Choosing the Right Technology to Fit Your Customer’s Digital Signage Needs

Shawn Dixon

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On June 23rd In A/V
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With the age of online shopping and instant gratification moving rapidly towards the days when drones could be delivering products directly to our doors within the hour, businesses are looking for new ways to draw customers off of their couches and into their stores. Many savvy business owners are turning towards digital signage in order to attract customer’s attention when they are out in the world. Integrators looking to grow alongside the burgeoning digital signage market could benefit from being in the know when it comes to the best technology to fit a customer’s needs.

Direct View LED Displays

Direct-view LED displays are typically the best choice for outdoor displays thanks to a greater durability and longer lifecycle. These are usually what you would find being used in stadiums or larger venues.  Outdoor displays are also usually viewed from further away requiring a larger image which makes pixel pitch one of the most crucial variables to consider when it comes to LED Displays. Pixel pitch refers to the distance between pixels and determines how close someone can stand to a display before they can see the individual pixels of and image. The lower the pitch the closer a viewer and stand to the display and still see content legibly. In terms of pixel pitch, displays are available from 10MM to 30MM for outdoor applications. However, if a customer is looking to use a direct-view LED display for indoor purposes, low pitch LEDs are also available with a pixel pitch below 10MM. Direct-view LED displays are also better suited for outdoor use  because they offer higher brightness levels. The brighter the display, the better it can compete against direct sunlight. If your customer’s digital signage application is for an entertainment venue, billboard or a building wrap you would do well to recommend a direct-view LED display.

LCD Displays

LCD technology enables a higher resolution capabilities such as 1080P and 4K UHD. This means that images on LCD displays remain clear even at a close range. LCD displays are typically more affordable due to the fact that they are more of self-contained technology that doesn’t require special mounting solutions, video processors or controller boxes. For these reasons, LCD displays are typically a better choice for indoor applications such as restaurant digital menu boards or video walls. That being said, newer technology and the help of enclosures have also increased the popularity of LCD displays for outdoor applications also. The first consideration when selecting an LCD display is the content that will be shown. Depending on that, you can help your customer choose the right display for their needs based on the maximum viewing distance to the display. If the content is meant for passive viewing, the maximum viewing distance to the display should be 8 times its height. For basic decision making the maximum viewing distance should be no more than 6 times the height of the display. If you are looking for viewers to make more analytical decisions based on your content, they should be no further from the display than 4 times its height.

Projectors

As the technology for projectors continues to advance, their use in large venues such as convention centers, arenas, hotels and resorts is becoming more common for digital signage applications. Projectors have the ability to throw an image onto almost any surface such as ice, stone, metal and even storefront windows. This is an ideal solution when content needs to be conveyed on a surface that will not accommodate the weight of a digital display. Projectors are also ideal for conveying images on odd shapes or on an angle. Additionally, projectors can cover a much larger area for a lower cost even when housing and temperature control are taken into account.

The Santiago de Cuba Cathedral

Digital Image Projected on the Face of a Building

Deciding which technology is right for your customer’s needs boils down to application, objectives, and budget. To that fact, if viewers are going to be up close and personal with the display, an LCD may be better suited their needs. If the content of the digital display is going to be viewed from much longer distances requiring a very large image, then LED may be the way to go.  For displays where content is going to be displayed in a large area or on an odd surface, the best suggestion would be the use of a projector.  If you are unsure about which technology will best fit your next project, ADI’s Systems Support Group is available to help. You can contact the ADI Systems Support group at 1.800.ADI.SYS1.

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