Last week, we discussed key considerations for selecting a screen such as aesthetics, ports, resolution and size. Next, we will examine protecting your screen indoors and outdoors, and how to choose between a commercial or consumer screen.
If you plan to use consumer grade screens outdoors, unprotected, it's likely that any damage sustained will void the warranty. Therefore, it's recommended that you buy commercial grade screens, which are designed for outdoor use.
Most screens designed for outdoor use come with a warranty, but you should always check if it covers things like weather damage, vandalism and sunlight damage.
For added peace of mind, it's worthwhile investing in environmental, outdoor digital signage enclosure systems, which protect against such threats. Equally, an enclosure will come with its own warranty.
Consumer or commercial grade screens?
Commercial displays carry a higher price tag, but then they are designed for continual outdoor use for 16 hours and tend to be much more high quality than consumer screens. That doesn't mean you have to rush out and buy commercial grade screens for the sake of it, but based on experience, consumer screens carry three fundamental flaws.
The surround on consumer screens tends to be thicker at the bottom. If you plan to install digital signage screens in portrait orientation, they will look uneven. Commercial grade screens have a thinner, more even bezel, which makes them better suited for use in portrait orientation.
Quality of manufacturing
Commercial screens are manufactured to last longer. They can remain switched on for lengthy periods, whereas consumer screens are not specifically designed for the same sort of use.
However, if you need to cut costs, consumer screens can do the job. Just be aware that they may not last as long, facing potential blackout as a result of exposure to direct sunlight, while costing you more in the long-term.
Compared to commercial grade screens, consumer displays don't have some of the features needed to support software. Whether consumer or commercial, always check the screen has the features you need.
Using screens outdoors
When using digital signage screens outdoors, here are a few things to consider:
Standard (consumer) screens are unreadable in sunlight. As a result, there's been a surge in the number of high-bright screens available on the market. High-bright screens, otherwise known as daylight or sunlight readable displays, maintain screen visibility in extreme sunlight.
They do this by emitting a high level of light, often described as luminance, which is the measure of how much luminous intensity is coming from a certain area and how much of that light can be perceived by the human eye when looking at a screen from a particular angle.
Luminance is measured in candelas per square metre, a measurement more commonly referred to as nits
What you need to know is that for a screen to be visible in extreme direct sunlight, you need a high-brightness screen with a luminance rating of at least 2,000 nits.
Rain, snow, condensation and temperature are major damage threats to digital signage screens used outdoors. The best form of prevention is protection in the shape of outdoor digital signage enclosures.
Enclosures are less expensive than dedicated outdoor screens and far more flexible, with the potential to upgrade screens independently of other hardware as technology advances. Plus, they require very little maintenance.
Number of screens
It's hard to hang your hat on this one as there are so many variables, but the amount of space you have and the necessary permissions to deploy digital signage outdoors will ultimately determine how many screens you can position outdoors.
Image via Armagard
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. www