5 Tips in Choosing Commercial LCD Screens
Over recent years, commercial LCD screens have become a prominent medium for luring consumers into business establishments to drive sales and boost revenues.
The screens usually used are specifically built for the rigors of commercial applications be they indoor or outdoor. Their heavy-duty hardware is engineered to handle wear and tear and 24/7 operation. Thus, these screens have a longer lifespan — far beyond that of residential grade models. With a display that can last between 50,000 and 75,000 hours on average, commercial grade LCDs are great for around-the-clock applications such as menu boards, directories, and digital signage. Although they cost more than consumer grade LCDs up front, commercial LCDs can be less expensive than LED displays and far more cost effective than consumer grade screens over the lifetime of their use.
Commercial LCDs feature cooling fans, heat dissipation plates and other electronics that allow them to stay on for long hours. These screens also have a high refresh rate and improved protection against electro-magnetic interference. Some models also come with scheduling options, video-wall processors, and lockable control panels. And because they can be rotated and hung vertically or horizontally, commercial grade LCDs can fit any space requirement.
What to Consider When Buying a Commercial LCD Screen
There are countless models of commercial LCDs on the market, making choosing the right screen for your business daunting. Beyond looking for a prominent brand and aside from the physical features, you need an LCD that is compatible with your chosen software, and will last for years. To help you select the most ideal commercial LCD screen for your business, here are a few tips to consider.
Tip #1: Go for a screen with a thin bezel.
It goes without saying that the screen aesthetic is a crucial factor in choosing commercial LCD flatscreens. For aesthetic purposes, consider the screen’s bezel size. Consumer LCDs typically have a thicker bottom bezel, while commercial grade models are likely to feature an even and thin bezel, which looks more aesthetically pleasing.
An LCD screen that features an ultra-thin bezel is generally more costly, though. Regardless, a thinner bezel means a look and feel that departs from traditional style. And when used in a video wall, the thinner the screen’s bezel, the better.
What’s a video wall? To get the look of a very large screen, it is more cost effective to use an array of multiple LCDs mounted together. Usually in a 2×2 or 3×3 array the video wall can also be a long line (say 4 screens side by side) or a tall column (screens mounted in a vertical aray). A screen with a thinner bezel is the better choice as it will minimize the space between each screen giving the impression you are looking at one giant screen. Moreover, a thin bezel is much preferred if you need the display in portrait orientation. Just make sure the bezel is even on all sides to prevent it from looking lopsided.
Tip #2: Look for a screen with at least a three-year warranty.
Consumer TV screens usually come with a manufacturer’s warranty that lasts for 12 months, although there are some manufacturers that offer 2, 3 or even 5 year warranties – but these are consumer warranties. If you wish to double the warranted years of the screen, you can do so by using your credit card, provided that the warranty policies of your credit card company allows it. And of course some TV retailers also offer to extend warranties, but at an added cost.
Ideally, though, in a commercial situation you need a commercial warranty. If you use a consumer screen in a commercial application nearly all manufacturers will not honour the warranty as the screen is being used outside of it’s intended purpose. Consumer screens are expected to be on maybe 4-6 hours a day in an air-conditioned environment and either on a TV stand or mounted to the wall. Consumer grade screen on the other hand are expected to be on 24/7 and hung in any orientation, or mounted into a table top etc… and are warranted for this.
Tip #3: Measure the area, the LCD’s distance from its intended viewers and consider what you intend to do with it.
Do you plan on building a kiosk or mounting a touch screen to the wall? Do you intend to display promotional materials or showcase a menu? How large is the area where you’re placing the screen? Are you going to hang it from the ceiling, the wall or floor mount it? How far away will it be from the customers?
When determining the size of the screen, it is important to consider these factors. If you are caught between two sizes, choose the bigger screen. It can give you room to grow and expand your menu, or enable you to display larger texts and images. Plus, it can offer a greater impact to your costumers. Remember: when it comes to most screens, size does matter.
But also consider if it is a touch screen, in order to actually touch the screen you need to be standing right in front of it so an appropriate sized screen needs to be chosen for interactive applications.
Tip #4: Compare models and specifications, not brands in general.
To most buyers, the LCD’s brand can be a quick indicator of how good of a quality the screen has. However, it’s too generic. A savvy and smart buyer knows that there is more to a quality commercial LCD than its brand, and that learning a bit more about the product’s specifications matters more.
Also, do some research into the brands that actually make commercial grade screens. Sure, there are some household names and they do make commercial offerings, but there may be brands you have never heard of who are actually leaders in the commercial LCD and touch screen fields.
When comparing various brands, it is difficult to say which one is better if you simply look at their hardware. Often, you will see two or several different brands with similar or identical hardware, and their only difference would be the packaging. You may even discover that a certain brand has a panel manufactured by a different brand. So rather than resting your decision on brand name alone, read reviews and compare LCD screens by their individual specifications and models.
Tip #5: Research and evaluate.
Commercial LCDs today provide many attractive features that can be hard to resist. Don’t fall prey to features you do not need! When you’re coursing through the information suppliers have sent you, or simply browsing the web, keep in mind that your main goal is to find a durable, long lasting LCD screen. Take ample time to evaluate the needs of your business and your application, and research about the various types of commercial LCDs available on the market. Before purchasing, you should make sure that the screen meets your business needs accordingly.
If you plan on placing the LCD screens in multiple locations or you are working on a tight budget, it might be tempting to go for low grade monitors. The downside to this, however, is that you may spend much more for repair and maintenance in the long run. Hence, it is still a wiser decision to invest in high quality commercial grade LCD screens that will serve you well for many years. Good quality screens can guarantee long term usage without the frequent maintenance and constant repairs, not to mention the damage to your corporate profile if your screens aren’t functional.