What are the Differences Between Commercial Digital Signage and TVs?

Digital signage is fast becoming an integral part of our lives. It provides assistance in our travels, helping us get to where we need to go. It assists with our purchases, showing us ads that are relevant to our interests or movies that are currently playing in theaters. For businesses and consumers, digital signage can be a great asset that allows them to connect in more meaningful and personalized ways.

What is a commercial signage display

A commercial signage display is effectively any display that contains a commercial aspect, generally an advertisement that is promoting a business or product. This term can be used to refer to both digital and non-digital displays, including traditional billboards and poster ads. 

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Common places to find digital signage 

Digital signage can be found in almost any commercial business these days. They provide organizations with an advertisement space that is unintrusive while being easy to see and recognizable for those who need information on a product. Common places to find digital signage displays include:

  • Malls
  • Airports
  • Supermarkets
  • Bus stops
  • City centers
  • Sports stadiums
  • Movie theatres
  • Banks
  • Museums


What are the primary differences between digital signage and TVs?

There are a few notable differences between digital signage and flat-screen TVs. One of the biggest differences is that TVs are fully functioning systems with built-in tuners, whereas digital signage displays do not have this feature. A sound system is also a common feature in nearly every TV, but it is not a standard feature of digital signage displays (although many can be customized for sound if needed). In essence, TVs have many standard capabilities that allow them to stand on their own, whereas digital signage displays are more like very large computer monitors in that they require additional support and/or input to be useful. 

digital signage pros.

Pros and cons of digital signage displays

As Digital Signage becomes more and more prevalent, it is important to understand their positives and negatives. 


  • Attractive/eye-catching: With bright screens and the capability to display active motion, digital signage is much more attractive and easily recognizable from further away, drawing people’s attention.
  • Able to update content regularly: Since the screens are controlled through software, it is easy to switch out content compared in comparison to traditional posters or other displays.
  • Better use of space: Traditional displays are only able to hold one ad or other piece of content at a time, which means they need to be swapped out regularly. Digital signage allows many pieces of content to be stored and displayed as a rotating sequence, providing more flexibility and a better return on investment for businesses utilizing them.
  • Long-term financial gains: Although the initial investment is often high, digital signage displays can offer an excellent return in the long term as they provide greater flexibility and more opportunities to connect with companies' customer base.



  • Can overwhelm consumers: For some people, digital signage displays contain too much information and activity on the screen, making it hard for them to pay attention to any one thing.
  • Expensive initial investment: As stated previously, digital signage displays require a large investment initially before they provide a return.
  • Complex maintenance: As this technology is fairly new, there is still a great deal of room for improvement and as such will often require maintenance contracts and additional staff training in order for it to be used correctly and efficiently. 
  • Requires a power source: While there is no paper waste such as with billboards and posters, digital displays do require a fair amount of power to run, so there is an additional cost to operate them.

Despite the few negatives of digital displays, the positives they provide easily justify the required investment. They provide an unintrusive ad space that can be seen by thousands every day, while still being relatively environmentally sound. The space itself allows immense customization for ads and other messages that businesses want to convey at the touch of a button. Lastly, they can be paired with any number of kiosk and self-service functions, helping to combine ad space with functionality that is useful to consumers as well. 

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Pros and Cons of Traditional TV Displays


  • Greater functionality: Since it is a television, it can be used as such without any extra software, making it more versatile as an entertainment system.
  • Brighter display: Because the display can be tweaked through the TV settings, the display can be made brighter compared to most traditional digital signage systems, though this does draw more power and therefore increase operating costs.
  • Sound: Sound is built into every television, so a sound system can be used to play music, something with which standard digital displays are not equipped.
  • Less Costly: Without any additional software integrations, tv displays are a much less expensive initial investment.



  • More Expensive: Over the long term, using TVs can be more costly as they require a great deal of power to operate; often considerably more than digital displays, generally as a result of their added features such as a brighter picture and sound. Additionally, the greater draw on power can ultimately require more maintenance and result in a shorter lifespan.
  • More maintenance: As stated previously, traditional television displays draw more power, which can mean the TV may require more maintenance over time.
  • More power: The additional functions in televisions such as sound and signal reception mean more power is required to run televisions as displays.
  • Limited function as a signage display-While TVs have many more entertainment functions, they are less useful when used as signage displays without the addition of specialized software.


Can you use TVs as digital signage displays?

The short answer is yes, but ultimately it is not recommended as that approach can be more costly in the long run. TVs have limited functionality compared to typical kiosk displays or dedicated signage displays. 

Digital signage displays are everywhere, guiding consumers with purchases and expediting travel as well. Most businesses would do well to consider the benefits of commercial digital signage and in order to find out how it can help them better succeed and differentiate themselves in their various markets.

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