Tag: Digital Signage Content
“Can I just buy TV screens from a department store and use them for digital signage displays?”
Of course, you can. You can also use a porcupine for a seat cushion. Either choice presents you with certain and specific pains. (See below: 7 Reasons Consumer Screens Are NOT For Digital Signage Use)
The main reason anyone even considers consumer grade is to try to save money. However, the price between consumer and commercial screens can be as little as a few dollars and the difference is shrinking all the time. Is saving a few dollars up front really worth the risks?
Here is some food for thought. The last link between your message and your audience is your screens. That is why reliability is crucial. In the end, you can have the greatest content in the world but it makes no difference if no one can see it. Commercial grade screens are designed and built to handle the usage requirements of digital signage, hence providing the reliability needed to be successful.
Knowing how important screen selection is, Noventri spends a lot of time vetting suppliers before we associate the Noventri name with them. On rare occasions, you can find a company that has great products along with great support. NEC is one of those companies. NEC screens have an amazing track record for being reliable. They are the only screen supplier that has a 3-year onsite overnight warranty and their team is phenomenal. Their focus is on providing great business products. NEC does not even make consumer grade screens! Since our clients expect personal communication and attention to detail, having a company like NEC is a perfect fit.
Or we could sit on a porcupine. We made the right choice. We’re confident that you will, too.
7 Reasons Consumer Screens Are NOT For Digital Signage Use
1. If customers purchase the Consumer TV on their own, there is a high probability it won’t work correctly and they’ll be chasing problems which their digital signage supplier probably won’t be able to support.
2. Many manufacturers will NOT honor the warranty on Consumer TVs if they are used for professional or Digital Signage applications, even if purchased from a digital signage integrator.
3. Consumer TVs are not made for 24/7 operation. Even though many work just fine, it’s impossible to predict failure rate due to 24/7 operation.
4. There is almost no chance that the supplier will be able to find an identical model, even a few months later.
5. Consumer TVs can’t be mounted vertically (Portrait Mode) because they will overheat. Commercial grade screens have special venting and fans that make this possible. If a consumer screen is mounted vertically (Portrait Mode) you may also find that the screen may not be visible if standing anywhere but directly in front of the screen. The viewing angle is for consumer screens is engineered for the TV to be mounted above someone’s fire place or sitting on an entertainment center.
6. Power On/Off on Consumer TVs cannot be controlled with the Digital Signage Player; they’ll need to be turned On/Off manually.
7. The life of a Consumer TV is about half that of a Professional Digital Signage Display.
Are consumer grade screens a viable alternative? Post your comments and questions below.
“I’m remodeling the kids’ room. May I get a gallon of lead-based paint, please?”
Before 1978, lead-based paint was deemed to be good practice and a great value. Now, in the US, a company can be fined and possibly face criminal charges for failure to comply with regulations regarding removal and disclosure of lead-based paint.
Why? Because we are now aware of the unintended, yet harmful health effects. Today, how would you react if you overheard someone asking the above question? They must be joking, or have no concern for the well-being of their children.
In like manner, it has become standard in the digital signage industry to promote video as the ultimate medium for reaching customers. Conventional “wisdom” says it’s good practice and gets the best value out of your signage. This is because many choose to ignore the harmful side effects video has upon customers.
For example, imagine yourself in a store. You notice a TV suspended from the ceiling near the checkout area. It’s playing a video. What instantly comes to mind?
“Hey, there is going to be some interesting information I really need to know.”
Nope. Most likely it’s, “Oh no! It’s a commercial.” You make the association between a TV showing video and being sold to. You quickly turn away. That’s what customers do.
At Noventri, we embrace the universal truth that people hate watching commercials and will avoid them at every opportunity. How could we, in good conscience, tout the effectiveness of video in digital signage applications? We cannot. We do not. It is a source of pride to stand up for the truth.
Despite these facts, the geeks and crooks of the digital signage industry continue to push “lead paint” as best practice.
“You must have video to have great signage!”
Or “Using lead makes for superior paints!”
A new coat of paint does brighten a room, makes it feel warm, clean, and inviting. Digital signage has the same effect. Isn’t everyone much better off without the lead and video?
Does it make a difference where your screens are mounted? YES!
The Eiffel Tower, Mount Rushmore, The Egyptian Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China all have something in common. Whether they have an audience of one, or of thousands, they can be seen by everyone. These landmarks wouldn’t be nearly as impressive if they could only be seen by one person at a time.
The best way to make your digital screens viewable by the masses is to move them off the floor! Hanging them by the ceiling or on the wall with proper tilting can go a long way. The cynics will say ‘Yeah, but the higher they are the harder it is for them to read.’ Then get a bigger screen! Make the fonts larger! There is always a way around distance. There is NOT a way around having your message blocked while there is a group of people in front of the screen that is on a floor stand. Even one person standing in front of the screen can be enough to destroy your message if your screen is on the floor.
While floor standing screens have their place, make sure that everyone can see your screens by taking the high road, not the low road.
SIDE NOTE: Although this isn’t an article about touch-screens, one reason why touch screen kiosks are strongly discouraged is because they’re intended for one person to use them at a time. Who wants to wait in line to see the Eiffel Tower one person at a time? I would rather enjoy the Eiffel Tower with my friends and family. The same feelings or principles apply to digital signage. People are at your place of business to do something other than stop and admire the new digital screens. So make your digital signs a part of their day-to-day lives by giving them the information they need that is easily viewable by many.
Noventri recently came across this particular entry at QSRWeb.com titled, “Where are the traditional menu board companies?”’
We must say, “Kudos, Scott Sharon.” He is right on when he presents several thought-provoking questions in the second paragraph. His statement, “ …most of the digital menu boards are sold by companies outside the menu board industry” is an interesting observation.
We agree wholeheartedly that IT and AV companies are popping up everywhere with the idea that they can jump on the digital menu board bandwagon and mount some video screens using standard digital signage mentality and call them digital menu boards. But they don’t always work.
Scott’s article confirmed what we have always known…just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. There is more to digital menu boards than just screens, software and hardware and this is where IT and AV companies drop the ball many times.
Likewise, for menu board companies to begin offering digital menu boards there would be a stupendous learning curve to overcome. They are far removed from the technology know-how needed to launch digital menu boards and would soon find themselves needing to partner with companies that understand the technology, ergo, IT and AV.
Ideally the solution would be to develop a symbiotic relationship with both…someone who knows the technology as well as the needs of QSRs and menu board usage. After all, traditional menu boards work, it’s just that they are cumbersome to update and compliance is sporadic throughout franchises. Digital menu boards must provide a solution to the aforementioned, but also understand the design elements of a menu and bring to the table a stable, low-cost, easy-to-use technology.
Having worked closely with QSR’s for years, we, by all means do not know everything there is to know about the menu board industry, but we have developed essential relationships and gained inside knowledge along the way. As a company, we can confidently say, there is definitely more to digital menu boards then meets the eye.
Thanks again, Mr. Sharon and QSRWeb.com for sharing this fundamental insight
Taking a no-video stance when it comes to digital signage is something that Noventri stands by.
Why? Because over the years we have found customers are just not interested in using video in their signage. They may think so at first, but later discover it is not the way to go. Naturally, as the head of Marketing I wanted to see if others shared these same sentiments so I posted the question “Should live TV be part of digital signage content” on a popular business social networking site. The responses were varied and interesting.
Comments soon arrived from all over the world including Spain, Israel, India, and Australia as well as Canada and USA. Naturally digital signage companies responded the most, but there were comments from content companies, news feed companies, creative/marketing companies, and A/V integrators.
One comment in particular seemed to sum up the general consensus toward live TV shown as part of digital signage content. It came from a Market Development Manager from an A/V company in the US. He said, “…It’s an attraction. TV gives viewers a reason to stop and look at the display. And while watching the TV feed they also see everything you truly want them to see.” I’ve heard this argument over and over.
So what were my overall responses to this ominous question? Did they concur? I had well over 30 responses and a whopping 19 gave an affirmative NO, live TV should never be used as digital signage content! Only five agreed with the above statement, that it is an attraction; while seven said it depends on the venue.
I was not surprised since I have always thought live TV feeds on digital signage screens were a distraction. They just don’t go together, kind of like water and oil. Digital signs are digital signs and TV’s are, well…. TV’s.
One digital signage company touts that they have “tested this idea many times and if you include live TV in your signage people are going to focus on that and ignore the message” on the digital sign. Then they reason, “You’re spending all this money for a signage installation just to provide people with television.”
One consulting firm simply states, “Streaming live TV takes away from the objective of most, if not all, digital signage networks.”
“I would never include TV on digital signage…I find video content causes a complete diversion from getting the message across,” comments a digital-out-of-home developer from the UK.
A Canadian company relates, “What they fail to understand is that digital signage – or in this case, digital marketing – relies on a completely different model than broadcast television. The success of digital signage is the consistency and quality of messaging. When live TV interrupts the messaging you lose the audience. Another Canadian says, “With live TV you can’t control the content and this might conflict with the content of your own network. I would stay away from any content that you can’t control. Besides the purpose of digital signage is to get the attention of your audience and to communicate specific messages to the audience. The last thing you want is having the TV content competing for their attention.”
It can be pretty well summed up with this one comment, “It should be live TV or digital signage. Take your pick.” Another says, “It seems to work better if there is a separate screen for programming and one for DOOH. And finally another remarks, “ just ask Walmart about the network television partnership as it relates to digital screens.
TV – a Lazy Man’s Answer?
So if there is such a relentless sounding against live TV feed showing up on digital signage screens, why do we still see it being used on digital signage screens? Well it seems that for some, that’s the way it’s always been. One example was shared that revealed the underlying reason for a company to insist on live TV feeds. This was primarily based on the fact that historically they had live TV at their locations before installing digital signage. When it came time to begin using digital signage they insisted it had to have live TV integrated on the screens too. So “to placate the local managers live TV was added as part of the project.” What they failed to understand is that they may “very well be advertising for a competitor who buys time on the television channel.” Not good. This is content that you cannot control.
But many feel the same as this responder from Australia when he said, “Let’s face it, it’s a cheap source of content and if you need to entertain people on a budget, it might be all you can do.” Well, first are you actually entertaining people? That’s what TV is for. There are two types of content – entertainment and infotainment. Creating targeted messages that capture the viewers’ attention requires work. Live TV is the lazy man’s answer.
Live TV, Is It Legal?
“I wonder how long it will be before one of the major networks comes in with their lawyers and claims that this is ‘repackaging the appearance’ of their programs?” This was a thought-provoking comment. One that others played off when they made such remarks as, “Subscription TV contracts might forbid subscribers from running their own material alongside the broadcast feed. They do here in Australia.”
And another response took it further by sharing this information, “Legally you cannot manipulate the television broadcast. This means inserting it into a wrapper with branding and messaging is not allowed. All the software companies tell you their software allows it, but unless you are CBS or a major media outlet, you probably cannot afford the licensing. If you are a national chain, retailer, etc. you have a lot at risk. As with anything lawyers love to get their hands into your business.”
It’s obvious that live TV has no place within the digital signage world. Just because digital signage content is viewed on video screens doesn’t make it TV. Give TV programming its own screens. Digital signage is just that… signage. Digital Signage content should be appropriate, relevant, well designed just like traditional signage.
So, ding, ding, ding! Who wins the showdown? The nays! No live TV feeds. Yeah! It’s good to know that Noventri had it right all along.
To read the entire discussion(s) go to Linkedin.com > Groups > Digital Signage @ Work, Digital Signage Advertising, Digital Signage Experts Group, Digital Signage Expo, Digital Signage Industry Connection, and Worldwide Digital Signage Network groups.