Digital Signage Screens: Commercial vs. Consumer

Digital Signage Screens: Commercial vs. Consumer

Digital Signage Screens: Commercial vs. Consumer

  • On April 20, 2021

As part of the digital signage industry, we see more and more business owners opting to bring their marketing strategy up-to-date by utilizing digital signage. While digital signage displays are becoming more normalized in both large and small businesses, not everyone adapts the same technology for their digital signage screens. Some business owners go for commercial displays, and others make it work with consumer displays.

If you’re new to the whole digital signage thing, you might not know what the difference is and which type of product is recommended by experts. Investing in digital signage is a significant financial commitment so there’s a lot of factors to consider, like cost, efficiency, quality, display options, and more. Ultimately, you want to consider which screen will benefit your business more in the long run, and we can confidently say that commercial screens are the way to go. 

Throughout this post, we’ll be comparing commercial and consumer screens from different angles, providing you with a thorough understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each type of technology.

What are commercial and consumer digital signage screens?

A commercial screen is built for digital signage displays intended for use in businesses like restaurants, retail stores, malls, supermarkets, etc.

Consumer screens are TV screens that can be purchased in most stores like Best Buy, Target, or Walmart and are intended for home entertainment. Consumer screens are just TVs that business owners have adapted for a digital signage display. 

Key Differences

Cost: Commercial vs Consumer

The main reason why business owners use consumer TVs as digital signage players is to save on expenses. Especially in the case of small businesses like local restaurants or coffee shops, we understand the need to cut costs, while still keeping up with the demand for digital signage. After all, pricing for commercial digital signage displays is higher than the cost of consumer screens. 

However, the cost of a typical home TV for a consumer screen, may actually cost you more in the long run. Since consumer screens are not built for business usage, they’re actually less cost-effective because they tend to have more technical issues and need to be replaced more frequently. We’ll get into why that is in the next point. 

Throughout this post, you’ll find that the majority of the key differences are rooted in the fact that consumer screens are not designed for digital signage, and consequently have a number of limitations when adapted to business use.

Endurance: Commercial vs Consumer

Commercial digital signage displays are built for business usage, which means that they are designed for prolonged use, day in, day out. Remember those technical issues mentioned in the last point? Business owners using consumer screens tend to run into issues after putting a TV through extended use because they weren’t intended for near-constant use. 

Using a product that was meant to be used for a single family’s home entertainment comes with its risks. Business owners typically pay for those risks in repairs or frequent replacements. 

On the other hand, commercial screens can run 24/7, have far fewer technical issues, and a longer lifespan. 

Versatility: Commercial vs Consumer

Commercial screens are designed for versatility to facilitate a diverse set of functionalities and use-cases. The difference with consumer screens is you can only stretch their versatility and usability so far. They’re limited because TV screens are designed exclusively for home entertainment. Here are some ways that commercial screens and consumer screens differ in versatility:

  • Outdoor signage and indoor signage – It should come as a surprise to no one that you can’t put a TV outside, the weather simply wouldn’t allow it. Outdoor menu boards and other outdoor digital displays are not an option when it comes to consumer screens. But you can install commercial digital signage displays outside because they’re built to withstand all types of weather,  maintain good picture quality, and high brightness in the sun. For example, our 55″ High Bright LCD Digital Signage Display is weather tight, has an anti-reflective coating, uses an Android operating system, and has a 3000 Nit brightness output that allows viewers to see HD images in direct sunlight.
  • Size – Commercial-grade screens come in a wider variety of sizes and display options. For example, consumer screens can’t display content in portrait mode, but commercial displays can. And the sizes of commercial signage options go much larger than most TV screens, allowing businesses to display more content.
  • Flexible use cases – At the end of the day, consumer screens are limited because they’re just TVs. If you decide to invest in commercial screens, you’re offered the options of not only digital signage, but also kiosks, digital menu boards, wayfinding signage, and video walls, etc.
  • Input options – Consumer screens have smaller input panels that are typically limited to an HDMI port. Commercial screens have more input options, including VGA, USB, DVI, Display Port, and HDMI.

Scalability and Customization: Commercial vs Consumer

A huge advantage of commercial signage is the ability to customize them to your business and scale usage. Keyser’s Content Management Services help your business identify the best digital signage software to fit your specific business needs. Our CMS solutions allow you to scale digital content to the size of your marketing project and the number of screens you want to use. If you choose to use a consumer screen, you simply don’t get the support and scalability that commercial solutions offer.

Features: Commercial vs Consumer

Unlike consumer screens, commercial display screens are designed for business owners. There are certain features tailored to commercial signage you just won’t get with a TV screen. Some of these unique features include:

  • Front panel lockout – If you choose to display advertisements or menus on consumer screens, you risk someone (typically customers with an inclination to pull pranks) messing with the screen or fiddling with display buttons on the TV. Commercial screens eliminate this issue with the front panel lockout feature, which only allows you or employees to alter digital content or turn the screens on or off. 
  • Use power more efficiently – Since commercial screens are intended to be used every day for extended hours, engineers design them to use energy more efficiently. This point comes back to cost-effectiveness as commercial screens definitely help you save on the electric bill in comparison to consumer screens. There’s also the added bonus of knowing your business is more environmentally friendly by adapting efficient technology.
  • Interactivity – Many commercial display screens have touch screens that customers can interact with, like self-service kiosks and wayfinding signs.
  • Messaging – Commercial screens offer more capabilities in the realm of strategic marketing and targeted messaging. While some businesses use TVs as advertising screens for products, menu items, etc. on consumer devices, commercial digital signage can utilize advanced systems that allow you to target a specific customer base, advertise products based on time of day, region, and even track data to measure the impact of your messaging.
  • Entertainment – The media player allows you to display videos, TV in real-time, graphics, etc. while advertising products at the same time.
  • Image retention – Consumer screens can develop image retention issues if they’re put through enough consistent usage, which means that an image can remain on the LCD display when it shouldn’t be visible anymore. Engineers for commercial signage have designed screens to resist these image retention issues.

Aesthetic & Design: Commercial vs Consumer

Consumer screens and commercial screens are designed with different aesthetics in mind. What we mean is that TV screens are intended to look aesthetically distinct on their own and often have a visible brand logo. Manufacturers design TV screens to stand out among their competitors, so there’s little room for subtlety. 

In contrast, commercial screens are designed to blend into the aesthetic of your business. As a result, they often have more sleek designs that put customized digital content at the forefront and don’t include their manufacturer’s logo. 

Installation & Maintenance: Commercial vs Consumer

The installation process for consumer screens is typically a DIY process. After all, business owners are purchasing TVs and retrofitting them to a business display, typically with a wall-mount or TV stand. Once you buy the product, you might have a limited warranty, but that’s pretty much it. There’s no installation or support team for consumer screens used in business environments because they’re simply not built for this purpose. 

On the other hand, commercial digital sign companies like Keyser offer Installation Services that manage all the logistics of installation of their digital signage solutions.

Although technical issues occur less frequently with commercial screens, that doesn’t mean they’re nonexistent. The difference is the timely product Maintenance Services that come with investing in commercial signage. 

One thing you don’t get with consumer screens is support services to keep your digital signage in operation. Our services offer swift product maintenance to fix any issues your digital displays may have.

Digital Signage Software: Commercial vs Consumer

Digital Display Content Management System | Services | Keyser - Digital Signage Solutions

Commercial screens are designed to pair with advanced content management systems (CMS) that simplify the process of curating the digital content you display, making updates, and tracking data. CMS also gives you the opportunity to have more connectivity across your digital displays. Businesses can have multiple screens connected, displaying relevant content and maintaining brand consistency across all of your screens.

Commercial displays have higher compatibility with quality digital signage software. Although you can use some digital signage software on consumer screens, you’re not going to get the same quality of display on a device that wasn’t designed for the software.

Investing in commercial screens also allows your business to benefit from the advancements in digital signage software. Both the technology and the software are expected to keep improving and evolving in the coming years as digital signage continues to be implemented in more businesses.  You’ll reap the benefits of those advancements if you choose to invest in commercial signage displays. Consumer screens will likely only improve for home entertainment purposes, not for digital signage use.

Weighing your options

While it’s understandable to want to save costs on the initial expense of buying a digital signage screen, commercial displays designed for digital signage are hands-down more cost-effective and beneficial in the long run. 

Depending on your business, consumer screens may be an acceptable temporary solution to digital signage, but we don’t recommend it. Consumer screens impose a number of limitations on your digital signage displays, and often end up resulting in unnecessary expenses. If you plan to implement digital signage into your marketing strategy, making the investment in quality technology far outweighs the roadblocks business owners commonly run into with consumer screens.

Contact us today for a free consultation

Now that you’re informed on the merits of commercial digital signage screens, we’re here to help with the next step. If you’re considering investing in digital signage for your business, let Keyser’s experience do the work for you! Contact us to discuss your next project.


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