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Digital Signage Displays: A Hardware Buyer’s Guide

From tablets to industrial media players, retailers must choose digital signage display hardware tailored to their customers and business needs.

When used effectively, digital signage is a powerful tool for any retail business. Not only do they boost sales by 33% for a majority of brands, but global demand is expected to help digital signage markets reach $29.8 billion within the next two years. And yet, despite all these gains, choosing and implementing the right digital signage display can be a challenge.

Before making a significant investment, business owners and commercial real estate managers should always review the available hardware options and choose products that enhance their marketing strategies. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll take a closer look at the equipment and features owners will need to prepare their digital signage display.

Jump to a section

Digital signage display screens

Tablet

Standard television screen

Smart TV

Commercial screen

Media players

Commercial and industrial media players

Network types

Ethernet

WiFi

Conclusion

Looking for more ways to elevate your retail experience with digital signage? Check out our article, Retail Digital Signage: The Ultimate Guide.

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Digital signage display screens

Digital signage runs the gamut from tablets to wall-sized displays to elaborate AR experiences. Whatever the need may be, it always starts with choosing a display screen that matches your goal. Some projects — such as an interactive showroom — might require a custom-built solution, but many standard models are also available. The main questions buyers must consider are how much display size they’ll need and whether customers will interact with the screen directly.

Tablet

In the digital signage world, bigger isn’t always best. If only one customer needs to view and interact with a device, tablet displays are the ideal choice. Their touch screens allow for 1:1 engagement while meeting various business needs. For example, tablets let customers look up nearby products on a shopping floor or check for available inventory. Tablet displays can also double as elevator control panels, office temperature displays, and more.

The only downside is durability. Tablet signage is rarely designed for high-volume use and will need replacing more frequently than other displays. Therefore, retailers should choose relatively inexpensive devices to keep associated costs low.

Mimo Adapt-IQ 7"

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Standard television screen

In its most basic form, digital signage is effectively the same as a living room TV set. While there may be additional setup needed to play marketing content — which we will discuss below — consumer-grade televisions can be a budget-friendly option for some enterprises. In these cases, retailers should be aware of screen size, screen resolution, color quality, and other performance considerations before making a purchase.

Sceptre 65-inch 4K TV

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Smart TV

Smart TVs are several steps above standard televisions when it comes to digital signage needs. Even a consumer-grade model is effectively an all-in-one-display solution, complete with built-in media players, WiFi connectivity, custom programming options, third-party app support, and more.

When buying a smart TV as a digital sign, buyers should consider processing power alongside overall visual quality. In addition, look for digital signage products that are compatible with any apps or presentation software that you’ll be using.

ViewSonic CDE5010

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Commercial screen

Commercial screens typically refer to one of two types of digital signage solutions. The first is a top-to-the-line screen that runs all day, without a single blip in overall performance. The second is a custom solution, such as multiple interconnected screens that display content over an entire wall. In both cases, commercial screens tend to have highly-specific use cases and must be durable enough to sustain rigorous use, making them far more expensive than other signage options.

Remember that while the first type of commercial digital signage can be purchased directly from manufacturers, custom solutions may require specialists or technicians to ensure everything is installed correctly.

Samsung DC-E Series 55"

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Media players

Even in 2022, many digital signs on the market don’t include built-in media software. In these cases, buyers will need to purchase a separate media player that manages marketing content and transmits it to your screen. Perhaps this will change in the near future — many smart TVs now offer integrated media options through downloadable apps — but today’s buyers may need a third-party product to bring everything together.

Commercial and industrial media players

There is a wide range of media players available to retail buyers in 2022. However, for enterprise purposes, you generally want something that will stand up to heavy use. Commercial-grade media players tend to use metal parts instead of plastic, offering higher processing power and supporting 4K video resolutions.

Chromebox Commercial 2

A commercial media player will benefit most retail settings, but some enterprises may face unusual circumstances or working conditions that require extra support. For example, fast-food restaurants, outdoor displays, and locations with frequent humidity or air quality changes should consider buying an industrial media player instead. These devices offer the benefits of commercial-grade digital signs within with a protective chassis — look for features like shock absorption, moisture protection, or temperature control, depending on your working environment. This extra support ensures your media will display consistently at any time of day.

Videotel VP71XD 4K

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Network types

If your digital signage display and media player are separate devices, they’ll need some way to interact with each other. In 2022, that usually means connecting to a local network. Buyers will need to be sure their final purchases are compatible with one or both of the following options:

Ethernet

Ethernet cables are the fastest and most consistent network communication method, although they may require some pre-planning to install. Buyers will need digital signage and media players with ethernet support and enough cables to connect them physically. This step may require additional retail infrastructure so that cables will be entirely out of the customer’s view.

WiFi

The simplest network solution in 2022 is to go wireless. WiFi networks free you from physical network connections so you can focus on the best placement for a digital sign. That being said, maintaining a high connection speed is crucial once you cut the cord. Digital signage displays with 802.11ac WiFi support the widest array of high-speed connections with minimal drop-off.

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Conclusion

It’s easier than ever for retailers to buy hardware to assemble their own digital signage display. Fully engaging your customers, however, means thinking differently about the entire commercial space. Vera from Resonai can help by transforming retail enterprises into intelligent digital environments. This approach allows retailers to get more from digital signage placements and leverage AR content to engage customers with personalized shopping experiences.

Are you ready to learn more? Get in touch with Resonai today and set up a free demonstration.

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