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  • Travis Middleton

Commercial Displays vs. Consumer TVs: Which Is Better For Your AV Project?

Commercial Displays vs. Consumer TVs: Which Is Better For Your AV Project?

Searching for the right visual display screen for your commercial AV project, whether for a conference room or church display? If so, you’re probably wondering whether to opt for a commercial display vs. a consumer TV.

Though commercial TV displays are sometimes made by familiar consumer brands like Sony and LG, they’re built with features meant for heavy business use—which may or may not be what your project needs. It’s like the difference between a pickup truck and a small sporty car—you wouldn’t use a Mini Cooper to haul trailers meant for a Ford F-150, so why would you use a TV meant for playtime to accomplish hefty commercial tasks?

So before you head off to shop, take a few minutes to think about your space, your budget, and your display preferences. Below are some questions to consider.

Commercial Display Vs. Consumer TV: 9 Things To Consider

The questions below cover everything from your use case to your interior design style, all of which are important considerations for this purchase.

1. What type of space will house the display?

This question may seem obvious, but what many people don’t know is that this question may have legal bearing on your ability to replace your display. Reputable companies sell TVs of all kinds with product warranties—but for consumer TVs, that warranty is void when the TV is used for commercial purposes. Additionally, commercial TV warranties are often longer and more comprehensive than consumer TV warranties.

While commercial purchasers may be tempted by the sometimes-lower cost of consumer models, the lost warranty protection may not be worth the cost savings.

​If you’re looking for a larger, more comprehensive commercial AV system installation that includes displays and audio considerations, check out the essential elements for a successful commercial AV project.

2. What’s your budget?

Speaking of cost savings: Commercial displays often cost 30% or more what a consumer TV of the same size does. However, commercial displays usually include features that make the investment worthwhile. (We’ll talk more about those below.) Regardless, if you’re on the fence between commercial and consumer, carefully consider your budget and use case before making a decision.

3. How long will the display be on each day?

TVs are meant for occasional media consumption, not 24/7 operation. Commercial displays are built for always-on reliability.

If you’re operating an entertainment space, casino, sports bar, or even a medical clinic where your display will run for seven or more consecutive business hours, consider a commercial TV. These models are more likely to provide quality video over the long term. They’re even made with screens that can resist burn-in—a phenomenon where constantly-played images discolor a TV screen, causing the image to linger on the screen as if it’s burned into the material.

4. Does the display need to play well with other displays?

If you’re intent on linking multiple displays or creating an integrated AV system in your space, a commercial display is probably a better choice. It will often include the out-of-the-box ability to work with standard control panel brands, like Crestron and Extron, allowing you to link multiple displays more effectively. Commercial displays usually accomplish this through an RS-232 or ethernet connection. Additionally, control panels often allow you to automate your video processes, making it easy to turn on your commercial display (or multiple displays) with the touch of a button.

5. How much do you care about aesthetics?

Now, a point in favor of consumer TVs: Since they’re meant to be featured as part of a home’s (often warm and inviting) interior design, they’re designed with a prettier exterior than commercial displays. This isn’t always the case. But based on the increased inputs, features, and processing power of a commercial display, commercial models are less likely to be thin and attractive products, especially when viewed from the back or side.

6. In what orientation should the TV be featured?

Do you need a display that works just as well in portrait mode as in landscape mode? Portrait mode can be especially useful for businesses with digital signage at trade shows, large manufacturing locations, menu boards, or events.

Commercial TVs offer the ability to turn 90° since they include special cooling vents and orientation settings. Consumer TVs, on the other hand, usually have no such settings and include cooling vents at the top of the product—so if a consumer TV is tilted on its side, it will not cool properly and will suffer from degrading performance.

7. What level of control do you need?

We’ve already talked about control panels, but commercial displays give you another level of control that you may find necessary: network-based control. Network control involves connecting your display to your internet network with a category cable (via ethernet) or wirelessly, then sending commands to your display using an app or third party controller. This type of control allows you to turn the display on or off and switch inputs without touching the display—or messing with a remote.

It’s worth mentioning here that residential control systems do exist. They’re often called “smart home systems” or “home automation systems.” However, these systems are different because, rather than being included in the price of your product, they often require you to spend extra money and 1) purchase a specific brand of TV or 2) purchase extra connective devices that attach to your TV.

8. Which inputs and outputs do you need?

If you need more unique inputs and outputs, a commercial display may be the choice for you. Different inputs and outputs allow you to connect other pieces of equipment to your display using a variety of different cables and attachments.

While a consumer TV often includes HDMI, RF Antenna, RCA, TOSLINK, or USB connections, a commercial TV might include SDI, and display port connection capabilities. With a commercial TV, your connection options are increased and diversified.

9. Do you have easy physical access to the display?

Lastly, commercial TVs are designed for longevity, which aids you in avoiding time-wasting troubleshooting situations. If you plan to mount the display on a wall in a tricky location, choose a commercial TV to ensure you won’t have to unmount and fix a 98-inch screen anytime soon.

Commercial And Consumer: The Space Between Them

So which TV should you buy? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer—it’s up to you and your needs. Ultimately, you’ll find commercial and consumer TVs with similar screen sizes, power requirements, and even resolutions. But you’ll need to consider more than the typical specs when thinking through which type of display works best for you.

Consider your use case, your aesthetics, and your larger goals for this display. Is it going to primarily work at your home, then years down the line, make a transition to your medical clinic for an occasional video demonstration? Or is it going to be mounted above your newly-refurbished bar, connected to several other displays and loudspeakers while you play sports throughout the night for patrons sipping on their drinks? If the former, err on the side of a consumer display. If the latter, commercial is probably what you want.

Whichever type of display you choose, if you’re connecting several displays to a control system or utilizing the display to build out a comprehensive AV system, contact the experts at Aspen to help you choose the best brands and offer installation guidance.


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