We have all read articles about this topic before; or maybe you haven’t and that’s why you are on this article?
If you ask AV integrators they will tell you commercial screens are the only option when installing AV systems into a commercial environment, and they are right. Not only do the specifications of a commercial monitor surpass those of a consumer TV, there will also typically be more margin available in a commercial product than there is in a consumer grade TV. As a business, we are also interested in improving margin and cannot afford to sell products with little or no margin.
Could a consumer TV be suitable in a commercial environment?
Is there an opportunity to install a TV that you might find more commonly in your home into a commercial environment? The answer depends on a couple of things; the environment and what it is being used for. But ultimately, yes.
Don’t get me wrong I am not advising any company to install consumer TVs into digital signage projects in retail, airports, public sector etc. Digital signage projects NEED commercial displays and that will never be a topic of conversation open for discussion, not only are consumer TVs not built to withstand those harsh environments or the extended hours of usage, they also do not have all the functionality required of these screens. But most importantly their warranties are typically void when installed into a commercial environment such as these.
If you, as the client, are looking for a simple meeting room with HDMI connectivity to a screen so that employees are able to distribute content from their laptops; why not use a consumer TV? I tend to agree with this (some of my peers may want to crucify me here), other than the obvious warranty and support provided on commercial screens there really is no need to pay the extra money (in my opinion).
I did say this wouldn’t be the same as every other blog you have read about consumer vs commercial displays in business, didn’t I!
Features of commercial displays & consumer TVs
Some of these decision making processes revolve around standardising equipment and costs across large office estates globally which is 100% the right thing to do. Other businesses without that level of infrastructure need to consider why they need to pay more for a screen in their meeting rooms/boardrooms/huddle spaces that are not being rigorously used.
What if you need VGA, Display Port and DVI in addition to HDMI? This is where the integrator should be able to specify other products for video switching and scaling; products offered by the likes of Kramer, Extron, SY Electronics, Atlona etc. There are products to suit all budgets available on the market and they are more than capable of delivering the required content via the desired connection to a consumer TV. Why not use a commercial screen in that instance? The answer; I would. The cost difference in using a consumer TV alongside video switching/scaling equipment swings in favour of a commercial screen (depending on quantity of connections and switching).
Which is more suitable for your needs?
The one feature that is a personal preference on a consumer product is the amount of HDMI inputs; typically, up to four compared with the commercial screens which on the whole only have one or some, such as the Samsung DM series have two. This becomes a bug bear when designing AV solutions in office spaces with multiple items of equipment as you always need to introduce presentation switchers or similar devices to manage the signals. In a lot of cases the switchers are overkill for the end result and in turn can overprice the project, leading to more frustration.
Let’s not forget the warranty provided on a commercial product is far superior in all aspects; duration, coverage and replacement units. Typically commercial displays come with a 3 year swap out warranty so the end user has minimal down time, whereas a consumer product will be taken away for repair leaving the customer with no screen. This is so important I cannot stress enough to people considering using consumer products in a commercial environment.
You may be reading this and not having a definitive answer as a conclusion. That’s life guys! What I would say is that you need to trust your integrator and when they say you need a commercial grade screen, you NEED commercial displays. If you have a requirement for a screen that is not going to be heavily used and has no requirement for multiple input formats; be as cheap as you like and use a consumer grade TV. Please remember one thing, one important thing…when you start the design process with your AV consultant and you tell them “I’ll just buy a new one when it breaks, I know it is not designed for a commercial environment.” Follow up on what you say and don’t call out the AV team saying the screen is faulty!
For a free audio visual assessment and design of your office call MVS today on 01202 961696.
Thanks for reading.