13 Reasons Consumer Displays are Not an Option (Part I)


Commercial displays offer many features not usually found on consumer displays. Commercial environments are much harsher than a controlled home environment. When it comes to commercial environments, your displays need to handle the harsh environment with heavy-duty components and features that need to operate up to 24 hours a day.

Don’t assume all display panels are equal. The 42-inch LED being advertised at Best Buy is probably not the right one to use for your signage network, simply because it is a consumer model. There are many reasons why you should use commercial displays over consumer displays. Here are the specifics as to why:

One of the least known factors when using consumer displays is that manufacturers can void the warranty if the display is being used for commercial digital signage. But besides the warranty issue, commercial-grade panels offer more rugged components: better power supplies, better cooling, a longer panel life and many can operate 24/7/365. Consumer displays are meant to be operated in a controlled (home) environment for an average of 8 to 12 hours a day.

Most commercial-grade flat panels offer a two- or three-year warranty, as opposed to one year for a consumer-display warranty. Commercial-display manufacturers also offer optional one- and two-year extended warranties. And unlike consumer warranties, most commercial-display manufacturers include onsite service as standard.

Ask yourself how would you take down a 60-inch display and deliver or ship it to a service center for repair, then re-install it. It would be costly and time consuming to get warranty service with a consumer display. Just for the onsite service (vs. consumer) alone, it’s worth the small difference in cost for the commercial displays.

Commercial displays are also designed for a longer life, with many offering 50,000 to 60,000 hours of lifetime use. This works out to almost seven years of operating the display 24/7.


Some commercial displays offer non-glare panels, so reflections do not wash out colors and impede consumers from viewing the content on the screen. This feature, along with an ultra-high-brightness display, will make your screen easily viewable in high, bright environments.


Shine-out deflects ambient light, helping to avoid color wash out or lackluster images in very bright or direct-sunlight environments. Content shown on these displays looks great and highly visible in environments with abundant natural light. It also allows the displays to be seen with polarized sunglasses.

This is an important feature if you are planning on placing displays in a storefront window, near store entrances, courtyard, atrium or using digital signage outdoors.

Ambient-light sensors

Ambient-light sensors adjust the panel’s brightness automatically according to the ambient lighting conditions. This feature ensures consistent display brightness under all lighting conditions. It also reduces power consumption, and increases the panel’s operating life. If you are using a high-bright display, having this feature is highly recommended.


IPS stands for “in-plane switching.” IPS displays involve arranging and switching the molecules of the liquid crystal layer between the glass substrates essentially in a plane parallel to these glass plates. IPS panels help to process high-motion content to play smoothly.

When using digital signage, not everyone is looking at the screen head on. Many approach the display from an angle. By having better and clearer viewing angles, the better the chance is that the display will capture the attention of someone walking by from an extreme angle for a longer period.


This stands for “plane-to-line switching” and offers improved viewing angles and image quality over IPS displays.


This feature allows you to lock-out the control panel of the display. Why is this important? If the display is showing broadcast TV as part of your signage, people have a tendency to walk up and start changing channels and adjusting volume. This feature locks them out of all controls on the front and sides of the display. Even if you are not showing TV, people still want to change the channel or volume. Sometimes children play around with the monitor buttons. If at all possible, you should consider mounting the display out of reach of the public. This is not always possible, however, and lock-out would be beneficial.

That’s it for now, but check back with Digital Signage Connection soon for the remaining seven reasons why consumer displays are not an option for any serious digital signage application.

About Author

David Bawarsky, DSCE, is the author of Digital Signage Made Simple for Retailers. He has more than 35 years of experience in helping thousands of companies use technology to effectively communicate their unique marketing messages. He is currently the CEO of mySignageNow, a leading provider of digital signage solutions. He has been a technology entrepreneur throughout his career, creating and managing successful media companies. His companies have won many awards, including an “OBIE” (outdoor advertising’s Oscar) and has been featured in more than 1,900 newspapers, magazines and TV shows worldwide, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, CNN, BBC, NBC’s “Today Show,” and ABC’s “World News Tonight.” For more information, visit www.DigitalSignageMadeSimple.com

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