A brilliant idea stormed my mind when I considered a digital signage display for my business, I thought of buying a cheap TV and keeping my wallet healthy. If you’re in the same position, I’d say just hold your horses! Using a cheap TV ultimately costs more as they aren’t designed to run for 24/7 operation. My first TV lasted only 2.5 months then the circuit burned, and I was unable to claim the warranty due to the burning issue.
After that lesson, I never considered cheap televisions to do a professional display job. Digital signage displays are designed to last, even at 24/7 operations. Of course, all units aren’t suitable for 24/7 operation. Several displays have 16/7 ratings and are much cheaper than 24/7 displays. You can choose the right one that suits your business. You can easily change the discount offer in a fashion retail shop and showcase new items to the audience. It is great for airports, restaurants, universities, and corporate businesses.
Finding the best digital signage display isn’t easy as there are several metrics to consider before choosing the right one. The vast majority have built-in multimedia players, but some units depend on third-party players. Most of these displays don’t have a built-in TV tuner, which is the difference between tv and signage displays. However, some units do include an ANSI tuner, but the numbers are very few.
Samsung QM98T: Best 98″ Class 4K Digital Signage Display
The Samsung QM98T is the most expensive and also the largest display on our list. As the naming suggests, this massive display comes with a 98” diagonal size and supports 4K UHD resolution with 24/7 operation. To reserve the first spot, the QM98T had gone through the contest with NEC C981Q and LG 98UM3DG.
Choosing the Samsung QM98T over NEC C981Q or LG 98UM3DG was relatively easy for the high brightness. The QM98T rocks a solid 500 nits brightness against the 350 nits found on the NEC Q981Q and LG 98UM3DG. Even though the LG 98UM3DG has some advantages in some cases, Samsung QM98T remains our top choice for the best signage display due to its superior panel technology.
This advanced IPS panel delivers much better image quality than its counterpart LG and NEC displays. Its non-glare panel prevents reflections much better than any commercial display to justify the premium price tag. The display is also certified for HDR10+ content with its 8bit+FRC panel and technically delivers the desired 10-bit color depth for 1.07B colors.
We have Samsung’s proprietary Tizen OS as the operating system, powered by a Quad-Core Cortex A72 1.7GHz CPU with 2.5GB LPDDR4 memory. The OS takes about 4GB of storage from the total 8GB internal storage, leaving 4GB of usable memory for users. This display has DVI-D, DisplayPort 1.2, and HDMI 2.0 ports for display connectivity. There are 2X 10W built-in speakers with additional 3.5mm Audio input/output ports. The remaining options are RJ45, WiFi, Bluetooth, and IR sensors.
NEC MultiSync C860Q: Solid 86″ Pro Display
The NEC C860Q is one of the best 24/7 displays from electronic giant NEC – pioneers in the commercial display industry since the beginning. The C860Q isn’t the largest signage display from NEC. The company offers up to 98” inches displays sporting 4K resolution under NEC branding. But Sharp (now a venture with NEC) has 8K signage displays up to 120” inches.
The larger C981Q or 8K Sharps displays are extremely expensive compared to this one. However, The C860Q costs more than counterpart Samsung or LG displays. The C860Q is a straightforward 86” inches 24/7 heavy-duty S-IPS display. It doesn’t have any Smart TV functionality such as Wifi, Bluetooth, Speakers, or an embedded Operating system. However, It can directly play media through a USB device, and there is a compartment for installing a raspberry pi compute unit.
The 4K screen has a 51-pixel density and 350 nits of peak brightness with a 60Hz maximum refresh rate through DP1.2 or HDMI 2.0 interface. The Integrated Ambient Light Sensor can adjust the brightness depending on the room’s condition. It has a fan to cool down the chip temperature to ensure a long lifespan.
This display supports both horizontal and vertical mounting via a wall mounting kit. The overall display quality is excellent for the price and could boost your business. Even though this is an expensive signage display, it is more trustable as NEC provides a default three years manufacturer warranty with additional two years after an extended deal.
Samsung QB75R: Best Budget Digital Signage Display
Samsung provides a wide range of digital signage displays branded in four series – QB, QH, QM, and QE. The QB75R is a product of their QB family- features 4K resolution and 24/7 operation. The one QB75R we are talking about isn’t too small nor too big but provides excellent value for money. The smallest one -the 43” inches from this series is available for under $1K, and the larger 98” inches cost over $8K.
One of the best advantages of Samsung Signage is the SOC embedded in the display. So you won’t need an external player or computer to run these signage displays. Samsung named their embedded OS Tizen- able to perform basic operations smoothly. A quad-core Cortex A72 clocked at 1.7GHz with 2.5GB LPDDR4 memory fueled the Tizen OS. We have 8GB of storage with this display, but their QMR series has a much larger 16GB storage capacity.
For the affordable price, the QB75R does sacrifice some features found on the other displays on this list. It doesn’t have WiFi/Bluetooth connections, which is available in the slightly expensive QMR series and their competitor NEC and LG’s displays. But if you just need signage for advertisement, you probably won’t care too much about WiFi and Bluetooth connections. In that case, the QB75R is perfect for the job.
The 4K display has 350 nits of peak brightness with HDR 10+ capabilities. However, HDR support is questionable as true HDR requires full-array local dimming backlight, and none of these displays contains FLAD except for some high-end gaming monitors. Samsung called this panel Edge LED BLU, but this is a refined VA panel with a strong 4000:1 contrast ratio.
Older VA panels have less color accuracy than the competitor’s IPS panels, but modern VA panels have passed that barrier long ago. Moreover, the strong contrast ratio delivers a more vibrant and crystal-clear image quality. The Samsung QB75R has UHD upscaling technique that scales images to 4K resolution.
The connectivity options are HDMI 2.0 and a legacy DVI-D port. There are two USB 2.0 ports and integrated speakers with an additional 3.5mm audio output. The connectivity options are a bit old, but it is still perfect digital signage for 24/7 operations.
Sony BRAVIA FW-65BZ30J: Pro Sony 24/7 Display
The best signage display list without Sony sounds like a throne without a king. No, Sony isn’t finished yet in the high-end commercial display industry. Sadly, the company lost its glory in the commercial and consumer television market over time and battles to compete with Samsung and LG. Not to mention the mobile sector, where the company lost badly to competitors, especially Samsung.
But, Sony remains a strong market player in the consumer and commercial display market. Their Bravia television series dominates the market with their pro series display. The BRAVIA FW-65BZ30J is our favorite one from the Sony Pro series display. The higher-end BRAVIA Pro lines have larger screens up to 100” inches starting with the smallest 32” inch screen size.
The FW-65BZ30J sports a 4K UHD resolution with a moderate 440 nits brightness. This Direct LED IPS panel provides stunning imagery similar to its consumer Bravia televisions but also provides 24/7 operation time. This display is compatible with HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. The system runs on Android 10 OS, but Sony didn’t disclose the chip and memory configurations, and we didn’t bother to dig to reveal it.
It is much cheaper than 65” signage displays but sacrifices the higher brightness level and also has a slightly lower 50Hz refresh rate at native resolution. The lower 10 Hz refresh rate isn’t noticeable in most cases. However, the upgraded series does provide a 60Hz refresh rate with much higher specifications but costs more at the same time.
We have WiFi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet ports for internet connectivity. Sony provides 4X HDMI 2.0 ports for display connections which is good, but sadly there is no DP port. Other connectivity options are 2X USB ports, Audio I/O, and IR sensors.
Philips P-Line 65BDL3117P: Brightest Digital Signage Display
If you’re looking for a high-brightness pro display, the 65” Philips signage could be your best choice. This 750-nit display is bright enough for restaurants and retail shops where the room’s light condition is bright. It is the largest unit from Philips P-Line featuring 4K UHD resolution. The smallest is also the cheapest 42” inches and sports a full HD resolution.
The naming convention is scary that I skip it at the beginning. The 65BDL3117P/00 model number doesn’t make sense except for the screen size. Philps should be more creative with product naming. However, the display quality is excellent despite the terrible naming format. The panel used in the display is called ADS(Advanced Super Dimension Switch) – an advanced IPS panel technology with better brightness, contrast, and improved screen rigidity.
The 65BDL3117P is a factory-calibrated display, so you don’t have to waste time calibrating if you have a color-sensitive work environment. Not only the high brightest panel but also has a strong 1200:1 contrast ratio with an 8ms response time. Philips mentions a dynamic contrast ratio of 50000:1, which is the terms of marketing and practically has no value.
For the 24/7 rating, you can run these displays continuously without breaks. Also can control and monitor using the supplied CMND and Control software over the local network if multiple displays are in separate rooms. The failover technology automatically switches the input if the primary source fails.
LG 32SM5J-B: Cheap 24/7 Digital Signage Display
The 32” LG 32SM5J might be small compared to the large 4K displays on this list, but it is an excellent cost-effective solution for small businesses. You can buy many of these small units at the price of a highest-end large 4K display. This Full-HD display is easy to install and comes with a 24/7 rating, which makes it suitable for fashion shops, restaurants, transportation, and corporate use.
Samsung QM32R-B is the nearest competitor of the LG 32SM5J and offers almost identical specifications except for the embedded OS. LG integrates its proprietary Web OS 6.0, whereas Samsung ships QM32R-B with Tizen OS. However, both provide similar functionality as embedded media players, content management systems, and 8GB system storage.
This 16:9 IPS display comes with a moderate brightness of 400 nits, which isn’t great as the Philips P-line but much better than other mainstream signage displays. The 1100:1 contrast ratio is fair for an IPS panel and delivers crystal-clear images. The display uses an 8-bit panel that technically supports 16.7M colors. Unfortunately, there is no HDR content support as it requires 10-bit processing.
Interestingly, this display can operate as a virtual router to provide a wireless access point for mobile devices. Even though it is the cheapest LG signage display, it has all features found on the expensive 4K/8K displays. You’ll get the same remote/web monitoring, content sharing, and signage software as other expensive LG commercial displays.
We have covered a series of signage displays in this article, and all of them provide 24/7 operations hours. Pro signage displays are different from consumer televisions and also more expensive. We don’t need additional signage players for these displays, Samsung and LG provide their proprietary OS, and others are Android-based signage displays.
Larger signage displays are expensive but look gorgeous and engaging to the audience. Samsung QM98T is the largest on our list, comes with the latest display technology, and their ecosystem is more mature than others. The NEC C860Q is another beautiful display with professional-grade image quality.
The smaller displays are suitable for small businesses such as restaurants and retail shops. Samsung QB series, Philips P-line, and LG’s mainstream displays are designed for these consumers. A smart signage display now becomes an essential tool to engage audiences.