One of the most frequent and inevitable questions end-user clients pose towards professional audio-visual designers is, "Why can't I just buy a cheap TV from (enter retail outlet name here)?"
It is a valid question, especially coming from end-user and non-technical customers, who ultimately want to know what they are getting from their technology budget. The outward appearance of domestic TVs and commercial displays may seem identical, leading customers to question how a commercial display justifies its higher price tag compared to televisions. Nevertheless, it is important to educate customers to not confuse these two technologies since their functions and corresponding application areas vary on a huge scale.
So, what makes a premium panel, premium?
If you need:
- flexibility for creative installations
- screens to operate for long hours
- low glare in retail and signage applications
- the right connection terminals for corporate meeting rooms;
then commercial displays will fulfill your requirements. Domestic and hospitality-grade TVs will most likely lead to a significantly higher overall cost in the mid to long term.
The purpose of a large format display, in all application areas, is to show content. Often, it is required to capture viewers’ or participants’ attention, and make them aware of important information. It is paramount to aspire to the best possible visual conditions and ensure flawless visibility. To achieve premium picture quality, there are various aspects to consider:
We have all been subject to public spaces such as shopping centres, train stations, pubs and bars, and even at workplace meeting spaces, where the main screen displaying content looks more like a mirror than a digital display. The content being displayed is largely obscured, and therefore a missed viewing opportunity.
Reducing the surface reflection, in addition to a sufficient brightness level, is one of the key advantages of commercial displays. Look for a vendor that uses an advanced anti-reflection haze filter. The anti-glare surface treatment reduces reflection to a minimum and achieves advanced visual presentation even in a bright environment. Even when installed in high ambient light environments, a high haze filter will minimize any sun reflection to ensure content visibility.
Depending on the ambient light, it is necessary to have a minimum brightness level to guarantee sufficient visibility. Typically, transport environments, modern offices and tertiary spaces are flooded with light via glass atriums and facades. These and other equally bright spaces require displays to deliver brightness levels of 500cd/m² to 700cd/m²*.
Domestic televisions rarely surpass 350cd/m². Commercial displays usually provide a high (≥700cd/m²) or moderate (350-500cd/m²) brightness output suitable for common light conditions. This ensures effortless readability, even in challenging circumstances.
*cd/m2 is candela per square metre, a metric measurement of luminance or brightness
Uniformity & Picture Quality
Commercial displays use high-end components to achieve the best possible picture quality. Typically, televisions prioritise competitive consumer pricing over quality. For the best quality, opt for displays that balance brightness levels across the entire surface area to prevent dark spots at the edges of the display.
Commercial displays often have pre-calibrated factory settings to guarantee accurate colours. In addition, colours can either be individually adjusted via the on-screen display or calibrated externally. This ensures customers can achieve the exact picture they want.
This professional calibration is not available with consumer TVs, causing colours to look blurry and washed out. Find a vendor that uses technology to control colour accuracy, uniformity and aging.
Panel Longevity and Heat Protection
Large format displays are designed to deliver a flawless performance even whilst exposed to the toughest conditions. Heat protection becomes a serious issue during uninterrupted operation.
Seek out vendors who design displays with excellent heat flow. The heat, generated from the backlight or the power-supply-unit, must have a dedicated means of dispersal, regardless of whether the display is installed in landscape or portrait mode. Temperatures inside the display must be constantly controlled with the means of providing an early warning if necessary.
If the temperature threshold is reached, the display should activate fans to blow out any hot air and lower temperatures inside the unit. Once the display has returned to a low temperature level, the sensors should trigger fans to de-activate.
Choose displays that support Open Modular Intelligence (OMi) with additional signal connectivity options (e.g. SDI, HDBaseT) and even embedded computing (e.g. Intel based computers, Raspberry Pi) to achieve a seamless connection between source and display without any further need for external computing equipment, cabling or mounting.
Security and Peace of Mind
Errors or disruptions to content being displayed is not always related to technical glitches. In retail, hospitality, transport and even corporate environments, unauthorised users sabotaging the display by IR remote control or by locating buttons on the display can create loss of revenue and productivity.
Commercial displays provide sp ecial precautions such as infrared control lock functions, PIN protection for the on-screen display to restrict unauthorised individuals from accessing settings. Not only do they restrict unauthorised access, they also offer advanced accessibility for administrators.
Large format displays appear in a variety of usage scenarios. From presentations in meeting rooms, advertising and wayfinding, transport information in airports and railway stations, and mission critical applications in control rooms and hospitals. In all these use-cases, the display system is trusted to provide dependable service, delivering ‘fit for purpose’ reliability.
Inefficient meeting room equipment affects productivity. Faulty menu boards in a quick service restaurant leads to loss of revenue. Out-of-service passenger information systems create severe delays. Most of all, reduced access to data in a control room scenario could be catastrophic.
Selecting a product fit for its specific application is crucial. Premium panels provide not only operational and visual reliability but also endure uninterrupted usage over time.
In a competitive industry, where technical specifications look the same, you can be sure to draw confidence in premium commercial brands that have a reputation for quality and for offering a level of excellence that should not be ignored.