How to Choose the Right Display Technology

One of the easiest ways to modernize your business is with digital signage. Since digital signage can be leveraged throughout your organization to solve a variety of challenges, it's important to understand how different display technologies function in order to optimize each digital display for its environment.

What is digital signage?

The term covers a broad range of technologies, styles and services that all function under the umbrella of Visual Communications™. In its simplest form, digital signage is a means of conveying a specific message to a particular audience.

Digital signage solutions run the gamut in terms of technology and content options. Business owners can choose hardware with LCD, LED or projection capabilities that display videos, digital media and other information. In fact, digital signage is becoming such a popular form of communication, the majority of new construction projects now contain some form of itit.

It’s important to know your options when it comes to digital signage solutions. The following are some areas to consider before deciding on and installing your display technology.

Hardware

Digital signs usually run on three components: a display screen, a media player and a content management server. And when it comes to display technology, there are multiple options. Here are just a few:

  • LCD (plasma) screen
  • LED board
  • Touch screens (and other interactive hardware)

The hardware you choose can be determined by a variety of factors like price as well as intended content and placement. The most common technology is LCD and it is also the most affordable. Key considerations for LCD lighting are edge vs. direct backlighting. Direct is typically used for larger displays and video wall applications. Edge will work for most signage where a small amount of depth is needed.

LED technology is usually defined by pixel pitch (the space in between active pixels). The colors are more deeply saturated than LCD screens with 100,000+ hours of brightness (compared to 30,000-50,000 for LCDs). The viewing distance can also help you determine which screen is best when it comes to color and clarity.

Location

A common factor people should consider when purchasing digital signage is location. Will the display be inside or outside? How far away will people be standing? The higher the brightness of the display, the better it will do outside.

LEDs are generally the brightest for digital displays at 4,000 to 8,000 nits. The most common LED displays used outside are called DIP, or dual in-line package. Direct LED technology is typically used for indoor displays and is less expensive.

Viewing distance can also determine the type of display technology you choose. This can differ greatly between LCDs and direct view LEDs. The best way to calculate your optimal viewing is by using the 4/6/8 rule:

  • 4 times the image height is needed for analytical viewing of multifaceted content.
  • 6 times the image height is needed for detailed viewing of regular content.
  • 8 times the image height is needed for general viewing of broad content.

Make sure you take the location of your digital signage into consideration when purchasing.

Conditions

It's imperative that you plan ahead before installing digital signage. In addition to style, location and price, the conditions of your display environment can also dictate the type of digital hardware you choose. The following are some common questions one should ask before making any decisions:

  • What is the orientation or layout of the room?
  • Is there anything that would obstruct the view?
  • Does your digital signage require interactivity?
  • What is the purpose of the display?
  • Who is your audience?

There is a lot of science behind digital displays and the choices can seem daunting. Just remember, when it's time to choose your digital displays, you can always trust the Visual Communications experts at FWI to help you get exactly what you need. 

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