Shopping for monitors for digital signage can be overwhelming. When selecting a monitor that is appropriate for your specific needs and location, there are some important specs that you need to keep in mind.
Brightness is measured in ‘Nits’. This information is readily available on the most manufacturers’ websites. A larger number of nits indicate a brighter picture. The brightness of the screen needed is determined by the ambient light of the monitor’s location. For indoor use with indirect ambient light, a minimum of 400 nits is recommended. For outdoor use, monitors over 900 will be visible in direct sunlight.
The bezel of a monitor is the plastic frame around the screen. Although this sounds superficial, the size of the bezel determines the actual size of the screen on the monitor. If you were to run out to your local big-box store and purchase a 50” monitor with a 1” bezel, the available screen space is actually only 48”. These two inches can make a lot in difference in the amount of content you are able to fit on the screen.
The size of the screen, and the number of monitors to purchase, can be a difficult thing to determine. Basically, it comes down to viewing distance versus the number of lines on text on your menu. If you email your menu to Menuat, we will be able to recommend the size and number of screens you’ll need.
Most consumer grade monitors are only made to be turned on for six to eight hours per day. Digital signage is typically on display for much longer than eight hours per day, causing consumer grade monitors to get very hot. The ventilation systems on consumer grade monitors can be easily over worked. It is important when selecting a monitor for your digital signage that you choose one with adequate ventilation.
Commercial vs Consumer Grade Monitors
Another element to take into consideration when selecting the right monitor for your digital signage needs is choosing between commercial and consumer grade grade monitors.
The main difference between commercial and consumer grade monitors is that commercial grade monitors are specifically made for the digital signage application by amping up several key features to ensure lasting utility.
Commercial grade monitors are made to be turned on 24/7 and employ systems that prevent burn-in. Burn-in occurs after prolonged use of a static images, text, or tickers. This causes a distortion in the picture.
Warranty is another important difference between commercial and consumer grade monitors. Most consumer grade monitors are strictly meant to mounted in landscape mode. Mounting a consumer grade monitor in portrait mode will void most manufacturers’ warranties. Commercial grade monitors are made to be mounted either portrait or landscape to accommodate for multiple different applications and come with a three year manufacturer’s warranty. The consumer grade alternative typically comes with a standard one year warranty.
It is also worth mentioning that most manufacturers will declare a warranty void if the monitor is used for commercial purposes like digital signage. This comes down to the difference in durability of commercial and consumer grade monitors. Commercial grade monitors are specifically made to withstand higher temperatures and the indoor pollution of the restaurant environment.
Consumer Grade Screens
We do recommend a commercial grade screen as they’re tested in commercial environments to perform for many years. However, they can be cost-prohibitive. As a low-cost alternative, we’ve helped our customers source consumer-grade monitors from stores like Best Buy and Walmart. The screens we’ve recommended have performed well for digital signage purposes, although we haven’t tested them over years as commercial screen providers have done.
Based on model, make, and specifications, we can recommend the following consumer grade screens. These three models are fairly similar in that they are all 450 nits or higher, have a small uniform bezel, and decent ventilation. All models below are priced under $800.
When purchasing a monitor, be sure to ask about the in-store extended warranties available. Many of the Big Box Store offer a ‘No Questions Asked’ policy that will cover burn-in and allow you to mount your new monitor landscape or portrait without voiding your warranty.
If you would like to purchase a warranty after you have purchased or installed your monitors, you can go through a third party like squaretrade.
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