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  4. July, 2006
  5. Should you update your CRT televisions to LCD or plasma?

Should you update your CRT televisions to LCD or plasma?

A few things to consider when planning your signage displays…

Many of the facilities that use StrandVision digital signs already have networks and display systems. Colleges often use their broadband or computer networks, while doctors, sports clubs and other service providers already have cable television networks that they use in waiting rooms. Installing StrandVision Digital Signage is pretty straightforward in these situations.

We are often asked, however, "What are the benefits of one display system over the other? Here’s a quick review of the technologies that you can use now, at the dawn of the 21st century.

Traditional televisions: Traditional CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions have been around forever - "Flash Gordon" was shown on these kinds of TVs and they are the ones that you’ll see in museums. Yet, they are still in wide use and remain the least expensive video display technology on the market. This, coupled with that fact, that if you are "repurposing" an existing display system, you probably already have televisions on hand. The only adjustment that you will have to make is to add a VGA-to-TV converter to get the computer-friendly signal into a format that the TV can understand. 

So, what are the considerations? Price - we’ve already established that televisions are the lowest cost option. Display - television displays are not as high resolution as newer technologies. You are limited to 640 X 480 pixels per inch (pixels are the color dots) so the picture quality is limited. Also, televisions use a 4:3 aspect ratio (the ratio of the width to the height) which is different from the new technologies - think of the difference between a TV and a movie screen - so you will have to arrange your pages accordingly. The subtle (non-technical) result of this difference is the television displays look old fashioned compared to LCDs and plasmas. Remember not to have too much detail on your messages because of the poorer resolution of most television screens. If you are looking to portray an innovative company image, the TV may not be for you.

Final considerations are more down to earth. Televisions are heavy, bulky and require substantial hardware to hang in a waiting room or office. They also draw more power and are hotter to run in an enclosed area. Newer technologies are more environmentally progressive with their low power consumption.

LCDs and plasma televisions: Liquid Crystal Displays have been around for a few years while plasma TVs are the newer kids on the block. These displays are more expensive but have been coming down in price as they become more widely used in both commercial and consumer settings. You can find 27" LCDs for $600 and up.

The advantage of these new technologies is that they have 1024 X 768 (and up) pixel displays and use a more modern-looking 16:9 aspect ratio (once again, think of a movie screen). They can also come in large sizes of up to 65" and beyond that would be both technically and physically impractical for traditional televisions. With higher quality and larger screens, you can do more with your digital sign display in terms of spit screen presentations, better graphics and animations and tighter integration with your source programming.

They are more flexible in terms of mounting, too. They can be built into, or hung on walls, or designed into product and kiosk units; and there are many innovative and attractive display brackets. A major advantage is what LCDs and plasma screens say about you and your business - you are progressive and technically up to date.

So, ultimately it comes down to cost/benefit decision. Only you can decide what makes sense for your business. Remember, though, you can always change in the future. StrandVision’s digital signage system supports both traditional and new display technologies, and upgrading is as simple as installing the units, removing the converter and designing your pages to take advantage of the greater capabilities.

StrandVision, LLC

6595 South Shore Drive
Altoona, WI 54720-2386
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