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What to consider in a digital screen purchase

What to consider in a digital screen purchase

Published on

August 21, 2019

Andrew Harris

Sales & Product Development

Harris Time scheduling

Having a digital screen in view of potential customers is a great way of sharing important information and communicating updates. Screens are often one of the first things visitors see when walking into your building (or even before entering, if used as exterior advertising), and can be a valuable tool for everything from menu display to location or directory information, directions, or event details. Choosing the right digital screen may feel like buying a new tv for your home but there are several different considerations that need to be made for a commercial investment. In this article we’ll outline three of the main aspects to look at before making a purchase!

Usage and Functions of Screen

Intended Use

Some think that purchasing a standard “TV” will suffice to display information in place of investing in an industrial screen display. Even though it may seem like a more cost effective option initially, a TV intended for consumer use will not serve you well down the road. Consumer tvs are only built for basic use of standard “TV viewing”. Not built for constant use, these screens don’t have airflow capabilities and cooling designs to allow for usage outside of the standard few hours a day. Overuse will result in picture quality loss and colour retention issues, causing you to have to repair or replace the screen.

Commercial screens are used in more harsh settings including increased heat, environments with dirt and grease, or frequent touch screen use, which means they need to be able to withstand tough elements. These screens hold up to longer hours of use, some as much as 16-24 hours a day and often have built features such as no exterior buttons so the content can’t be controlled or switched off by patrons or staff.


Warranties on consumer tvs generally restrict use to strictly personal, and limit the warranty period to one year. Commercial screens require heavier usage and come with appropriate warranties to cover it. The time period is also longer, an average of 3 years (including parts & labour), and will sometimes include coverage of on-site service due to the size of the display.

The cost of a commercial screen may initially be more than that of a TV but due to the industrial quality they are built to last longer. Not only will the screen have to be replaced less often, but repairs may not be out of pocket if covered under warranty. When you consider the service and replacement of large displays, it makes the cost over time a more affordable option.


Installing a display in a retail or business setting require unique functions of the screen that may not be something a personal tv is capable of. Consumer TVs are only able to be viewed in landscape mode, whereas some commercial screens can be adapted for use in portrait mode when necessary. Commercial screens can be made with greater brightness levels that are designed to counter the bright conditions found in stores etc. Consumer tvs are intended to be viewed in the controlled lighting inside our own homes, and therefore do not need anywhere near the same brightness capabilities.

You may also like:  What is pixel pitch?

Commercial screens are intended to have more features than standard TV viewing when it comes to media input. They are much more compatible with a variety of technology, and contain a broader set of inputs such as RS232C for a media playback device. Some even come with built in Wifi and Ethernet for maximum capabilities and control remotely.

Screen Resolution

Picture resolution refers to the number of pixels that compose the image and its details on the screen. Picture quality is also defined by things such as contrast and colour, but in standard comparisons display resolution mostly refers to the amount of pixel lines that make up the screen. To learn more about pixel makeup please refer to this article.

Unlike with pixel pitches, a higher resolution means that there are more pixels within the screen, creating a sharper picture. 720p is the lowest resolution, it has about twice the detail of analog TV pictures. Some standard channels broadcast in 1080i, but 1080p is becoming more common. Here are the display resolutions most commonly available:

  • 720p: composed of 1280pixels x 720lines.
  • 1080i: 1920 pixels x 1080 lines. These lines are interlaced so lines are painted in two passes of 540 lines, making the quality not much better than 720p.
  • 1080p: 1920 pixels x 1080 lines. This a progressive scan so it provides full 2.07 million pixels. The higher resolution means info can be read from a distance which is ideal for business/retail settings
  • 4k: 3840 pixels x 2160 lines = 8.3 million pixels. These pixels are the smallest in size, allowing for much finer picture details.

Outer Bezel

A bezel is the area of the display around the screen that essentially holds it in place. The bezel is like a frame around a photo, it offers structural integrity and protection. A bezel can be created at different dimensions to appear thicker around the screen, or ultra-thin. Thinner versions are sleeker looking, and offer less disturbance to the picture, especially when multiple screens are fitted together to create a larger display. While creating a bezel-less display does increase the screen size it does also make the display more expensive, and offers less structural support.

Bezels on consumer tvs aren’t generally ideal for use in business and retail settings due to the changing cosmetic or “trendy” nature of televisions. Displays that are specifically designed for commercial use are usually more clean, sleek and symmetrical looking and are created without any manufacturer branding.

Considering which display screens may work best for your establishment?

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