LCD Video Walls: Commercial Displays vs Consumer TVs
The Userful video-wall product is one of the few cost-effective options that supports using any display (or a mix of displays) to create a video wall which makes Userful a neutral voice in the discussion of which screen best suits a particular video wall.
Professional-grade digital signage displays—with higher-resolution, low or zero bezel—definitely provide a greater impact on audiences, with greater brightness, longer life and a better warranty, but they cost 3x to 5x more than a consumer TV.
In some situations the extra cost is warranted, but it’s a worthwhile question: when can we safely take advantage of consumer TVs for video walls and when is it worth paying the extra, upfront cost for commercial-grade displays?
Commercial LCD Video Wall displays are the better option when:
- It is deployed to a large number of locations where the onsite warranty offered will be a significant, logistical advantage.
- Very-thin to zero bezel is needed for seamless alignment and more streamlined look.
- Implementing artistic, or mosaic-style, video walls (see an example here) where the displays will have all sorts of orientations, and Consumer TVs are not designed for orientations other
- There are environmental challenges such as high heat/cold, grease, dust, vibration, or corrosion. Commercial-grade displays have hardware/enclosures designed for heavy-duty usage
- Located in unsupervised areas where advance features—such as disabling the IR remote control—is needed.
- Usage is critical and relies on long lifespan and a solid on-site warranty that covers extended running times—usually 16-24 hours a day.
TVs may be a cost-saving option when:
- The immediate environment is under daily supervision by your staff, to prevent tampering with it.
- It does not run 24/7 (e.g., it only runs during business hours).
- Regular-size bezels are an option for you—as opposed to the specialized ultra low-bezel or “zero bezel” displays.
- Your video wall size or enclosure won't create extra heat challenges (i.e. if your video wall recesses into a tight space with poor air circulation and/or it has many rows where the cumulative rising from displays below can significantly overheat the upper rows).
- You do not need RS-232 control—a feature not available in many consumer grade TVs.
- The cost savings are significant enough to justify potentially decreased lifespan, and the less “solid” warranty is not an issue
- The TV unit had advanced testing to ensure compatibility with mounting hardware, endpoint device, and video wall software.
- It is tied into a system that gives you centralized power-off controls, settings, bezel correction, etc.
Consumer TVs will never replace a higher-quality commercial-grade display in providing the high impact that audiences nowadays demand, and for video walls a professional display with ultra-low or zero bezel will definitely provide a better end result. A consumer TV and lower-grade display will make sense for digital signage, with stand-alone displays, where screen integration is not necessary.