20 Apr TV or Display… What’s The Difference? Part-2
Communicating with your staff and/or customers is so important these days, and with all the latest advancements in audiovisual technology that are packed into a commercial display they have more to offer than just a Television (TV).
Last month we discussed many of the features and benefits of a TV, or consumer model display (click here to go to Part-1). This month we will delve into these advancements, features and benefits of a commercial display.
Getting this out of the way, yes, a commercial display costs more, sometimes quite a lot more, are they worth the additional cost? The answer is, in most cases, yes!
The first and foremost benefit is the warranty. Hands down, if you are using the display for, say a lobby and it will be on 7-days a week, 14-hours a day that’s a lot of on time! Some commercial displays are even rated for 24-hour use (great for 24-hour eateries).
A consumer TV used for a commercial purpose will violate the manufacturer’s warranty policy. Since it is almost as expensive or even more to repair the TV than replace it, you do not want to lose your warranty. Also, a consumer TV only has a 1-year parts and labor warranty.
A commercial display will typically have a 3-year parts and labor warranty, and no, you do not have to have that 70-inch display removed and sent out for service (leaving an unsightly space on your wall), service will come to you! In fact, many manufacturers even offer advance replacement.
Probably the second most important aspect of a commercial display is control. Whether RS-232 (serial) or network (LAN) types, these displays can be remotely controlled by a Control System. This is quite an important factor, with so many new construction projects looking for the tax advantages of LEED certification, having the ability to turn the display on and off remotely, even having sensors in a room whereas if everyone left the space and forgot to turn the display off, a sensor will send a signal to the Control System, shutting the display off after a pre-programmed period of time.
Another aspect of the advanced control of a commercial display is that there is a 2-way stream of information (after it is turned on, the display sends feedback to the Control System that it is on), whereas consumer TVs often rely on the typical remote control which is based on infra-red (IR) technology. IR type control is only one way. This can be a disaster if you are trying to control the TV with a professional Control System because with no feedback there is the possibility that the TV will be out-of-sync with the Control System and when you go to turn it on, you are actually turning it off! This can be caused by power failures, someone manually turning the TV off in the room, etc.
Orientation is a big necessity as well. While consumer displays can only be used in landscape mode (width is larger than height), a commercial display can be rotated 90-degrees and used in portrait mode as well (the height is larger than the width). This is a common use for a courthouse for displaying records outside the courtroom, restaurants for displaying a menu, and retail stores for displaying advertising, to name a few applications. All of these usages are categorized as “digital signage”. Many commercial models that are targeted for digital signage even have a built-in digital signage player, or a space for you to add one.
There are other more conventional applications, such as for video conferencing in a meeting room, or collaborating teams in a huddle-space. While these uses are typically not as demanding as digital signage applications, they too benefit from using a commercial model.
Some of the other benefits of a commercial display over a consumer TV are:
- Commercial displays are brighter which adds up to a higher ease of viewing in well-lit or bright spaces.
- Commercial displays are designed to blend into their environment offering more aesthetically pleasing choices such as smaller bezel width.
- Commercial displays that are targeted for the hospitality industry have advanced capabilities of their control locking-out many functions that you would not want the user to have access to.
- Commercial displays also offer more flexibility in connectivity. Display Port and DVI are often still used in addition to HDMI. In addition, some models that are designed for a video wall application even have a looped output so that you can chain displays together saving you money on expensive devices (more on video walls to come in another blog).
- Some commercial displays have advanced windowing capability whereas you can input as many as four (4) discrete signals at the same time giving you choice (via control) whether to show any two in a split screen, all four, a picture-in-picture, or any one image without adding an expensive windowing processor.
- The actual glass itself is thicker to prevent damage and more resilient to being scratched.
- Many models even offer touch-screen capability whereas you can, just like on a cell phone or tablet interact with the display (this is often used in kiosks for wayfinding, classrooms, and other collaborative type spaces).
- Many commercial displays will offer a built-in amplifier that can power ceiling or wall mounted loudspeakers and/or an audio output that can feed a dedicated power amplifier for more robust sound than the built-in loudspeakers.