Digital signage tutorial: getting the balance right

| by Daniel Waldron
Digital signage tutorial: getting the balance right

This is part one of a two part series.

Getting the balance right is crucial when choosing digital signage screens. You want value for money, combined with reliability and screens that are fit for purpose. The question is, how do you strike the right balance? This quick-fire tutorial explains some of the basics of digital signage screens.

Screen resolution

Screen resolution is the subject of much confusion. It is often mistaken for picture quality or definition. In fact, resolution indicates how much visible content a screen can display. Thousands or millions of pixels create the content displayed on a screen, and screen resolution indicates how many pixels a screen can display horizontally or vertically.

You're probably familiar with 720p, 1080p and 4K, which are the recognised, industry standard for showing how many pixels a screen can display:

  •  720p is 1,280 pixels running horizontally across a screen, and 720 pixels running vertically
  • 1080 is 1,920 pixels arranged across the screen, and 1,080 running vertically
  • 4K is 3,840 pixels × 2,160 lines(dependent on portrait or landscape orientation)

You would think that the bigger the screen, the greater the resolution, right? In fact, 42-inch digital signage screens could have the same 720p resolution as 55-inch displays. You might opt for the bigger screenwith the exact screen resolution. However, are you getting value for money?

You're getting bigger screens, but can they display more visible content? The answer is no! If you were to use screens with a 720p resolution to display content, you would be limited in the amount of content you could show, regardless of whether you were using 42-inch or 55-inch screens.

With that in mind, you probably want to know what screen type offers the best value for money. 1080p screens probably lead the way in the market, with the ability to display more content and price point being two of the key factors that make these screens the most attractive choice.

This is because 4K screens are still priced at a premium. Plus, it takes much more computing power to display content at 4K resolution. It’s advised that you use 1080p screens to get you started.

Screen size

Choosing the right screen size can be a stumbling block. However, there are three key things to bear in mind when selecting screens for your digital signage installation:

1. How your screens will be mounted.

2. The space you have to work with for installing your digital signage screens.

3. The overall viewable distance of content.

As a rule of thumb, 42 to 55 inch screens (these sizes are measured from corner to corner) are a good place to start, but you can go bigger.

Screen ports

To function as a digital signage screen, your screen should ideally have an HDMI port, but these are built in to most screens currently available on the market.

Screen aesthetics

The look of a screen is determined by the bezel. A bezel is the plastic trim that surrounds the viewing screen. The bigger the bezel, the bulkier a screen looks. Equally, if the bezel is large, less of the screen is showing. Thinner bezels are more aesthetically pleasing, but a better appearance comes at a higher price.

However, a slimmer bezel will make for a better fit in a protective digital signage enclosure, while making your screens more visually appealing.

Next week, I'll discuss how to protect your screen and how to choose between commercial and consume grade screens.

Image via Armagard

Topics: Display Technology, Hardware

Daniel Waldron
Daniel is the Head of Content for award-winning, outdoor digital signage enclosure manufacturer, Armagard. Daniel blogs frequently on digital signage, while overseeing the complete content marketing mix and social media feeds for Armagard. wwwView Daniel Waldron's profile on LinkedIn

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