Why choose Commercial/Industrial vs. Consumer Grade Displays

Posted on December 13, 2010

BLiNKBLiNK gives you professional advice

1. Displays are NOT created equal

No, I did not say brands are not created equal, I used the word displays. Price discrimination is performed by every company in the display industry. This generally means you get what you pay for regardless of what brand you purchase. It also can mean that an inexpensive version of a known brand could be a lower quality of an unknown. Then again, you could be taking a gamble there.

2. Resolution is not the "Solution" (at the least not the only solution)

While the resolution of a particular display may say a great deal about how the display will look, there are other factors to consider apart from the resolution. Think about dot pitch, input lag, response time, refresh rate, matrix type, and gamma correction. Resolution is only a piece of a huge pie.

3. Contrast the Brightness!

Whatever brightness and contrast between colors you want is somewhat determined by the venue of the installation. You will most likely not want a low brightness, high contrast display installed in a poor lit area. If this doesn't matter for other locales you're placing your screens, it may be wise to take inventory of what the lighting situations are like for each display installation and then purchase a display accordingly.

4. Pay attention to Input Ports

While this should go without saying, you will want to know exactly what inputs your display has. In some cases output ports will be important as well. Will your digital sign need DVI, VGA, LVDS, DisplayPort, S-Video or HDMI? Will it need a combination of all three? Which is absolutely necessary?

5. Pay attention to the Grayscale scale

Grayscale is linear color tracking from black to white. Good linear color tracking and a full grayscale on the display are an aspect of the commercial display. For digital signs the diversity of luminance from PC applications is often needed for industrial installations. Contrastingly, consumer displays often skew the grayscale for more of the bright/white end of the color spectrum.

6. The internal scalier algorithm matters

In simple terms, the internal scalier allows the display to recognize all PC video resolutions that may be input into the display. In commercial displays, the internal scalier algorithm is complex and therefore costs more. On the consumer end, the internal scalier algorithm only supports a very limited and extremely standardized set of PC resolutions.

7. Is your display secure?

Commercial displays are simply more secure. Consumer displays do not offer security features such as IR remote controls or front bezel control (control panel lock) options. Such security feature-sets can be very important for the longevity of the display. Without them, it may not matter what you spend if your display's security is compromised.

8. Burn-in Prevention

Image retention in a display is crucial. I have been the witness of many "burn-in." If you are unaware of what burn-in looks like, do a "Google Image Search for 'Burn-in'" and you'll see. Consumer displays are not generally designed to have images retained on the screen for long periods of time as a commercial display would. They are mostly made for motion graphics. Prevent this by going with an industrial display.

9. Can you say RS232? Well, can you?

One important feature of a commercial or industrial display is the ability to control the display's attributes through an industry-standard RS232 connection. This feature allows operators to be in control of the screen when not in the vicinity of the screen. It's one thing to have RS-232 capabilities, but making sure the display has the connection is vitally important as well. PC and video loop-through connector capability are also features to look for in an industrial display.

10. Display Orientation

Consumer displays often lack the ability to mount the display in portrait or landscape mode, industrial displays do not. While this is not always a deal breaker. It is something to consider.

11. Chassis and electronic component and design and mounting options

Commercial and industrial displays have better mounting options and more industrialized electrical components. They are designed to withstand long operating hours in areas that have greater variance in temperature fluctuation for both heat and cold.

In conclusion, it can be said that there are greater differences between commercial and consumer displays than initially meet the eye. Each fulfills its particular role and is designed for a very specific purpose. So, when choosing a display technology, be sure you go with something that will fulfill the needs of the specific niche you are working in. And make sure the hardware is as robust as possible.