- On July 21, 2021
- 0 Comments
Digital signage is more of an essential business tool now than it has been in the past. The rapid increase in digital content marketing and digital signage displays has changed the way businesses reach out to their customer base. Innovation has created a business landscape where relying on traditional static signage to communicate your message to consumers means you’ve fallen behind the competition. As a result, many people are looking for alternative ways to implement high tech signage displays at a low cost and are turning to digital signage TV screens. It may be tempting, but is it worth it?
What are Digital Signage TV Screens?
Let’s clear up the terminology first. In the digital signage industry, these screens are widely referred to as consumer screens. But it’s important to recognize them as TV screens, because that’s what they are: TVs built for home entertainment, and adapted by business owners to serve as a digital signage display.
You’ve probably seen them in restaurants or retail stores without thinking twice about what the technology was. In many cases, restaurants use TVs as a digital menu board. Or maybe a TV is used in a local boutique to promote a seasonal sale or a new collection of products.
For some businesses looking for ways to cut costs, this can seem like an effective way to keep up with the competition. After all, Samsung and other popular brands have TVs that often go for only a few hundred dollars at any Target, Walmart, Best Buy, or similar store. There’s a perceived ease and accessibility attached to the idea of doing it yourself and getting your own digital signage display. However, when compared to the industry standards set by commercial signage technology, TV screens fall short in many ways. Keep reading to find out why.
What’s the difference between consumer and commercial signage?
While consumer signs are TV screens that can be sold at many stores, commercial signage screens are sourced from experienced digital signage companies that develop screens built for signage purposes. Engineers and designers have spent years developing technology that is durable, efficient, and cost effective in order to help businesses take their messaging to the next level.
Commercial signage also eliminates a lot of the fundamental disadvantages that come with using TV screens as signs, resulting in advanced and impactful signage technology that helps a business grow. For a further in-depth comparison between consumer and commercial signage, read our post: Digital Signage Screens: Commercial vs. Consumer
Why should you stay away from digital signage tv screens?
When Doing it Yourself, You Get What You Pay For
Let’s first look at the big picture of what this question of TV screens as digital signage is really about – you want to do it yourself. For many, finding a solution where you can cut costs and get the same results as competitors is appealing, understandably so. It’s satisfying when you successfully find a workaround method to a solution while others have paid more money for the same result.
But the truth is that doing it yourself can work well in many areas of life, but less so in other areas. It all depends on what exactly the it is in doing it yourself, and in these circumstances, we believe the DIY approach is flawed. For example, you likely wouldn’t hesitate to paint your own walls or make an attempt at a home improvement task in favor of hiring someone. However, these situations have far lower stakes. If you mess up, it’s not much of a financial loss because small projects don’t have a significant impact on other areas of your life. However, if you DIY something as complex and impactful as digital signage for your business, there are higher stakes. And in this case, if you take the cheap, cost cutting option, you get what you pay for: something cheap.
Smaller Selection of Screen Options
TVs only come in a limited number of display options. When was the last time you needed anything other than a rectangular screen with a media player in your living room? The only variations in LED TVs are in their size and picture quality, so you don’t have much room to customize them to a specific use case. That’s not the case with commercial displays.
Professional digital signage companies like Keyser offer a selection of various screen options with dynamic functionalities so you can find which ones best suit your needs as a business. Below are some of the screens commonly offered:
- In-window Displays – Window displays are an effective tool for bringing passersby into your business. Whether you’re a restaurant advertising a menu item to someone looking for a place to eat lunch or a retailer spotlighting a newly released product to shoppers, window displays inspire people to walk through your doors.
- Self-service Kiosks – Kiosks are a beneficial tool for many businesses, but restaurants in particular. They reduce labor costs, help services move along at a faster rate, and offer another option of customer experience.
- LCD/LED Video Walls – Although this signage option might be a bit more flashy than some businesses are looking for, you might be a business that can afford this signage option and would benefit from a more impressive display. Or maybe you could see your business growing to the point where a video wall would fit perfectly into your marketing plan. Whether you’re ready for a big LCD or LED display or not, it’s nice to know you have an array of options when it comes to screens.
- Outdoor Signage – When was the last time you thought it would be a good idea to put a TV outside long term? Probably never. There are obvious issues like rain, snow, and sunshine, which would all damage a consumer TV screen. However, commercial signage screens are built for durability in any weather condition.
- Digital Menu Boards – Menu boards come in both indoor and outdoor display options. Updating new menu items and adding promos is an easy process when paired with digital signage software.
- Interactive – Interactive touch screen signage comes in many forms, one of the most highly valued ones being wayfinding signage. Interactive displays that provide critical information for visitors elevates customer experience to a new level. You won’t find this option with a consumer TV screen.
- Reader Boards – This type of signage has a variety of applications, including billboards, scoreboards, signage for churches and other places of worship, school campuses, etc. This is a full HD display designed to draw the attention of audiences in any setting.
A smaller screen selection means limited digital signage applications. All of these screen options have Android compatibility and can be customized to fit your brand aesthetic and specific use case.
Inefficient Use of Energy
If you’ve ever looked into what contributes to your electricity bill, you probably learned that home entertainment setups tend to suck up a lot of energy if they’re left on for too long. These are devices that burn through a lot of power, which is why they’re not meant to be used all day, every day like they are for business use. If a restaurant keeps a TV on during all business hours, it uses up an absurd amount of electricity.
Digital signage engineers take electricity expenses into account when designing technology that uses less power over longer periods of time. Think of it as having the energy saving setting on your AC unit. It’s a more responsible way to use signage, considering the upcoming energy and climate change issues the world is facing. Moving towards a more efficient use of energy is not only cost saving, it also helps your business become part of the global sustainability effort. Consumers want to invest in brands that align with their values and support a better future, especially in the case of Millennials and Gen Z. We know that energy saving technology will become a growing priority in the coming years for both consumers and businesses, so it can only help your organization grow.
Short Term Investment
TVs adapted to signage use will not last nearly as long as the best digital signage players out there, or even the more mediocre digital signage. The more a TV is strained to the limits of its usage, the sooner it’s going to kick the bucket. Which means you’ll wind up right where you started, in need of new digital signage.
Smart business plans take long term growth into consideration. If you truly have a bright future in the works for your business, it’s important to prioritize not just the one year plan, but the five year plan and the ten year plan. Commercial screens are built to last for those long term plans, and they help turn those years into periods of growth.
Frequent Technical Issues
We’ve talked about how TV screens are not designed to withstand consistent long term usage and how this can cause a shortened lifespan for store bought TVs, but business owners often find that other issues crop up over time.
A detrimental issue that a lot of businesses run into with overworked TV screens is image retention. Image retention is when a digital image stays on the display screen when it should no longer be visible. Commercial signage is built to resist this issue while still being used for long hours every day.
Limited Software Selection
While there are digital signage software solutions on the market that can be used for TV signage, it’s not always a guarantee that the software will work well for the TV screen or your business needs. Software sourced from digital signage solutions have a higher compatibility with commercial screens because they’re built to be paired together.
Signage software isn’t something you want to take the quick and easy road on. Content management systems allow you to design dynamic messaging, while still leaving room for the flexibility that your business needs. A CMS designed for digital signage is the best way to establish connectivity across all your signage screens, making brand consistency easy.
No Safeguard Against External Forces
We’d all like to assume that we can consider our technology safe when it’s within the walls of our own business. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Businesses sometimes get mischievous customers who, for whatever reason, decide to mess with the screen. On a TV screen this is very easy to do because even if you keep the remote behind the counter, consumer screens have control buttons, typically on the sides. This leaves your signage vulnerable to anyone who comes into your business.
Commercial signage protects against that possibility with the front panel lockout feature that prevents anyone other than you and your staff from altering the display. Professional signage screens are also built for durability, while TVs designed for home entertainment are not.
Limited Input Options
Consumer TV screens have small input panels in comparison to commercial signage. The result is a much more limited set of options for how you can connect to the screen. While TV’s typically only have an HDMI port, commercial screens regularly include VGA, USB, DVI, Display Port, and HDMI.
Lack of Support Services
Simply going to Walmart and buying a TV may be convenient, but it’s not a transaction that offers any support or other services during a new signage implementation or after the fact. You’re more or less on your own as a consumer because the transaction is not based on the assumption that a TV will be repurposed as signage.
In contrast, a digital signage company takes every aspect of new signage implementation in
to consideration and has support and service teams designed to help you be successful with this new form of messaging. These supportive services truly are a necessity because implementing digital signage isn’t a small undertaking. Here’s what we offer:
- Design – Not every business has a graphic designer at their disposal ready to use their creativity and technical skill to create visual content. That’s why Keyser has an internal design team that works with companies to develop the aesthetic that fits your brand and designs your digital signage content.
- Installation – Installing a TV screen in your business could be anywhere from simple to complex. If you’re using a wall mount, it might be a fairly difficult process for you or your employees. In the case of commercial signage, there’s literally nothing for you to worry about when it comes to the installation process. We coordinate with you to have our experienced team do the installation at a time that works for you, and that’s it. With a professional signage service, you have the peace of mind that your investment is being installed correctly. For more details on what our installation services include, read our case study of our biggest signage installation project yet.
- Maintenance – You can run into technical issues with any device. And even though commercial screens run into far fewer issues than consumer TVs, they’re not infallible. The difference is that a commercial signage company like Keyser offers maintenance support for any issue. Our maintenance team is ready to solve the problem in a timely manner because we know that the flow of business has to continue.
Missing Out on Incredible Features
Consumer televisions don’t have a lot to offer in terms of advanced features. That’s not the fault of the manufacturers, it’s just not what they’re designed to do. These devices aren’t intended to help you track sales, up-sell products, or grow your business.
In contrast, with commercial signage screens, there are so many possibilities. You’re paying for the flexibility of a a professional digital signage team that is experienced in helping companies find what works for them. When you work with a team that has experience in the industry you have a lot of opportunities for customization and scalability to the needs of your business. So whether your business is a large corporation or a small family-owned business, we have features and customizations that will work for you. Commercial signage software and displays offer the option to use marketing techniques like day-parting, reporting, using data to improve targeted messaging techniques.
Ineffective Use of Budget
It’s likely that many of the above reasons have organically led you to this conclusion, and you probably have a clearer picture of why TV screens for signage displays are a poor investment. Between the lack of features and services, and the short window of time that TV screens are actually useful as signage, it’s not hard to see why they are widely considered an ineffective use of a marketing budget. It comes down to asking what the value is in spending a few hundred dollars on a TV screen if it will need a replacement in a year, or maybe even less.
Digital Signage is a Business Investment
Don’t waste your time on an investment that won’t help your business grow long term. Commercial digital signage solutions are an all-in one package designed to address the messaging needs of all types of businesses. Although you might be paying more initially, as opposed to the cost of a TV screen, you’re paying for quality, longevity, and services.
Contact us today for a free consultation
If you are ready to take the leap and invest in professional digital signage that fits your business model, we’re here to help with the next steps. Let Keyser’s experience do the work for you and we’ll guide you through the digital signage implementation process. Contact us to discuss your next project.