Advertising screen vs cheap TFT monitor - what's the difference?
April 24, 2016 7:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to buy a monitor for our business that I can use to display adverts/information on. Either fed from a server or loaded onto a SD card. Does anyone know the difference between a cheap used 22" TFT from eBay which I can use with an old Mac Mini and a proper "advertising screen" with a built in computer which can costs hundreds of pounds? Thanks a lot for your insights.
posted by dance to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
 
One thing I wondered - are so called advertising screens more visible in strong sunlight?
posted by dance at 7:42 AM on April 24, 2016


The built-in computer is a bit of a red herring for comparing digital signage products, and something I'd avoid now that small computing devices can be bought and installed behind a display easily and cheaply.

The main differences between consumer displays and ones designed for digital signage is that they are rated for continuous operation, and normally have a warranty that backs that up (usually expressed as a higher hour MTBF or Mean Time Before Failure).

Additional features can be higher contrast display panels, thinner bezels and/or the removal of manufacturer logos, the hiding or removal of controls on the device (e.g. volume, input, power buttons), casing designed to be used in more hostile environments than your average living room, no on-board tuners for broadcast television, and the ability to interact with the display by use of touch.

Here's Panasonic's range of displays for digital signage use (not an endorsement) to give you an idea of features.

If you are a small business and don't plan on running signage continually, and you are using it in a standard office environment, a consumer grade display will probably be just fine as the cost of replacing your display will likely be less than the price of a digital signage geared display and the load you are putting on it won't be much more than a monitor in use for a standard work day.

I would recommend you look for a minimum of full HD (1080p) resolution and digital input though, and depending upon what you plan on displaying, pay careful attention to any functions designed to ameliorate screen burn. This is usually only an issue for older plasmas.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 8:22 AM on April 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Does anyone know the difference between a cheap used 22" TFT from eBay which I can use with an old Mac Mini and a proper "advertising screen" with a built in computer which can costs hundreds of pounds?

One thing I wondered - are so called advertising screens more visible in strong sunlight?


This is one of those things where you have to consider where your priorities and budget need to be considered since a screen that people can't see isn't really worth a damn at all and might as well be a negative.

A lot of these advertising screens are higher brightness to counteract either direct sunlight or skylight lighting in malls. A 22" used TFT screen is no doubt going to be older with poorer brightness, poorer contrast and things like poor vertical viewing angles which means they'll be next to useless if you want to turn them and run them portrait style for advertising. You'll also find things like anti-glare coatings and perhaps hardened glass for outdoor use.

So I guess the follow up questions are, where is this going? Is it portrait or landscape? Does the public interact with it?
posted by Talez at 9:15 AM on April 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


If your information/adverts can be in the form of JPG files, a modern television display could be an option for you. Most modern TVs have a USB input that display graphics as a slide show with user-adjustable delay for changes. That way there's no need for a connected computer.

If you opt for a consumer television, I'd suspect as long as the display uses LEDs, it should be fairly dependable.

As an example, one of your UK retailers is selling this 22" model for around 100 quid.

As others have said, you need to be aware of brightness and viewing angles, but you should be able to determine this if you see it for yourself in a retail shop. For that matter, you could load up a USB stick with graphics files and try it in the shop before you buy.
posted by SteveInMaine at 4:46 PM on April 24, 2016


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