/off settings to be controlled centrally.
Many commercial displays now even have embedded media players, eliminating the need for an external media player. Unlike consumer Smart TVs, which are intended for browsing and some WebTV applications like Netflix, these embedded media players for commercial displays are more robust and are designed specifically for digital signage content.
Consumer screens in people’s homes are turned on anywhere from 1 – 8 hours a day, maybe 12 for serious TV watchers or gamers. Many businesses, however, require 12 – 15 hours of operation from their screens and some may never turn them off. Commercial screen models are designed specifically for extended-use applications and some also include features such as enhanced burn-in protection and cooling mechanisms.
If you’re still not convinced that a commercial display is the right choice for your business, consider this. When consumer displays are used in a commercial environment, the warranty may be null and void or, at best, it will revert to 90 days over-the-counter, requiring the display to be shipped back or taken to a service center for repair.
On the other hand, commercial displays from major manufacturers offer as much as a 3 years parts and labor warranty on-site. It helps to know that support is there when and where you need it- and that you won’t be responsible for dismounting your display and sending it out for repairs.
In conclusion, commercial displays are designed for heavy-duty 24/7/365 commercial applications. The manner in which they are built, the features they incorporate, and the warranties that support them are clear indicators of their focus. The decision as to which type of display to purchase should be driven by the application, customer satisfaction, and the total cost of ownership.
* Sources: The Top 5 Reasons to Buy Commercial Grade Screens for Digital Signage, by Bill Yackey, editor, Digital Signage Today, sponsored by Samsung. Commercial versus Consumer to the Untrained Eye, by Alan C. Brawn CTS, ISF, ISF-C, DSCE, DSDE, Systems Contractor News.